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One of the best ways you can show your spouse that you care about him or her is by validating their feelings or experiences. Validation is a key ingredient to healthy communication in marriage.

We have all been on the receiving end of someone else that validated us, whether it be a spouse, family member, friend, or co-worker. When we are validated, we get a sense of connection and understanding. On top of that, we are able to continue sharing our thoughts and experiences because we know that understanding will be there from the other person in the future.

When validating your spouse, you don't have to understand why they feel that way; in fact, you may never fully understand the why of their feelings. You also do not have to agree with what they are saying. Validating is about showing your spouse that you care about them and what they are saying. In their book The Marriage Garden, H Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall talk about validation (p.119):

Validation involves understanding and valuing our spouse. To validate our spouse we must

Listen by giving our full attention.
Listen to the emotions being expresed.
Listen to the needs being expressed.
Understand the issue from the other person's point of view.
Using non-verbal communication and cues is a part of validating your spouse. When your spouse is talking to you, pay attention and stay focused. Look at them when they are speaking. Give your full attention to him or her and do not allow yourself to get distracted by TVs, phones, etc. Show that you are listening by nodding your head or giving some positive verbal sounds such as "yes" or "uh-huh." Give validating statements (you may use the pattern below for help in creating a validating statement).

Pattern for a validating statment:
You are (identify the feeling) because of (identify the action) .

For example:
You are upset because I came home late.
You are stressed because the kids wore you out today.
You are excited because you passed your test.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I strive to validate my spouse, or am I more concerned about my own agenda and feelings?
  • Do I try to solve/fix my spouses problems instead of listening to him/her?
  • When my spouse is talking to me, do I try to see things through his/her point of view?

Originally posted at Improve My Marriage: Validating Your Spouse
 

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What about us folks that do not require validation to feel a sense of purpose, from anyone? Is this directed to the spouses who are needy? As we know, some are more than others. Especially with the tone of the: For example:
You are upset because I came home late.
You are stressed because the kids wore you out today.
You are excited because you passed your test.

This is a valid question, maybe worded a bit directly, but it's how I communicate.
I think each person should figure out how to communicate with their spouse as an individual. Direction by one person cannot be all encompassing. Just like love making, not everyone likes it the same. Do your due dilligence

Oh, and to a lot of spouses, "yes" and "uh-huh" responses means you're not paying attention. Some rather active engagement in the conversation. Like: "that crazy B said whaaaat??!!" lol.
 

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i think if you are doing and saying things that make your s/o happy, you are validating their feelings.

so i think in one way or another, to be happy with your spouse, you require validation from them.
 

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I once volunteered for a 24 hour hotline in my youth...in our training sessions, I learned how very very important it was to LISTEN to others, this was the main point they drilled into our heads --as these calls came in... to listen and to verbally acknowledge their feelings, and yes, even if we think differently or might not understand, having not experienced what they are.... to suspend ourselves & put ourselves in their shoes.

I also learned most people do not even want our advice, this is secondary to what they are seeking.....but just that another has taken the time -listened to their dilemma , even a rant, heard them ....this validation thing.... and amazingly they feel better--just by being heard, sometimes even talking themselves out of whatever they called for! Also you will find those that carefully listen and acknowledge are in a much better position to offer some careful criticism.

Whether it be a friend, even a stranger... and our spouses, who we come home to every day and share our life - how utterly important ....

When I have a bad day , If I feel a friend has slighted me, if the kids have me wanting to pull my hair out, I know I can run to him & express whatever ..... when he has a bad day at work, he can RANT to me ... I stop, I listen, I acknowledge... then I put the WORLD into perspective- just as he does for me... that all will blow over , life is still GOOD, and we come up with solutions together on how to "fix" the dilemma- if there even is one...... all of these things just make marriage a bit sweeter. :)

I don't feel we should look upon people as "Needy" if we put a checkmark to the importance of Validation in a relationship either. Take this away and our interactions could be reduced to robots or something, we are so independent of each other.... why get married at all.

Being receptive to hearing another , this is verbally showing we care about someone...... it builds the "relating" aspect and invites the other to continue being open, builds a great foundation in communication.
 

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I have learned the hard way, but really the good way that to keep your spouse happy and committed is by changing yourself first. Think about how and where you want your relationship to go or to be and become the kind of spouse your beloved WANTS to come home to......it's a win win situation.....



Blessings
:):)
 

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Since finding out my husbands love language is words of affirmation I am striving to always valadate. My husband can at times not give his full attention to me and is working on that as well.
 

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Brain,
wouldn't it be easier if my wife got this from her OM, it seems like a lot of work......LOL

Thanks for the post it hit a nerve in these trying times during our R.
 

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This is so true.
I am a very direct, get to the point person. My wife(and most women that I know) have to set up a scenario to arrive at their point when talking.

I even told my wife in the past, "When you start to tell me about your car making a noise, I tune out when you get to the sale you found at Belks and the car hasn't made any noise yet."

Now, I listen all about the sale...
 

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I strive to do this everyday!

Instead of giving MY input, I ask him for his (about his situations).

"How does that make you feel?" and "Well, that's reasonable to feel that way about it..."

When I do this, he talks more :D
 

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I think there is a great message in this post. With all the distractions that we have in our lives, truly listening to our partners takes a real effort, but can make a huge different. Thanks for the thoughts.
 
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