We tend to think that the way we view the world is the way the world really is. And when our partners disagree with us, it’s easy to think that they are the ones who are misinformed or have a distorted perception of reality. How else could they see things so differently?

How to Better Understand Your Partner

All of us want to be seen, heard and understood. We especially want this from our partners. We want our partners to say, Yes, I am listening. Yes, I get it. Yes, I understand your pain. I’m sorry it hurts, and I am here. We want our partners to be interested in and to care about what’s happening inside our hearts.

Acknowledge your own flaws.

What are the annoying qualities you have that your partner puts up with? In relationships, it’s easy to see everything through your own perspective. You might see all the ways your partner is irritating but conveniently forget about all the small ways you’re a pain in the butt to live with.

Once you accept the idea that in every disagreement there are always two valid points of view, it’s no longer necessary to argue for your own position. Instead, you can empathize with your partner’s feelings and really understand their “island.” This doesn’t mean you have to agree, but it’s vital that you understand where they are coming from. When you do this and your partner does this for you, it becomes much easier to find a solution that works for both of you.

Trust is an important part of the foundation of every healthy relationship. Since healthy relationships are a two-person job, it’s important that both partners are consistent—partners must keep their word and promises in order to improve trust. Trust exercises can be a fun way to build trust, practice honesty and communication, and bond with your partner.

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Understand & Accept Your Partner’s Point Of View

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