Are you listening to reply or to understand?

Did you know that most relationships break down through lack of communication? Is this you right now….do you feel unable to actually hold a conversation with your partner and get the results you want, are your expectations being met or it is the same old story day in day out?
I know how you feel, it was like speaking to a brick wall getting my husband to help me with any of the household chores – asking my husband to empty the dishwasher fell on deaf ears and then when we got to the really important things in life like discussing how I felt about work for example or living where we were just got totally ignored or we ended up in a ‘blaming match’. I felt about an inch high most of the time.
Something had to change, but what? I’m a good wife, mother and daughter but no one seemed to listen or to understand me anymore. What were we doing wrong? We had lost the art of communication and the first thing I needed was to learn how to listen if I wanted to understand why my needs weren’t being met.
Both of us were listening defensively and not empathetically causing a distance between us. I had to learn to listen in a focused manner without injecting MY opinions or views.
To get communication back on track and listen to your partner try a few of these steps –

  • Listen intently to your partner without looking distracted. Do not listen whilst working out your reply.
  • Make eye contact, refocus on him if other thoughts come into your mind – this is about you listening to understand.
  • Listen to him without interrupting, if you feel like saying something take a deep breath and remind yourself this is about LISTENING to him and not your opinion.
  • Try and repeat back what your partner has said using your language but within his context so he understands you have got the message. Remember at this point you haven’t agreed or disagreed – you are just listening.
  • As hard as it is to try and put yourself in his shoes…….this will really help to empathetically understand him more. Leave your opinion for now.

Not only are you learning HOW to listen you are forming a closer connection with your partner. You are also TEACHING him how to listen without TELLING him what to do.
At the end of the day we all want to be loved and to love – learning to listen is a great step in communication, which is all part of a deep, loving relationship.
I’d love to hear your COMMENTS on this – please share!