We all want to feel seen, safe, and secure in our relationships. We want our partners to validate and accept us for who we are. But why does emotional validation matter so much? And how to help your partner feel validated?
What is Emotional Validation?
Emotional validation involves understanding and acknowledging your partner’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences in a way that helps them feel seen, cared for, and supported. Validation is essential to any strong and healthy relationship and the couple’s well-being since it allows us to empathize by affirming each other’s experiences.
If your relationship is experiencing difficulties, one possible reason could be that one or both of you do not feel validated. Couples therapy may be a valuable tool for establishing trust and increasing your connection and intimacy since it provides a secure setting for learning and practicing validation.
Why is Validation Important?
Emotional validation is the foundation for positive communication, trust, and safety in a relationship. When partners feel validated, they are more likely to trust each other, open up, and work to overcome obstacles together.
People who feel accepted for who they are tend to have high self-esteem and feel safe in their relationships. We are more likely to communicate our feelings and thoughts openly when we know we will not be criticized or judged. This typically leads to better communication and conflict resolution in a relationship.
Emotional validation leads to stronger emotional connections. When people feel seen, heard, and understood, they are more likely to feel emotionally close and secure. They openly discuss their feelings and thoughts in an atmosphere of complete honesty. So, they are not afraid of having disagreements because their open communication and strong bond help them repair and reconnect after arguments.
In contrast, a person who doesn’t feel validated in a relationship may constantly seek reassurance, which can be exhausting for both partners. Also, a lack of validation can cause us to have lower self-esteem, be resentful and overly sensitive to criticism, struggle with jealousy and insecurity, or emotionally distance ourselves from our partners.
How to Help Your Partner Feel Validated: 6 Practical Tips
If you want to help your partner feel understood and appreciated, consider the following six suggestions.
1. Empathize with Your Partner’s Emotions
It is essential to acknowledge and validate your partner’s feelings, even when you disagree with their viewpoint. We need emotional validation from our partners when we are distressed. We need to feel cared for, protected, and safe; we do not seek guidance or rational explanations.
So, instead of stating to your spouse, “I see you’re unhappy right now, but here’s what you should do…” say something to the effect of “I can tell you’re in great pain right now. I am here to help you. “What do you want me to do for you?”
Putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes and showing empathy for their feelings demonstrate validation, making your partner feel secure and understood.
2. Be a Good Listening Ear
Active listening is the cornerstone of validation. Instead of attempting to offer solutions or solve things for your partner, listen to them without interrupting. Maintain eye contact and show empathy by using verbal phrases such as “I understand” or “Tell me more” and mirroring your partner’s emotions.
Active listening conveys that all feelings are acceptable and that your partner can express them without being judged or rejected. However, this does not mean not making any comments. But first, try just listening and letting your spouse express themselves.
3. Use “I” Statements
Showing validation doesn’t mean not expressing your feelings and thoughts. Validation is not about accepting the other person’s feelings and views as your own. However, use “I” statements instead of blaming or making accusations. For example, say, “I feel neglected when you don’t consider my needs,” rather than, “You never care about how I feel.”
4. Avoid Judgment
Judgment and criticism are the roads to emotional invalidation. When you excessively criticize or judge your partner’s feelings, words, or behaviors, this is like rejecting their right to their emotions. To avoid sounding judgmental, ask open-ended questions and avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions.
5. Check-in with Them Regularly
Relationship check-ins involve regular, open conversations between partners about their feelings, needs, and concerns. How long you spend on check-ins depends on your needs; it can be five minutes to an hour.
Check-ins are a wonderful opportunity to:
- Acknowledge each other’s efforts.
- Discuss what is and isn’t working in your relationship.
- Talk about what you can do to improve it.
Check-ins let you and your spouse know how you’re doing. They allow you to acknowledge your mistakes, accept responsibility, show remorse if you hurt each other, and make amends, providing you both with a sense of validation.
6. Seek Couples Counseling
If you are having difficulty validating your partner’s feelings and experiences, seeking the guidance of a couples counselor can be quite helpful. Your therapist can help you develop strategies and tools to improve your communication skills, enhance empathy, and help your partner feel validated.
Let’s connect soon so we can set up a consultation.