Wendy Warner is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with couples, children, and individuals, Wendy also enjoys teaching the premarital classes for all couples planning to marry at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Macomb.
When I’m talking to someone about something important to me, I love the feeling of connection when they truly listen. If they reflect back how I am feeling about the matter, I know they understand and they care. However, this does not happen frequently in relationships.
How often do we hear our children exclaim a negative thought, and we try to shut it down? “Honey, you don’t hate Tommy, you love your little brother!” “Your teacher is not the meanest teacher ever!” We are in essence dismissing what they are trying to tell us. We are saying, “Don’t feel that way!” “Don’t come to me with your honest thoughts and feelings.” Is that the message we want to send? What if we responded with, “Tell me about your teacher. It sounds like you had a tough day.”
How about when we are talking to other adults? “I’m sure your mammogram will be normal, you have nothing to worry about.” What if instead we heard, “It sounds like this test is stressful for you. How can I help?” In that short sentence our feelings are validated, and it leaves the door open to continue sharing honestly.
When I finish sharing a thought, and my husband nods and comments on my feelings, I know he “gets me”. He isn’t dismissing my view of the situation, trying to solve it for me or inserting his opinion. I feel respected and cared for. When we listen, we give value to those we love.