Why Validating Your Partner Means So Much (and 3 Ways to Do It Well)

You obviously want to be nice to your partner. After all, who wants to be in a relationship with a jerk? However, to create a lasting connection, it’s important to validate your partner too.

Validating transcends being nice or polite with one another (although they too are important in their own right and shouldn’t be ignored!). Rather, validating sends the message to your partner about how important they are. Not just as individuals themselves, but where they rank in importance in your own life.

Validating has the power to cement a relationship that already is close. It can also help bring two partners closer together if they have been drifting apart.

Here’s why validating your partners means so much and how to do it well.

Understanding What Validating Means

When you look up the word “validate” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you find these keywords:

  • Confirm
  • Support
  • Recognize
  • Establish
  • Worthiness

Those are some powerful words! So, when you are validating someone you are confirming and supporting that who they are is deserving of worth.

This could involve validating someone’s humanity. However, it could also be recognizing that their perspective is important and deserves your attention.

Even if you both have differing viewpoints, by acknowledging their perspective can mean so much to them. That creates a powerful bond between you and your partner with fosters acceptance, trust, and openness. Now, let’s consider how to validate your partner.

1. Acknowledge Their Emotions

All too often partners make the mistake of discounting one another’s emotions. This occurs even in relatively healthy relationships, but it is also very apparent in dysfunctional ones, too. One person says that the other is being way too dramatic or that what they feel is “ridiculous.” That’s an important word to watch out for.

If you say that or something similar, what you are really communicating is that their emotions and feelings don’t matter. Yet if you acknowledge those feelings, what’s different? They no longer have to explain themselves and have established that what they feel is valid. That’s so important!

2. Encourage Your Partner

Encouragement means more than saying “Go for it” or something similar. Rather, you encourage your partner when they truly don’t believe in themselves. This is the lowest of the low moments. Your partner doesn’t believe that they can do something. For example:

  • Applying for a good job that’s the perfect fit
  • Sticking to a diet or exercise routine
  • Finishing school and earning their degree

When you encourage your partner, you are telling them you truly believe in their capabilities. You affirm that they have the power to meet their goal.

Really, you are not conveying anything on them. In fact, what you are really saying is that they already have all the tools, skills, and abilities to be successful. How validating is that!

Using Assertive Listening

Practicing assertive listening involves speaking less and hearing more. You let your partner speak until they feel they have communicated all that they need to say. Then you summarize what they have said and reflect that back to them.

Note that you do not parody or repeat your partner’s words verbatim. That’s not listening, but recording! Rather, what you are attempting to do both in action and words is saying that you hear your partner. You are absorbing what they are saying and making it a part of your own. It’s a powerful tool that really helps with fostering understanding between each of you.

Validating is more of an art form. It requires skill and practice to be done well. However, when you do so it breaks down barriers between people, whether or not they are in a relationship together, to create a closer connection.

If you want to improve the relationship with your partner through validating, reach out today to find out how couples’ counseling can work, 256-686-9195.

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