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Attuning to your partner emotionally is one of the most important ways to build a lasting connection of trust and safety. We all need to know that our feelings are understood — even if they might be a little irrational.

What’s especially important to remember as you attune to your partner is this:Empathizing with their emotions doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree with them. In fact, often it doesn’t mean that at all! It simply means you connect with them and show that you understand why they’re feeling that way.

Your partner may feel stressed that your home isn’t tidy, or because they missed an opportunity at work. It might seem to you like getting ‘stressed’ is counterproductive — isn’t it better to move on? To make the best of a situation? Or to simply let things go? You might not really understand the reasoning behind the emotion at all — after all, socks on the floor don’t bother you. 

But that’s the key: agreement is not the same, nor nearly as important, as attunement. Attuning means that, even if these situations wouldn’t stress you out at all, you truly put yourself in your partner’s shoes and work to understand why they might feel that way — from their perspective. Then, it’s important to express that understanding to your partner.

Showing them you get it, that you get them, helps them process and move through those emotions. It shows them you’re on their team. It shows them you care about them enough to understand.

So next time your partner’s emotions don’t quite seem reasonable, see what you can do to attune. See how you can adjust to their perspective. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything, or even really understand everything — it just means you’re working to humbly understand them.