Marriage is hard. The difficulty primarily stems from the frustrating fact that men are from Mars and women are from Venus and, according to my five-year-old who is currently learning about the solar system, “Those planets are really, really different.”

It’s not news to any couples who have made a commitment to share a life that it can be painful at times. If love is like a flame (as the artists and poets have told us), it has to be deliberately tended to like the Olympic torch, not left to burn out like a 10-cent votive from IKEA.

In my seven years of marriage, I’ve discovered that this kind of attentiveness is expressed most clearly through empathy. Taking the time and energy to put myself in my husband’s place—and check out the view from Mars—is the only way to avoid near planetary collision.

You can’t love without knowing, and the path toward knowing involves both seeking and finding through a gauntlet of blood, sweat, and tears. There’s no X-ray machine for this kind of insight, but there is a way to see and be seen, and that is to really look and really share.

Read more at:

3 Ways to Build Empathy and Improve Communication in your Marriage
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