What To Do Instead of Arguing to Build Emotional Intimacy

What To Do Instead of Arguing to Build Emotional Intimacy May 15, 2024


A technique I use with my couples during coaching sessions is called CARE. “C” is for checking in. “A “is for awareness, “R” is for reflection, and “E” is for empathy or validation. Checking in is noticing that your partner is feeling a little off. You can check in with them, “How are you doing?” Awareness is being aware of what’s going on within yourself. For example, devaluing thinking about the other person. Or perhaps, putting pressure on yourself.

Reflecting means your partner considers what the deeper emotion is going on. They might be angry, or frustrated, but there’s always some type of pain under those more superficial emotions. Maybe They are feeling misunderstood. And validating means you let your partner know that it is understandable and reasonable to be feeling this deeper emotion. It is best to include a specific reason why it is understandable.

For example, your partner might frustrated that nobody was following up with the chore list for the kids and the duties were falling by the wayside. However, if we talk about this together in a session, we might see that on a deeper level, your partner was really disappointed. And you might appreciate this deeper emotional experience your partner is sharing and validate them for their feelings.

Problem-solving and shame thinking can actually get in the way of this process. And what I mean by” this process” is really communicating with one another. Problem-solving and shame thinking are default strategies we develop in our childhood to deal with difficulty. But if we want to have a healthy relationship with our partner, including good communication, we need to let go of these obstacles and instead identify deeper feelings.

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