Everyone deserves to be heard, understood, and validated. That’s especially true in a relationship, where communication is the cornerstone of your trust and strength as a couple.
That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything your partner says or does. Validation isn’t about rolling over and going along with your partner just because you’re worried about their feelings.
Rather, it’s an attempt to truly understand those feelings. When you put in the effort to do that, your partner is more likely to feel the validation they deserve, and offer it to you, in return.
So, what can you do to help your partner feel validated?
Be an Active Listener
One of the easiest and best things you can do to help your partner feel validated is listen. Keep in mind that listening is more than just hearing what they have to say. Listen to your partner with the goal of really understanding them.
You don’t have to agree with them, but listening can help you get a better idea of where they’re coming from. When you understand their perspective, it will be easier to have a conversation about the topic at hand. It will also be easier to empathize with them.
Plus, when you show that you’re truly listening, your partner is more likely to keep opening up. That will improve the vulnerability and intimacy in your relationship.
While being an active listener promotes empathy, it’s something you have to choose to show. Again, you don’t have to agree with your partner to understand their point of view.
If you’re struggling with empathy, try to imagine yourself in your partner’s shoes to better understand what they’re going through. Think about how their situation is personally impacting them. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you look at things from their perspective, that can change.
Let Them Know Their Feelings Are Normal
Feelings aren’t always the best drivers when it comes to taking action. They’re not always based in reality. But, they feel very real and raw to the person experiencing them.
Even if you don’t always understand or agree with what your partner is feeling, it’s important for them to know that their feelings are normal and they matter. The last thing anyone deserves is for their feelings to be dismissed or brushed off. You shouldn’t suggest that your partner is “wrong” just because you feel a different way during any given situation.
When you assure your partner that their feelings are normal, they’ll feel more validated. Perhaps more importantly, they’ll feel emotionally safe with you.
Use Physical Touch
Physical touch can go a long way, especially if it’s your partner’s love language. While not every situation warrants it, adding it to a calm, loving conversation can let your partner know that you are fully present and you’re there for them.
You don’t have to go overboard with your touches. Something like holding their hand or gently rubbing their back can provide comfort while you listen to them. A long hug where you don’t quickly pull away can let them know you’re there for them no matter what. They’ll find safety and security in that action, and might be more likely to open up in the future.
Validation is more important to a healthy relationship than many people realize. It’s also a two-way street. You deserve you feel validated just as much as your partner. But, it’s not something you can force. Thankfully, the more validating you are of their feelings, the more likely it is that they’ll be the same way — even without really trying.