I just read a wonderful blog post over on Case For Smiles’ blog “Coping Space” titled How To Support Your Relationship When Your Child Is Ill. It was a well written and concise discussion about ways caregivers can help support their significant other during the illness of their child. I agree that often we spend so much time focusing on the ill child, and then also the other children (if there are siblings), and the last thing we consider is supporting our significant other. Perhaps the thought is adults should be able to take care of their own needs. Or perhaps its difficult to split your own time and energy even further. But the fact remains that if you have a significant other, he or she deserves support as well.
I really liked that the writer Cindy Kerr gave some specific ideas and examples about how you can support your partner. My favorite is “Ask, then listen”. To often I see people just talk and not take the time to listen. Or if they do ask a question, they aren’t fully present to the answer, on purpose or by accident. Or, they listen to the answer and immediately start to try giving advice or suggestions.
It’s important that you invite your partner into a conversation that includes you asking questions and then just listening to the answer, without trying to fix or judge the person. Sometimes all that person needs is just to be heard, and believe it or not, this is very therapeutic. And if the person is looking for advice, she or he will tell you. If you’re not sure, ask her or him if you can give advice, and respect their answer. Even if the answer is no, by respecting it, that person might be more willing to request and listen to your advice later because you listened to them first.
You can read the whole blog post here. Have you ever tried active listening with someone? How did it go? Leave your story in the comments below!