Validation in Relationships

| Ashley Davis LMFT

What is Validation and Why Is It Important for Your Relationship?

Validation is inevitably a skill that most couples end up needing in their toolbox at one time or another.  But what is validation and why is it helpful?

The dictionary defines relational validation as “recognition and/or affirmation that a person, their feelings, and their opinions are worthwhile.”  Typically this occurs fairly naturally in healthy relationships outside of conflict. But how do you validate your partner during a conflict or disagreement?

It is important to note that validating someone does not necessarily mean that you agree with them.  It simply means that you recognize that their opinion and feelings matter, not that they are necessarily correct.  In most conflicts, your partner likely just wants to be heard even if you have a different take on the matter.

Validating your partner is important in conflicts because it usually defuses tension.  If your partner feels that you are truly open to hearing what they feel and are seeking to understand them, they are more likely to soften their behavior towards you, even in the midst of conflict.  Validation is often used as a tool in couple’s therapy to soothe high emotions in the room and to give both you and your partner time to reconnect with one another.

If you struggle with validation within your relationships the following link by Triangle Area DBT is a wonderful resource that outlines specific steps for validation to assist with creating reconnection and understanding in even the most difficult relationships:

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