your genuine concern. Look your partner in the eye. Be forth-
right and direct. Things went wrong; your partner was disap-
pointed. Acknowledge it honestly and frankly, and be ready to
learn from it and move on.
Express Sincere Empathy
Healing communication includes expressions of sincere empa-
thy—words and actions that let your partner know how much
you appreciate his pain and predicament. It does not mean you
must wallow in bad feelings. Empathy communicates under-
standing and identification. Show that you care. Understand ing
your partner’s concerns from his point of view will only enhance
your own understanding of the partnership.
Exhibit Strength and Agility
Healing communication also includes showing strength and
agility—words and actions that tell your partner she is dealing
with someone who has what it takes to correct the problem.
Partners want can-do competence, attentive urgency, and a
take-charge, “I’ll turn this around” attitude. Any temporary loss
of confidence can be overcome if your partner observes your
potency and nimbleness in problem resolution. Remember,
con fidence is restored by what you do, not by what you promise.
Demonstrate Loyalty to the Partnership
Healing communication includes expressions of loyalty—the
after-the-fact experiences of your partner that say, “I will not
abandon you now that I have regained, I hope, your confidence
in our relationship.” It is the opposite of taking for granted. It
is about continuous care and frequent follow-up. Pick up the
phone and call your partner later to find out if everything is
back to normal. Send your partner a note. If your partner knows
you remember and are still concerned, he will come to realize
that the bad experience was an exception.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU TRIP UP 151