One of the most common complaints that couples have about each other is their partner is not a good listener…
“He does not hear a word I say.”
“I think she ignores me on purpose.”
“If only my spouse would hear more than the first few words I say!”
“I might as well be talking to the wall.”
“You must have received an ‘A’ in selective listening class.”
Do any of these seem familiar? You are not alone. Yet, take heart, anyone can learn to be a better listener! It will take practice and patience as you both work on improving your listening skills.
Healthy communication is an area we will always be working on in our relationships. My husband and I have been married 40 years and we continue to work on various aspects of our communication and especially our listening skills. In learning about healthy communication, it is important to realize that good listening is more than 50% of the equation. Improving your listening skills will definitely improve the whole essence and flavor of your relationship.
Over the next few blog posts we will present “active listening” techniques. Listening is not a spectator sport and will take effort and focus.
Active listening means you are totally focused on what the other person is saying and NOT thinking about your reply.
Active Listening Technique #1:
Encouraging – This is listening to show our interest in what is being shared that will encourage our partner to continue talking. It is important that we do not argue or disagree and use neutral words. We can say things like:
“Please tell me more about…”
“And what happened next?”
“That sounds really interesting.”
Active Listening Technique #2:
Clarifying – Many times when we are listening we need more information to understand what is being communicated. We may not quite see our spouse’s point of view until we clarify what is being said. Again it will be important to avoid any arguing or disagreement. Simply ask for further explanation. Try saying:
“Help me understand about…”
“When did this happen?”
“I am not sure I understand. Please tell me again.”
Remember being a good listener is essential to having healthy communication. Practice being an active listener!