In this 3 part series of developing a stronger level of intimacy with your partner through increasing empathy, we discovered the first step toward a growing level of intimacy with your partner is simply through the act of noticing. The second strategy was the most challenging step which is willingly remaining present in the middle of your partner’s uncomfortable or unpleasant emotions.
The final strategy toward paving the road to rewarding intimacy through empathy is simple. After tackling the difficulty of the previous steps in alliance with your partner, the sheer momentum can carry you through this final skill.
Understanding must precede advice.
Too often we jump to the solution;
premature problem solving tends to shut people down.
Consider this: How do you react when sharing a difficulty and while in the middle of your story someone interjects “I know! You know what you need to do? You need to ____!”
Problem-solving and advice should only begin when both people feel
The process you've encountered with your partner as the two of you notice, welcome, carry, and soften any emotion will inevitably lead to understanding.
Understanding and trust are two unmistakable pillars in the practice of building empathy.
P R A C T I C E
So, onto your collaborative problem-solving!
With empathy as your foundation, the next step can be just as simple...LISTEN.
Because no matter the size of the problem, even if it is perpetual and seemingly unsolvable, practicing empathy can keep those problems from destroying your connection and intimacy.
And while there may not be a solution, or at least not one in the near future, experiencing synergy in the midst of your partner’s sense of isolation and uncertainty can increase the feelings of empathy, compassion, and security your relationship.
Empathy is seeking to understand. Intimacy carries with it the assurance of understanding.