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How to use emotion in conversations with your partner

Posted 31st of October, 2018 at 12:28pm by Sharyn Kennedy

Partners who share what is happening to them with each other can create a strong emotional connection.

Here’s how to have an intimate conversation that holds emotional connection:

  1. Practise learning to identify in words what you and your partner are feeling.
  2. Ask your partner open-ended questions.
  3. Use statements that follow up on the answers to these questions, probing for a deeper understanding of your partner’s thoughts and feelings.
  4. Use statements of compassion and empathy to express understanding of your partner’s thoughts and feelings.

Now look at these examples of the steps above.

  1. I am feeling upset and a bit angry just now.
    • I can see that you’re feeling unhappy.
  2. What happened today at work?
    • What do you think about my idea? How do you think we can fix this?
    • When do you think it’s a good time to talk about this?
    • Can you tell me more about what’s bothering you?
  3. I can see that you don’t like my idea. What is it about that idea that’s not good?
    • How do you think we can fix things? What can we do to help you feel better?
    • Tell me about what happened last time. How does that make you feel?
    • I heard you say that… Is that right?
    • Do I understand you correctly?
  4. I can understand you feeling that way. That must have been hard for you.
    • Sounds like that was a difficult time for you.
    • I can see that that makes you angry. I would feel that way as well.
    • I imagine that you feel lonely and sad when that happens.

What you can do:

  • Choose one of these strategies and try it out.
  • Practise working through these four steps when you talk to your partner.

Categorised in: Relationships.

About Sharyn Kennedy, PhD.

I help my patients in many of them is to encourage small, positive actions. Investing in yourself (be it time, therapy … or this book) is an excellent first step. There’s no risk (I have a money-back guarantee) to you so you’re assured a positive outcome. I look forward to hearing your story of transformation! Read more about Dr. Sharyn

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