Lessons Learned: The Secrets of a Happy Marriage (Acknowledgment)
#4- Tears of Acknowledgment
At our LIFE Couples Retreats we have lots of fun, plenty of excitement, and just the right dose of healthy relaxation.
We also experience a few tears. As a couple strives to break loose from the self-imposed prisons that have walled them off from one another, visiting honesty and feelings again can bring a tear of regret and remembered pain even as hope begins to swell in their hearts.
Such tears have their place in the healing process.
There are other tears we often see from couples who have committed themselves to a new way of being in their relationship–I refer to them as “Tears of Acknowledgment.” They represent, for me, the best moments of a Retreat.
We all share a deep and human need to be Understood; to be Valued; to be Validated; to be Acknowledged.
Have you ever had a disagreement with a loved one and heard, “What is it you can’t understand? It’s so simple! Why can’t you see that?” Frequently we might be thinking the same thing about them, “How dense can you be that you can’t see what I see?”
Our perception is our reality and as open to other views and possibilities as we might believe ourselves to be, for most of us it is hard to really see (or want to see) very far beyond our own beliefs, experiences, and perceptions.
Do you see a duck in the picture? Or a rabbit? Feathers or Fur, should we belittle or mistrust someone whose perception differs from ours?
When two people with different perceptions are brought together, the potential for frustrations, irritations, and misunderstandings is overwhelming. Welcome to marriage.
In our experience even as a couple is learning new communication skills and techniques they are easily pulled back into former habits of defensiveness and the almost overwhelming need to be right. They are lost in their own vantage point and cannot imagine another.
Thus while some would focus on teaching a couple how to better state their view or belief (which is, indeed, important), it is even more crucial that each partner become adept at empathy, at “seeing through their partner’s eyes” to better understand their beliefs and behaviors. This takes a humility that is wonderful in its power and effectiveness to heal and reopen a relationship and hearts.
Do you have what it takes to acknowledge your partner and their point of view, even when you do not agree with it? Can you honestly say to another person, “I am anxious to understand your point of view, and for you to understand mine. Can you help me to see what you see?”
Can you acknowledge and validate your loved ones? If you can, you too will see relief come into their eyes and feel their tears of gratitude and loving connection. And you will also get a big bonus: As you open yourself to other points of view, you will find better solutions to problems and challenges.
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