The Key to Keeping it Friendly

The key to using the friendly approach in divorce is to make your partner feel valued. If you do not attempt to do this, your problem will only worsen.

People find it difficult to quarrel with those that acknowledge their pain or concerns. Listen to your partner and try to show some degree of sympathy, empathy, or compassion for what they are feeling. Sympathy signifies a general kinship with another’s feelings. Empathy is the ability to imagine oneself in another’s shoes. Compassion implies a deep concern for another person’s troubles.

All three show respect for your spouse’s position, without invalidating your own and without actually validating theirs. If fact, you do not have to actually feel sympathy, empathy, or compassion. You merely have to sound like you do. This costs you nothing and could pay a huge dividend.

Displaying these feelings cannot always make things better, but a failure to do so will always make things worse. If nothing else, it is good business to make a sincere effort to sympathize (or at least feign sympathy) with your spouse’s plight.

If you treat your spouse with dignity, they may return the favor. Show your willingness to compromise, and they may reciprocate. Someone has to be nice first or you are both heading for trouble.

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