From Your Loved One’s Eyes
By: Kathy
April 27, 2014

As a couples counselor, one of the things I regularly do is teach people to see things through their loved one’s eyes.  Honestly, this is one of the most powerful ways to love the people around you because everyone has a deep need to feel heard and understood!  Quite frankly, this is also one of the things people have the most difficulty with learning!

If we can’t see things through our partner’s eyes, then basically they have their viewpoint and we have ours, and we will never get on the same page.  We may literally spend all our time trying to coax them over to our way of thinking, meanwhile, they are trying to convince us that their way is right.  Usually, somebody just stops and the debate goes underground along with  frustration, bitterness, anger, and resentment.  This is a recipe for future disaster!

To see things through your partner’s eyes, you’ve got to learn how to set your viewpoint aside.  This is so very hard if you have shame or if you’ve been giving up parts of yourself to get through life.  I need you to trust me, however.  You need to learn how to do this!  Seeing it through your partner’s eyes does not mean you are wrong.  It does not mean you are giving up, giving in, or otherwise compromising yourself.  It doesn’t mean you lost or that someone got one over on you.  It simply means that you are mature enough to, as Harville Hendrix puts it, “suspend your view of the world for a moment and make an honest effort to see theirs.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people relax and feel relief upon hearing their partner finally validate their point of view in my office!  That opens the door for connection and intimacy, which is what we all want in the first place!  Quite frankly, this is just exercising empathy, but far too few people have skillfully mastered how to express empathy in their relationships.

You have the option to continue arguing your point until you coerce your partner to give up their belief, opinion, wants, needs, etc.  Or, you can show your loved ones that you really love them by getting out of yourself and trying to hear them.  See it through the other person’s eyes.  Get over into their camp and look through their window.  Feel what they are telling you as if you experienced it yourself.  Imagine what it must feel like to feel what they are feeling.  It really changes things, doesn’t it?

Your loved one is not you!  They are going to have differences and to be healthy, we need to learn to value each other’s differences.  If we take the best parts of them and combine it with the best parts of us, we’ve got a phenomenal combination!  But we’ve got to be mature enough to admit we don’t know everything, we aren’t always right, and someone else might have a viewpoint that makes more sense than ours!

Try it!  Take a risk and really try to see something through your loved one’s eyes for a change.  If you do it successfully, you’ll see a sigh of relief and a softening of the heart as they begin to feel heard and understood.  It is one of the most loving things you can do to another person!