Book Review 3 | CoupleTalk

Review the Book – Section 3

Continuing the Journey

Empathy is crucial for connection. Through empathy, you can better understand who your spouse is, what their experiences are like, and you set yourself aside and practice Scripture’s instruction to “value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Remember that empathy is a skill and that just like any skill, you can get better at it – with practice. Below are instructions and activities to increase your empathy for your partner. Take your time – don’t rush through these in order to get to the next chapter!

Building the Habit of Empathy

Practice “becoming” your partner. On your own (and probably out of earshot of anyone else!), practice becoming your partner. Pick an issue they’re currently dealing with. Some ideas are listed below.

What it’s like to do my job What my commute to/from work is like
What my struggle feels like (diet, exercise, emotional, financial) A goal I have that I’m not sure I’ll attain
What I don’t like about church A frustration I have about where I live
An accomplishment which I recently attained

Imaginatively place yourself into your partner’s shoes. Set aside your own view- point and judgments for now and try to “become” them. Then speak out loud as if you are your partner, from your partner’s perspective, having your partner’s experience.

Prompts for when you speak: As you practice “becoming” your partner, use the following prompts to make sure you’re filling out their whole experience and including their feelings:

  • “As (partner’s name), it’s like this for me….”
  • “As (partner’s name), I’m feeling this way about it…” ;“I’m also feeling
    this way…”
  • “As (partner’s name), I’m worried or concerned about…”
  • “As (partner’s name), what I really wish would happen is…”

As you do this, remember that you do not have to agree. Your task here is to just accept and value your partner – not to fix them. See what being him or her is like. And if you’re not sure how to complete some of those prompts, that’s okay. Over time, as you focus more and more on your partner’s “world,” you’ll get better.


Pick topics that don’t trigger you. For instance, if you’re currently in a financial conflict, don’t pick a topic that has to do with finances. Or if you’re hurt over something that happened at a family party, steer clear of the topic of family.

Instead, try to find topics that feel neutral to you, or don’t really relate to you. For instance, maybe you’ve got pet that both of you enjoy. Step into your partner’s shoes for a while, experiencing what it’s like for him or her to have that pet. Or perhaps your partner has an annoying colleague at work, and you have no resentment over this. Spend time experiencing your partner’s feelings and concerns about this.

[wufoo username="zbglobal" formhash="zsdefer1q28ywv" autoresize="true" height="699" header="show" ssl="true"]