“Am talking, but you are not listening!”, your spouse says. ‘But I was,’ you tell yourself. As a result, arguments sets in.
The truth is, these arguments can be avoided. First and foremost, you need to understand why you might miss important details in what your spouse is saying—even though you think that you are listening.
NOT LISTENING- THE CAUSE
- It could be you are either tired or distracted.
- The kids are shouting
- The television is making a loud and harsh sound
- You are thinking about a problem you had at work.
- Now your spouse starts talking to you—something about expecting visitors tonight. You nod “OK,” but did you really hear what was said? Maybe not.
- You make a lot of conclusions or assumptions. We call that “mind reading.” But, that could be dangerous. You strongly conclude or assume that there is a hidden message behind your spouse’s words, when in fact you may be reading too much into the situation.
- You want solutions quickly. “Sometimes I just want to express how I feel,” says Mercy, “but Clement wants to tell me how to fix it. I don’t want to fix it. I just want him to know how I’m feeling.” The problem? Clément’s mind is eager to find a solution. As a result, he will probably miss some or all of what Mercy is saying.
Well, the hard truth is, you can become a good listener, someone who is ready to listen. How can a better listening be achieved? Let’s find out!
HOW TO BETTER LISTEN
1. Be sincerely interested in your mate.
To really listen is, a way of showing love and care, not a mere skill. If you have genuine interest in what your mate is saying, you will not be pressures to listen to your spouse. Listening becomes natural. Active listening involves looking for the interests of your spouse and not yours.
2. Always ask questions.
There are a lot of benefits of asking questions. It shows you care about your spouse’s feelings. You want to understand her better. It helps you know what’s in her heart deeply.
Mercy, quoted earlier, says: “I love it when Clement asks questions. It shows me that he’s interested in what I’m saying.”
3. Give your complete attention.
Whenever your spouse has something important to say, please be ready to listen.. Don’t be distracted. Be focus. Let your spouse feel your care, love and attention.
Let’s imagine your mind may be on other things just now, if so, please do not pretend to listen. If possible, put aside what you are doing and give your mate your full attention, or perhaps you could ask your mate to wait until you are able to do so.
4. Agree to speak one at a time.
When it is your turn to listen, avoid the tendency to interrupt or disagree. You will get your turn to speak. For now, all you need to do is, just listen.
5. Listen for the message, not just the words.
Note what is conveyed by body language, eye movement, and tone of voice. “That’s fine” might really mean “That’s not fine”—depending on how it is said. “You never offer to help me” might really mean “I feel I’m not important to you.” Try to get the real message, even if it is not spoken. Otherwise, you may end up debating over what was said instead of focusing on what was meant.
6. Keep listening.
Do not ignore or walk away, even if what you are hearing does not please you. For instance, what if your mate is criticizing you? “Keep listening,” advises Frank, who has been married for over 60 years. Develop the habit of showing genuine consideration to what your mate is saying. That is maturity, but it worth it!
We have discussed that no matter the situation, try to keep listening. Do not ignore. Ask questions. Give your spouse an undivided attention. Speak one at a time. Listen to the message and not just the words.
Finally, give attention to how you listen, for you and your spouse will greatly benefit.