We often imagine what someone might be feeling. We momentarily pause to reflect on what they are feeling. But accurate empathy requires that we go beyond the superficial wondering, beyond the acknowledgment of what they might be feeling, and walk in their shoes. Spend some time considering, reflecting, even sensing what they are experiencing. Then, when you are ready, check it out—ask them if they are feeling a certain emotion. “You seem discouraged today. Are you? You seem overwhelmed with what is happened in your marriage? Are you? I’m wondering if you feel frightened about such and such? Go the extra mile and practice accurate empathy, noticing the powerful impact and connection.

Dr. David Hawkins is the director of the Marriage Recover Center where he counsels couples in distress. He is the author of over 30 books, including Dealing With the CrazyMakers in Your Life90 Days to a Fantastic Marriage, and When Pleasing Others is Hurting You. Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives with his wife on the South Puget Sound where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities. You can also find Dr. Hawkins on Facebook and TwitterDr. Hawkins offers a free, 20 minute consultation, with requests sent to his email address at drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.com. Also, remember his guarantee at The Marriage Recovery Center: 3 Days To A New Marriage, Guaranteed! He is also excited to continue offering his special eBook, A Love Life of Your Dreams free for you to download.