Why do I have such an especially great time validating couples? I think it’s really my specialty. Maybe it’s because they have something I want – a happy, successful partnership – and focusing on what they are doing right gets me closer to my own goal. I dunno.
This 35ish couple had come to Asheville from the Bronx and he was telling me how he was a tattoo artist and had been invited to work for a week in a studio in Asheville – and had taken the opportunity to organize a family reunion here. They told me how, no matter how much – after several trips here – they really like Asheville, their heart was still in “the City”. It was easy to appreciate him for his obvious skill at his trade, that he had been invited to be the guest artist for a week. And to appreciate both of them (because I wanted to involve her, though this also sounded like mostly his project) for putting together this family reunion. And for how much they love their home.
Mostly this had involved appreciating each of them as individuals. I wanted to find something that affirmed the two of them together. I paused, got quiet inside, asked the question – and, with almost no real “thinking”, the answer popped out. “You two guys have really fresh energy. If I was to pick, out of all the people to come through this line today, who I would really like to hang out with – it would be you.” And I meant it – and they seemed to relish it. Telling a couple that they work together, that they are attractive, that they have good energy is very powerful. There are so many forces working to break couples apart – or at least to sever their intimacy – that they all can use all the support they can get.
The second couple was about the same 35ish age, but had a very different style – with the woman clearly the emotional leader in the pair. I don’t know what intuitive process led me, but before she had said a word – based just on facial expressions and body language – I said, “You seem really fun.” And, to the husband, “Is she real fun and funny?” He agreed, and went on to tease her in a charming way – which she seemed to enjoy and take as affirming. “Oh, I see – you guys are both fun and funny. You must keep each other endlessly entertained.”
The wife: “Well, we do have our days.”
“Everybody has their days – there’s no way to get around it. But you guys are good together – it’s obvious. You’re my favorite couple of the day.” Never mind that this validation came precariously close to what I said to the other couple – nobody was keeping track.