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Recognize Your Spouse

April 25, 2010

Recognizing your spouse and his or her ideas can be integral to successful communication. One way to recognize is through using this statement: “I liked it when you said …” [you fill in the rest].

Everyone wants to be recognized whether it be at work, with friends, family and yes … especially in a romantic relationship. Using this phrase, or something like it, will make your partner feel safe and accepted. This will pave the way for better communication.

People work harder when they are recognized.

When I used to work with crews at Pizza Hut, I was a manager there for several years, we were trained to “recognize” employees on a daily basis. We used to have little cards called C.H.A.M.P.S. cards we’d fill out and give to them on the floor for others to see. We were told that experiments showed employees worked harder for you after a recognition than they did after a raise! Pretty powerful truth there. By simply letting your spouse know her ideas and words are valued, you are empowering your relationship.

We are made better when we listen to other points of view.

In a logic class I was assigned a topic and the position I was to take. It was actually the death penalty and at the time I was against it. The teacher therefore assigned me the OTHER POSITION. I learned much more about the death penalty when I had to argue it from the other point of view. Similarly, when we try to empathize with our spouse and hear their points, we become more educated about how they feel and how they see the world. This can help us make better word pictures when we are conveying thoughts and desires.

We might be wrong!

I know a lot of people who don’t like to be wrong. At the same time, those people will admit they are wrong even when they don’t like it. There is a small group of people in the world that refuse to admit they are wrong. These people have a major personality flaw. I don’t ever want to be like that. Theoretically, our spouse exists to “course-correct” us when we are wrong. This is never a comfortable process but we can make it easier by listening  and echoing back to our partner. After all, do you want to go around in your life being wrong? I sure don’t.

Create your own way:

Here’s an example of how this phrase has worked for me (hypothetical conversation of course):

Spouse: I don’t know where to eat for lunch.

Me: I liked it when you said you wanted to eat well but more affordably, how about Soup and sandwiches?

Spouse: I had no idea you were listening when I said that.

Me: Oh yes I was, and I agree those are important values for us right now.

As you can see, the phrase “I liked it when you said …” can improve your relationship’s communication and show recognition of their thoughts and feelings.

Your Love Homework Assignment: Practice talking with your partner by using the phrase “I liked it when you said…” – and then tell us in the comments sections what happens when you use it!

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I’m a teacher and songwriter in California. It's always a pleasure writing for It Might be Love. I married my wife in 2002 and we have 3 kids. You can read more about me at my Google profile here. Get updates on Twitter and on my blog.

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