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You’ve got this! By Tracy Becker, licensed counselor answers your questions

Jessica asks: I feel unheard and unimportant to my mate. Is there anything I can do about this?

That is so unfortunate, Jessica, when we feel this way about our loved ones. This causes so much stress and strain in a marriage, or any loving relationship.

For this question I am going to quote one of the greatest relationship teachers of our time, Dr John Gottman of The Gottman Institute and University of Washington in Seattle. I promise you, whatever you want to know about good, sound and lasting love you can learn it from him and his team.

Nevertheless, here is a simple format to consider – ATTUNE, sometimes referred to as attunement. Awareness of your partner’s experience and feelings; Tolerance that there are two different and valid viewpoints for negative emotions; Turning Toward one another by recognizing your partner’s needs; Understanding, or attempting as best you can, to understand your partner’s experienced, and their perspectives;

Non-defensive listening means to listening to your partner’s perspective without concentrating on victimizing yourself or reversing the blame; Empathizing by responding to your partner with an understanding, awareness and sensitivity to their experience and needs.

I want to emphasize that all of these aspects of ATTUNE are skills. And, as in most things in life, if you are WILLING to LEARN and PRACTICE NEW SKILLS you can easily change your life and your relationship for the positive.

I would also like to say, Jessica, these are basic needs in developing a long-lasting loving relationship. They are also basic needs of respect, honor, love and communion. I would suggest that you invite your husband to read together some of Dr Gottman’s books, watch the multitude of videos on YouTube, attend one of his seminars together, or find a counselor in your area who has studied with him.

May you both find the love that you want and intended to create.

Please submit questions to [email protected]