web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Part 9 – Mirroring Your Spouse’s Feelings


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

(*Names have been changed)

Mirroring is a good way to start actively listening to each other. To mirror, you simply paraphrase or repeat back to your spouses what they are saying to you. For example, if one day they come home and say to you: “I had a horrible day at work!” you reflect on their words by saying, “It sounds you had a terrible day at work.”  Don’t try to editorialize or deny what they are saying.

 

Instead, allow your spouses to fully express their feelings, and encourage more communication by paraphrasing what they just said to you. Or, if they had a hard day at school and the students drove them crazy, you can let them know that you hear what they are going through by saying, “It sounds like your kids drove you crazy today.” Most of the time, validating their feelings is really what they need from you.

Think about the last time you were frustrated and you tried to share your feelings with your parents or friends.  What kind of response was more soothing?  If they dismissed your feelings and said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Tomorrow will be better,”? Or, if they gently mirrored your words back to you and said, “It sounds like you had a hard day,” or, “That sounds rough. Can you tell us more about your feelings?” Most people appreciate when their feelings are validated and that someone is willing to listen to their pain or frustration.

The difference between the two styles is quite distinct, as the following two dialogues reveal.

Relationship Skills:

In the first conversation, Rivkah* doesn’t utilize the principles of active listening.

Chaim*: I’m furious!  I had a lousy day at work!

Rivkah: What?  Were you late for work again?

Chaim: What are you talking about?

Rivkah: I told you last night to go to bed earlier and leave on time.

Chaim: That has nothing to do with it. It’s my boss. He’s out of his mind again. He is nervous about our deadline and feels that our department isn’t keeping up.

Rivkah: Well, I keep on telling you that you guys have to keep ahead or else.

Chaim: Give me a break!  We are working as hard as possible!

Rivkah: I guess it’s not enough.

Chaim: How much can I possibly do?!

In the following conversation, Rivkah has learned the skills needed to be a good active listener, and she mirrors her husband’s feelings.

Chaim: I’m furious! I had a lousy day at work!

Rivkah: You had a lousy day.

Chaim: My boss was impossible! He has such a temper!

Rivkah: He was angry today?

Chaim: He couldn’t stop ranting and raving about performance.

Rivkah: Hmm. He’s worried about your performance.

Chaim: Give me a break!  We are working as hard as possible!!

Rivkah: You feel you are working as hard as possible. I’m sure you are trying your best.

Chaim: Of course we are. We are getting glitches all along the way from distributors.

Rivkah: You are frustrated with your distributors.

Chaim: Of course. I can’t control what they do.  But my boss doesn’t care about reality.

Rivkah: You can’t control them or your boss either.

Chaim: That’s right. I feel so out of control.

Rivkah: That must be frightening and downright frustrating.

Chaim: I’m feeling out of control and I’m really scared about the future.

Through active listening, Rivkah was able to avoid pouring gasoline on an already explosive issue. Her husband was feeling overwhelmed with work stress, and it wasn’t only with his boss, but with the distributors as well.  Instead of criticizing or dismissing her husband’s behavior and feelings, she aimed to listen to his inner message and uncover his more vulnerable emotions of fear and frustration. Practicing this kind of communication helps build a caring relationship – one that will enable more positive interactions and dialogue in other key areas of life.

Next Week, Part 10, Empathy

 

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the executive director of Shalom Task Force. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Part 9 – Mirroring Your Spouse’s Feelings”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Secretary of State John Kerry with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier before P5+1 talks. Nov. 22, 2014.
BREAKING: West About to Cave on Key Iranian Demand
Latest Sections Stories
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Astaire-112114-Horse

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

L to R: Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

It was a land of opportunity, a place where someone who wasn’t afraid of a little hard work, or the challenges of adapting to a different climate and culture, could prosper.

Rule #1: A wife should never accompany her husband to hang out with his buddies at a fantasy football draft. Unless beer and cigars are her thing, that is.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/part-9-mirroring-your-spouses-feelings/2009/04/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: