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Empathy Do’s

  • Do pay attention. Set aside the newspaper and turn off the TV when your spouse is talking.
  • Do validate feelings. “He gave that special assignment to the new recruit? I can see why you’re annoyed.”
  • Do ask questions with genuine interest. Make sure your spouse knows you heard what he or she has said. “So how did you respond to him?”
  • Do respond with affection, understanding, and support:  “I’m really sorry you have to put up with that.” “Oh, sweetheart, that could happen to anyone. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
  • Do show support. Take your spouse’s side. “I think your boss went a little overboard, too,” is appropriate. “Well, you shouldn’t have been late in the first place,” isn’t.
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Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, treating Anxiety and Depression, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Brooklyn. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com, email rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com or call 646-428-4723.