9 Practical Ways of Understanding Your Spouse - Mide's Blog

March 18, 2020

Understanding is the bedrock of any relationship. By considering the needs of your partner, it will be easier for you to reach a compromise whenever there is a disagreement. The difficulty of building a lasting relationship is revealed in marriage. If you are bad at keeping a relationship, marriage will not cover up for your weakness, it will rather compound it. Love will not erase the differences between you and your spouse, you need to understand your partner.

These nine (9) principles will help you to understand your spouse better.

1. Seek to become each other's best friend

It is not Lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes an unhappy marriage - Friedrich Nietzsche

It is painful to hold on to a relationship when there is no more friendship in it. To avoid the complacency that is witnessed in many relationships, becoming your spouse's best friend is the best way to keep your relationship alive.

Friendship comes with lots of benefits: no sense of entitlement, every moment spent is cherished, emotions are freely expressed, offenses are easily forgiven, and there is a freedom of expressing oneself without hypocrisy. A distinguishing characteristic of friendship is the willingness to overlook each other weaknesses and to help each other without any sense of entitlement.

You choke life out of a relationship when you feel entitled to your partner's time, attention or even money. A sense of entitlement won't let you appreciate the time spent together. The support, love, care, and attention you get from your partner will be taken for granted when you think you are entitled to them.

Always see your partner as a friend, don't expect too much from them.

2. Communicate effectively and focus on building an outstanding relationship

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation. - Oscar Wilde 

All relationships require communication. Wherever communication exists, the message could be misinterpreted and the failure to communicate effectively leads to misunderstanding.

A misunderstanding may be caused by bad actions or when good intentions are misinterpreted. When there is a misunderstanding, first seek to find out what went wrong. All efforts to resolve issues will fail if you don't know what to fix. Finding out the source of disagreement is the first step in resolving a problematic situation.

Marriage is about relationship building. The fact that a marriage is legalized won't cover up for the effort needed in building a relationship. Relationship building doesn't come effortlessly, it requires time, attention, discipline, hardwork and determination.

To make your romantic relationship standout, communicate with your partner and strive to understand them. Learn how to effectively manage unavoidable misunderstandings. Misunderstanding is not bad when properly managed. A relationship without any misunderstanding denies one the opportunity to explore the totality of what makes us humans.

3. Listen attentively

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. -Ralph G. Nichols

Listening is an active skill that facilitates communication and enriches a relationship. Listening prevents disagreements and misunderstandings from escalating. Listening is also a healing tool. Allowing others to express themselves helps to heal their pains. There are more problems in the world today because we have more talkers than listeners.

Marital relationship is built on two-way communication between husband and wife. Communication can easily be misinterpreted when you fail to listen with the intent to understand. It will be difficult to enhance a relationship if neither the wife nor the husband listens attentively to each other.

4. Don't overlook nonverbal communication

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said. - Peter Drucker 

Listen with your eyes as well as your ears - Graham Speechley. 

Nonverbal communication is also a means of communication. Take note of the unspoken words, facial expression and other body languages. When words are too difficult to be spoken, we express them through our body and through our actions. Monitor your partner's nonverbal clue.

5. Understand your partner's emotional needs

Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. - Gary Chapman. 

Emotional needs are made up of both positive emotions and negative emotions. Not everyone knows how to manage their negative emotions like anger, and positive emotions like love may sometimes be mismanaged. Love may make your partner become emotionally insecure or bedeviled by uncontrollable jealousy.

Many couples visualized only positive emotions before marriage and are not prepared to manage the negative ones. They felt negative emotions will not come up since they love each other. So, when they began to notice negative emotions from their partner, they feel they are in a wrong relationship. No, negative emotions don't mean you are in a wrong relationship.

Emotions are part of what makes us humans, and marriage will not take away negative emotions. All sorts of negative emotions may be exhibited by your spouse. Negative emotions like anger if not properly managed could ruin a relationship. Therefore, you should learn how to manage your partner's emotional needs.

If for example your spouse becomes jealous of your progress, help them to achieve their own goals. Some people are very competitive before marriage, they always love to win, being jealous may be a natural way of exhibiting their competitive spirit, which has nothing to do with envy. Seek expert advice for the emotions you can't manage, don't bottle things up.

6. Put yourself in your partner's shoes

You can only see a different perspective if you put yourself in someone else's shoes. - Sef Azure

You just need to put yourself in someone else's shoes and then see how they feel, and then you will understand why they are reacting or why they are behaving the way that they are behaving. - Navid Negahban 

Put yourself in your partner's shoes by asking them what they think and how they feel. Cultivate the habit of mindfully asking questions. Don’t' just assume, because your assumptions may be wrong.

7. Think about the consequence of your words and actions

Action speaks louder than words - Mark Twain 

Don't conduct yourself in ways that may provoke or belittle your spouse when you are correcting them. Focus on the goals you want to achieve and the issues you want to resolve without provoking your partner to anger.

8. Allow your partner to explore their interest independently

Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person - Chanakya 

Many people dream of a partner that would share the same interest with them. They imagine doing everything together, like going to a library, gym, cinema, etc. Shared interest may even be one of your priorities in choosing a partner. Exploring similar interests is important but not sufficient to facilitate a successful relationship. Moreso, interest changes over time. One's interest today may be different in the next 15 or 20 years.

A lady I interviewed told me she felt sharing the same interest with her husband would enhance their relationship, but she found out that getting help with the domestic work is more valuable to her than their shared interest.

Allow your spouse to explore whatsoever interest them. Don't impose your interest on them, you don't need to be interested in the same thing. If your partner is interested in movies and you are interested in studying. Do not force them into becoming a book lover, although you may encourage them. Follow your interests, and let them do what they love. Give them space to explore other aspects of the world independently.

Also, learn how to manage your interest, don't let your interest starve your relationship. If you place your interest above that of building your relationship, your relationship will suffer.

9. Exercise Patience

With love and patience, nothing is impossible. Daisaku Ikeda 

Give your partner time when they are adjusting their behaviour. If you want to know the difficulty of changing yourself, use only your nondominant hand for opening your doors for three days. Correct yourself when you catch yourself using your dominant hand. Also, practice writing A to Z with your nondominant hand five times daily for three days. Come back and share your experience in the comment section.

Behavioural change is as difficult as retraining your body to do what you are not accustomed to.


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