Listening to Your Partner 

We have two ears and only one mouth, however, most people tend to talk more than they listen. Listening to your partner is very important. Improving listening skills can help a variety of marital issues.  Many arguments are due to communication problems where people do not hear what their partner is saying or they misunderstand what their partner said. Jumping to a conclusion and responding without really hearing your partner creates discord.

When listening to your partner, provide undivided attention. Stop texting, turn off the television, and stop working on the computer. Look at your partner while he is talking and make eye contact to show you are interested.

When your partner tells you something, instead of immediately responding, try reflecting back to what you have heard.  This ensures that you have really heard what they said and gives them an opportunity to explain what they really mean. For example, if your partner says, “I don’t want to go to the your mother’s house,” you might assume she means she dislikes spending time with your family. If you investigate further, you might learn she does not feel well.

Clarify what your partner means before jumping to action. If your partner says, “There are a lot of dishes in the sink.” That might mean she wants you to do them.  It might not. Ask if she wants you to do them. She might just be stating the fact that there’s a lot of dishes but she plans to do them later and hopes you will help out with doing the laundry.  Ask questions to ensure you have the correct information before assuming you know what to do.

When your partner has a problem, help them talk through it without immediately offering a solution. Ask him what he is thinking might be a good solution. Reflect back to what you thought you heard him say. Brainstorm together and try to develop a plan that you both agree with without just jumping into action.

Ask questions about your partner’s life. Ask her about their day and how she is doing. Ask follow-up questions when he gives you information. Listening to your partner helps you to understand her feelings, her thoughts, and the reasons behind some of her behaviors. Becoming a better listener will make you a better partner.

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