Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

Your partners problems are your problems

Life is messy, despite all efforts to make it tidy.

There are always issues to deal with, problems to solve. You might think that there are problems that are yours and problems that are your partners, but thats not true.

Theres just one bucket of problems that you're facing together. Youre a team, whatever happens. Her problem is yours and your problem is hers.

You have to show compassion, even if you're not directly involved in your partners problem.

The word compassion comes from the Latin compati which means to feel pity. Compati itself comes from the words com- meaning together and pati meaning to suffer.

So showing someone compassion literally means to suffer with them. To take on their problem as your own, and thats exactly what a relationship is all about.

Theres always something you can do. If hes struggling with career choices, you can help weigh pros and cons, or proofread a resume. If shes having health problems, you can be a caretaker and an advocate during medical treatments.

Even if theres nothing concrete, you can always listen. Sit down and take the time to hear what your partner is struggling with.

Not every problem has to be fixed. Sometimes its enough to be heard.