In the film Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s character meets with his staff to figure out how to replace some really good players. They have lots of advice, but they’re not listening to his perspective. He cuts them off and says, “Okay, so, what’s the problem?”
To put it simply: how can you come up with a solution without knowing what the real problem is?
This is especially important when your partner explains a problem that they’re facing. It feels natural and even helpful to offer advice right away, but that won’t help your partner feel understood.
The next time your partner comes to you with something they’re upset about—say, dealing with a difficult coworker—don’t try to solve anything. Just listen. Sympathize with them and ask them to tell you more.
It’s more important to show that you understand your partner than to offer advice, and it helps you to learn more about your partner and the problem at hand.
Related blog posts
- Understanding Must Precede Advice
- Why Conventional Marriage Wisdom Is Wrong
- Healthy Dependence as a Path Toward Healthy Relationships