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Validation: An Important Skill for Positive Relationships

Validation is a useful approach for handling tense conversations and arguments with your significant other. This is the act of letting the other person know that you understand their point of view and their feelings. If you can do this then the other person will be less likely to act defensively or become frustrated with you. By validating the feelings of your partner, you let them know that you are not only listening to their feelings but you are also able to accept them even if you don’t necessarily agree with their position. Doing this will help your significant other know that you value them and that you really want to take their needs seriously.

Here are some approaches to validating your partner’s feelings:

  1. Accepting responsibility: If you sense that you have upset your significant other, acknowledge it. “I really upset you with what I just said.” By acknowledging how your actions and words have affected your partner, you let them know that you are willing to own up to your mistakes. You are not going to prioritize your pride over the well-being of your partner. This stance will go a long way towards developing a healthy relationship.
  2. Apologize: This is the next step in addressing your mistakes. An apology lets your partner know that you consider their boundaries and well-being a priority. Try following up an apology with steps to ensure that the mistake does not occur again.
  3. Praise and compliment: When complements are used to remind your partner that you admire their good qualities you begin to turn the conversation towards a more positive place. You can begin to reverse tense feelings that can cause defensive and hurtful words.

Even if you find it difficult to use the validating approaches I described above, just restating your partner’s current emotions can let them know that you are listening and trying to see things as they do. I also want to add that validation is only effective when you really mean it. Try to be as genuine as possible as you use this skill to manage your disagreements and you can begin to have healthier discussions with your significant other.