Essential skills for successful couples are to: give good feedback and to absorb feedback. First of all, feedback is sharing the impact of a partner’s statement or behavior, e.g., “It bothers me when you say that.” Feedback is not commenting about what’s wrong with your partner, e.g., “You’re always so insensitive.”
However, feedback can only be effective if one is responsive to it. If it’s said critically, one is likely to be defensive or reactive. But if feedback is skillfully done, it’s crucial to be responsive to it.
If one responds defensively, e.g., “I never said that!”, the feedback falls to the ground. If one reacts to the feedback, e.g., “You say the same thing to me,” the feedback never lands.
If one is responsive to the feedback, e.g., “Let me say that again” and does so successfully, the feedback is being absorbed. Now change is possible in the relationship.