Lack of understanding is often cited as a reason to end a relationship. A classic “line” from cheating husbands is “my wife doesn’t understand me.” There may be many specific examples of lack of understanding, but most are rooted in insecurity, fueled by jealousy.

The first step in becoming more understanding is to recognize that both parties are bringing emotional baggage into the relationship. Before addressing your mate’s baggage, you need to take a serious look at your own.

Rejection issues commonly result in a deep-seated insecurity that often manifests as unreasonable jealousy. Do you feel threatened by your mate having friends of the opposite sex? If he’s late getting home, do you immediately suspect he’s seeing someone else? If he develops new interests, do you feel he’s leaving you behind? Do you constantly look for “signs” of infidelity—receiving “wrong number” calls on the phone, looking at other people when you’re out together in public, making private phone calls, or giving evasive answers when questioned about plans or activities. Do you see yourself as inferior to every other woman he knows? Try to identify your “hot buttons”. It isn’t always easy—especially if past relationships have ended with a violation of your trust.

Now look at your partner’s baggage. He may especially resent false accusations or intrusions into his privacy.

Take proactive steps to become more understanding. Instead of assuming that private phone calls are of a romantic nature, try to assume they’re confidential business matters.

If you truly have grounds for suspicion, discreetly check for concrete proof. If there is no such proof, quit looking for it!

Trust is one root of understanding. Another is communication—especially listening. But it’s important to listen with your heart as well as your ears.

Men don’t repeatedly affirm their feelings. One husband, frustrated by his wife’s need for constant reassurance, said “I told you I love you back in 1980. Nothing’s changed. If it changes, I’ll let you know.” If words of love are in short supply, actions of love are the way a typical man expresses his love.

Does he start your car on cold mornings so it’s warm for you? Remind you to take your medicine when you forget? Cook dinner when you’re tired? Each one of those is an “I love you.”

And you saying “I love you” ten times a day won’t mean as much to him as baking his favorite cookies or bringing him a glass of iced tea when he’s mowing the lawn.

If you are truly committed to the relationship, you need to be prepared to meet your partner halfway, to respect his right for some privacy, and demonstrate your trust by refraining from unfounded accusations.

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