Compassion might just be the last lesson we learn in being able to relate in a healthy way in our relationships; it should be the first.
To show compassion in your marriage requires you to practice patience, step outside of self, and remember this partnership isn’t just about you. Tricky slope, right? This is a tough marital concept to accept, because there are absolutely going to be moments where you won’t agree with your spouse. There are going to be times when things are done in a manner that you would never consider… and if/when it does go sideways, your initial reaction is going to be “I told you so”. You will need to learn how to look past the surface aspects of these situations, in order to develop compassionate behaviours.
One of the greatest challenges you will come across is learning to keep your ‘rightful’ opinion on any given situation to yourself. If you're anything like me, you have an opinion about everything, right or wrong and have most likely shared it, on occasion... or two. Learn from my mistakes, and just don’t. Not everything situation requires your input. More often than not, in the throes of trial and error, it’s your compassion, not your opinion that will matter most. With everything there is a consequence, and I'm going to wager on the fact that the consequence of compassion is going to deliver more to your marriage, then the sharing of your opinion.
Mind your temper, ego and righteousness. Ask. Listen. Stop.
True compassion requires acceptance, not advice.
You will need to learn to respond with care, over and over and over and over again. We all break and for a variety of different reasons. The energy and emotion behind our pains/reasons, cannot be felt the same way by someone else, and yet there is an expectation that ‘you’re my other half, you should understand me! You should understand why I’m feeling these exact emotions.”
Impossible. Upbringing, experiences, temperament, personality, the list is endless as to why not. We are not in a position to understand our partners exact emotions. We can only comprehend on the macros level of emotion.
A) You’re angry because you lost your job. I can understand that.
B) You’re angry and and lost a grand at the casino out of frustration? Nope, now I'm angry. This is not how I would have handled it, how dare you put us in this situation.
See what just happened there? You’ve just made this about you. Take yourself out and make an effort to consider the situation before having an opinion about it. Minding your opinion will allow you the room to show compassion.
Consider this instead:
“I’m sorry, this situation sucks, what do you need from me?”
You can achieve this level of understanding by simply asking… what do you need from me right now?
On the flip side, you are going to also need to learn how to ask for understanding and compassion. Our initial reactions tend to be aimed at the ones we love the most. Our spouses are a convenient punching bag, and they’re supposed to just take it, right? Again, not true. They’re not supposed to just take your bad behaviour, and they can’t read your mind, so take a step back before lashing out. It's your turn to verbalize what you need. The faster you are at verbalizing what you need, the quicker you’re going to receive the compassion and loveStyle you require.
In the end, compassion can be delivered and received in three easy steps:
Keep it simple. Don’t provide or ask for a task list of compassionate deliverables.
Make the behaviour specific, and you'll minimize creative interpretation.
Be authentic with your emotion.
As an example - (sidenote - this li