Do you know the secret to a happy marriage?
Would you be surprised to learn its empathy?
What does empathy mean? When you feel empathy for another person it means you are putting yourself into their shoes. It’s the ability to imagine what someone else is feeling or thinking. Sympathy means feeling compassion or pity, while empathy means caring as much about your partner’s happiness as you do your own.
To develop empathy within your relationship, regularly listen to each other’s thoughts and what they are feeling. Try to see the world from their point of view to help you build closeness and respect.
Marriage Empathy Exercise
Begin by spending time with your partner doing this exercise in empathy.
On separate pieces of paper, answer the following questions. Keep your responses from each other until the end.
What makes your spouse happy? How do they show they are happy? What words or gestures do they use to show what their mood is?
What makes them angry? How do they show their anger? How do you tell they are mad even if they aren’t showing it?
What are your partner’s favorite foods, books they like to read, the music they listen to, movies they watch, podcasts or radio programs, and TV shows?
What activities do they enjoy? Are they good at them? Do they have to win or are they just content doing it?
What about you does your spouse like? What about you does your partner find irritating?
What can you say or do to improve your partner’s life?
After you’re done writing your answers down, share your responses with each other. See how close you are to how well you really know your partner.
After you’ve written your answers down, take some time to share your responses. See how close you were to getting it right. Even if your answers are off, you can still build empathy in your relationship. You need to really listen to your partner when they speak. Ask questions if you’re not clear about something they said. Validate their emotions. Building a strong healthy relationship depends on having empathy for your partner. Putting yourself into their shoes can be healing for both of you.