How to Validate Your Spouse

Me: “I understand you.”

Wife: “No you don’t.”

Me: “Yes, I do, I heard everything you said and I get it.”

Wife: “Your’e not listening.”

Me: “Yes I am.”

Wife: “Well, I still don’t feel understood.”

Rrrrrr. (sound of brakes)

Now I have a choice.

1. Continue to get defensive and blame her as “too emotional, too much, too whatever.”…


2. Stop doing my old way and learn a new way because my way isn’t working

If I really want my connection to go well with her, choice 2 is the obvious choice. I did number 1 for years and years and it created more pain and less connection, every time.

Check out this video that demonstrates how to validate and how to do it horribly wrong. Hopefully you will laugh…

This is one of the most common relationship challenges I see. Both parties struggle to truly listen to each other, understand each other, and then validate the other person’s experience.

There’s a whole bunch of reasons why most of us struggle with this one, but most of us never got any real training in the art of listening and understanding someone.

By the way, just because I validate my wife’s experience, doesn’t mean it’s right. She can be way off, and it doesn’t matter. The point isn’t about being “right,” it’s about understanding what it’s like to be her.

Once we do this, most people relax and stop defending because they feel seen, understood, and like their perspective matters.

When my wife and I both agree that I understand her, we can move to understanding me. It’s my turn. I want to be heard and validated in my experience too.

In my marriage, we both go for win, win, or no deal (one of the 10 agreements of an indestructible marriage).

Action step:

Take notes on this video, write down each “skill” and practice on your partner. See how it goes and report back.



related posts:

How to really listen to my wife in 13 steps



  • Majk Chamrada

    Reply Reply December 10, 2014

    Hey Jason,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate what you share with us, men. Your work and life experiences fascinate me and I hope one day I will have a chance to talk face to face. And if not, at least I will keep following your invaluable advice and insights.
    Thanks a lot, from the bottom of my heart. Majk

  • Wioleta

    Reply Reply October 12, 2016

    I would say that people will only address what they are ready to address and hear. And if your friend was not in that emotional or mental space to face those specific demons at that time (or at whichever time), then you pointing it out might disconnect you from her, cause tension, or simply go unheard and unacknowledged. I agree, it’s difficult to hold space when it is a pattern of behavior, but sometimes our words can be futile if the person isn’t ready to face something. I think you’ll know how far you can go or how far you can “push your friend” based on her reaction and response to your words, both emotionally and behaviorally. I have also found that even if people act like they don’t hear what you’re trying to convey about them or deflect from the point you’re raising, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t pay attention to what you have said. Sometimes it takes time to face our own demons and ultimately, our own soul. Sending love and peace to both you and your friend.

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