“I just want him to know me and do things that are meaningful to me.”
Seems simple enough, right?! But actually, that is a very high level of empathy and takes a lot of learning (and desire) to get there. What do I mean?
1. Cognitive Empathy is the first level.
It’s the ability to understand another person’s perspective AND to stop telling them how they should do it ‘your’ way.
When we remember our opinion is only ONE opinion and other opinions have EQUAL value, it fuels connection, which fuels intimacy, which makes it ‘safe’ to be vulnerable, which creates the right tone for sexual intimacy in marriage to be the blessing God designed it to be.
2. Emotional Empathy, at the next level, allows you to ‘feel’ what another person feels.
This is NOT logical. There is a tremendous amount of work to get to this place. Identifying your own feelings is ONLY the result of very intentional observation and assessment. Identifying what someone else is feeling and CHOOSING to feel that with them, WOW!! This is such an act of love.
This empathy process is completely FOREIGN to so many people. Maybe even your husband.
3. Empathetic Concern is the high level that will actually sense what another person needs from you… and will CHOOSE to give that.
Can’t you see God’s love at work?! This is what dying to self is really supposed to look like. It says, “I honor me because God made me in His image. And I honor others because they are also made in His image.”
If you want your guy to just know what you want and give it to you without even being asked, well, you are expecting a lot from him. Are you doing the same in return?
The good news is… Empathy can be learned.
Empathy will make EVERY relationship better. Empathy gets easier the more you practice it.
The first step to empathy is to understand another person’s perspective. It starts with questions like this, “Would you explain that to me again so I can better understand you?”
Remember, the Golden Rule is to treat others as you would like to be treated, but the Platinum Rule is a bit different. It says to treat others like they want to be treated.
Wishing you happy trails down the beautiful, yet winding path towards Empathy.