Yesterday I was at the grocery store with my son, who is almost 2 years old. He was so upset when we were leaving and trying desperately with his little vocabulary to tell me what was wrong. I was trying everything to understand him. I was looking around, asking him questions, and trying to get in his little head for a second to figure out what it was he was wanting.
On the way home I started thinking about the couples I see and also myself in my own marriage. If I would just try that hard to understand my husband when he is trying to communicate something to me! It is easy to get reactive or misunderstand, simply based on our beliefs, our past history, or simply lack of listening closely. I see this all the time in sessions with my couples. I continuously say, “Let’s slow that down and try to get in their shoes and understand what they are trying to say to you.” It is amazing the transformation that can happen in couples when they are able to do this. To really hear and understand each other. Sometimes they still don’t agree but being heard is what really mattered to them.
So the next time you are ready to react, take a deep breath, listen, and try to “get in your partners head” to see where they are coming from. By the way- he wanted an Elmo cookie!!
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.