How to Defend Less and Empathize more as a Partner

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand another person’s or your own partner’s feelings, thoughts and attitudes by understanding him or her very deeply.

According to Marriage Counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo, being empathetic means you're aware of someone's emotions from their perspective; you feel what they feel. Although it's important to be empathetic in every personal connection you have, but when it’s the matter of your marriage, enhancing your empathic ability is very important to maintain a long-lasting romantic bond.  When we look at the world from our partner’s point of view, we begin to bridge the gap of understanding between us.
Counsellor Shivani also warns that in most relationships with time, partners tend to stop practicing empathy and that silently kills the bond, joy and happiness that two partner potentially can enjoy even after decades of staying together and bringing up children.

The major reasons, why partners stop being empathic in relationship are mainly due to two factors:-
a. Lot of people have the tendency to take their marriage and their partner for granted over the period of time and they stop putting the additional effort to understand their partner and make them happy. 
b. However in most cases, partners stop becoming empathic without their self-noticing.  When people get emotionally activated by tension, fear, and anger, it becomes extremely difficult for them to empathize with and understand the other person’s perspective—they get too wrapped up in our own thoughts to be able to think clearly.
Here are some important tips to become and remain empathetic towards your partner:-

1. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes

Showing empathy in a relationship can strengthen you and your partner's bond. That's why one of the best ways to be more empathetic is by simply imagining yourself in their position. People who lack empathy tend to also lack an understanding of how they themselves feel in various situations. 
Therefore, a good starting point is to remind self to consider how your partner feels as they endure life’s mixed bag of good, bad and neutral experiences. This exercise will put you down to pathways that allows you to understand other’s experience as well. 

2. Communicate Your Emotions

Happy couples often show their empathy by communicating verbally that they are taking the time to imagine what their partners are experiencing. In addition to listening, expressing to your partner that you understand what they're going through can show them that you're being more empathetic to their emotions instead of just dismissing them.

3. Be Active by asking the right questions

When you start asking questions about your partner’s emotional state, it will communicate that you're concerned about your partner’s problem, and about his/her happiness and about the relationship. 
Being more attuned with your partner's emotions can allow you to notice when they're down before they even mention anything. 

4. Listen to your partner without Judgement

When people listen to others with a judgemental mind, they never let the other person complete their sentence by interrupting them by reacting prior, slowly this tendency stops the the partner to share his/her thoughts and emotions. Hence when you listen to your partner, listen without judgements and with an open mind, take time to react and revert to your partner if you feel something that is troubling them.