As the Houston marriage therapist, I find that one of the primary reasons couples seek relationship advice is to stop fighting. Often when a conversation brings up strong feelings of anger, frustration, or even sadness, it can be hard to communicate with your partner. And even if you are trying your best to listen to what he or she has to say, it may not come across that way. One skill that’s very useful in helping improve communication, particularly when more volatile emotions are involved, is called mirroring.

The Houston Marriage Therapist Explains the Concept of Mirroring

This is a very simple skill to learn. All you need to do is repeat back (in your own words) what your partner just said to you. The idea is to convey that you not only heard what they were saying, but you were really listening. Good phrases to start with are “What you’re saying is…” or “So you are feeling like…”

This can help calm the waters and make the other person feel respected. And also, by mirroring it back, you are really taking the time to comprehend and understand the other person’s point-of-view. Your partner may even respond by further elaborating on how he or she felt, helping you to get a better picture of how your partner is feeling.

But from my experience as the Houston marriage therapist, I know that while this skill is simple enough to understand, it’s not always that easy to put into practice. Often when we are arguing or receiving a complaint from our partner, our knee-jerk reaction is to become defensive or offer our side of the story. But remember, just because you are repeating it back doesn’t mean you necessarily agree. You are just ensuring that you understand what your partner is telling you, better enabling you to respond in a productive way. By acknowledging how your partner is feeling, he or she will be more likely to listen to what you have to say.

If you are struggling with communication issues and would like to learn more about skills such as mirroring, I encourage you to seek relationship advice from the Houston marriage therapist.