What is the greatest gift you can give your partner? What is the greatest gift that costs you nothing but time and effort? That\’s the gift of understanding who she is. The gift of believing in her. Think about it. When your partner knows you “get” her, you are validating her existence to the core of her being. You are giving her the sure knowledge that she is understood and loved regardless. It\’s a powerful feeling.

And how can you bestow such a gift? By becoming a great listener. It is the key to understanding your partner and fully developing an intimate relationship.

So how do you become a great listener? As I said last week, the important thing is to concentrate on your partner and put your own agenda on hold. Focus on what she\’s telling you to the exclusion of all else. Clear your mind and resolve to simply be quiet as she speaks. Absorb every word. Do not think about how to help her or fix the situation. Just listen.

There are a number of ways you can become an active listener, which will go a long way to strengthen your relationship:

Check in. Take your partner\’s emotional pulse by checking in with her periodically. Ask her how\’s she\’s doing when you know in advance you can take the time to stop what you\’re doing and listen. Be fully there for her.

Witness. Listen until your partner is completely finished. Then you can support her by witnessing what she said—validating the communication. You can say things like, “I hear you,” or “What you\’re saying makes sense.” And, if it\’s true, you can say, “I feel the same way.”

Respect Feelings. When your partner tells you she\’s sad or angry, it\’s tempting to try to make her feel better. But if you try to jolly her out of her feelings, you are not allowing her to fully explore her situation. And you will miss what caused the anger or sadness to begin with. Your partner is feeling how she feels. Accept it. Ask her to tell you more.

Ask Questions. Sometimes people need a little help to clarify how they\’re feeling. You can ask questions like, “What are your concerns,” or, “Why do you think you feel that way?” And best of all, “What can I do to help you?”

Open Your Heart. Express yourself to your partner. What are your deepest desires? What do you need from your partner? Your partner wants to be an intimate part of your life. Let her into your heart, let her see how you\’re feeling and let her know you.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: https://nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.