Empathy – The Key to a Good Relationship
The ability for couples to be able to empathize with one another is so very important. If we can’t step into one another’s shoes or see our loved one’s point of view, we will not be able to communicate in a growing manner.
As a relationship author, many of my friends come to me with their issues. Recently my girlfriend Jeanie told me her boyfriend Mike, became distant after they had a conversation. In that conversation, she asked him one question. She thought it was harmless. It really was. She asked “did he drink every single day”. She had noticed he had a few beers when she was over at his house.
His side of the story. He took her question as a warning flag. He thought this was a sign she would be dictating his habits and telling him what to do in the future. In other words, that fear that she was going to try to change him.
Now let’s go deeper into the couples history. Mike was married to a very controlling woman. He was allowed one 12 pack of beer per week. Of course he could drink more, but the consequences were high. She would nag, pout and make him miserable. To keep the peace, he kept with the one 12 pack of beer per week, though he is far from alcoholic. Note here also that he would sneak around to drink behind her back if the opportunity presented itself.
Now let’s look an Jeanie’s back story. She was married to an alcoholic and an abuser for many many years. She had learned to associate alcohol with unhappiness, though she liked to enjoy a few beers herself, she usually did this in the company of girlfriends.
So you see both partners were fearful because of what happened last time. If they can just step into the shoes of the other and understand where all of this is coming from, the problem can be solved.
Empathy is a foundation for communication in a relationship. It opens the doors to truly understanding your partner.
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