Validate your partner. Let them know what makes sense to you about what they are saying; let them know how they are feeling is ok. A key phrase that works over and over again –
“It makes sense that you feel…”
This is probably one of the most important communication tools you can have. If you master it, it can change your life and your relationships. That’s not an exaggeration, and it works with everyone.
Validation is not agreeing with your partner or anyone else. Validation is letting them know that what they are feeling makes sense (whether or not you understand it or agree with it).
If I loved dogs, hated cats, but my husband loved cats. I could validate his feelings and experience by saying. “It makes sense that you love cats – for you they are just the right amount of independent and cuddly”. Here I am validating his feelings – he communicated to me why he loves them and summarized back what I heard. This isn’t parroting back exactly what our partners say, but giving an overall summary, proving we were listening with the intent to understand. In this moment, he doesn’t care whether I love or hate cats. He just wants to know that I get where he is coming from.
This is the whole point of validation. Letting people know that we get them. That they aren’t crazy for thinking and feeling the way they do.