Relationship problems usually stem from miscommunication or lack of quality conversations, which in turn may result from poor listening skills. A lot of marriages end up in divorce because the spouses have become too busy minding their own lives, and no longer find time to sit down and talk the way they used to in the early stages of their relationship. Sometimes, it takes just a little bit of listening to understand your spouse better.
You can get complete information in order to learn how to make your ex want you back in your life. There is a need to listen to the expert advice to have the best results. It will allow you to understand the needs and requirements of the partner better to get the best life ahead.
Following are 12 simple tips on how to listen to your spouse and improve your marriage communication:
- Always maintain an open mind
Never jump into conclusions. Always try to listen to understand, and not to look for right and wrong in whatever your spouse is saying. Simply put, do not judge as this will hamper your ability to understand. Especially when emotions are running high in a conversation, think well before responding. Otherwise, you may regret what comes out of your mouth.
- Don’t interrupt
If your spouse has something to say, let him or her say it without any interruption or distraction from you. If you are someone who likes to interrupt a lot, then it may be time to change your ways. Find a way to control yourself from butting in while your partner is talking. It is not only impolite, but it shows your disinterest in hearing what he/she has to say. Some people devise a technique to remind themselves not to talk while their husband or wife is talking such as cupping their chin with their hand.
- Watch out for non-verbal clues
This means being aware of non-verbal signs coming from your spouse and from you as well while you converse. After all, more than half of the message can be delivered through non-verbal signs and clues. These signs include the tone of voice, shrugging of the shoulders, nodding, crossing of the legs or arms, rolling eyes, and looking away or towards the other spouse. Facial expressions are perhaps the strongest manifestations of non-verbal signs that include disgust, frown, smile, tears, and surprise, among others.
- Make it a priority to listen
When your spouse is talking to you, just listen and maintain eye contact. Do not compose a response in your mind; at least not just yet. Remember that your priority is to listen and understand. So wait for your turn; and when it comes, do it deliberately. Make sure not to get distracted in the process by glancing at your phone, watching TV, or working on a chore. Make your spouse feel that he/she has your full attention.
- Apply the feedback technique
Always assure your partner that you heard whatever was said through a feedback technique such as restating the message and nodding. Acknowledge understanding by saying something like “you were saying…..” However, you have to be open to the possibility that you misunderstood or did not clearly hear what your spouse just said, and accept it if you are corrected.
- Beware of deterrents to good listening
Among the patterns that can prevent you from listening are daydreaming, mind reading, filtering, rehearsing, sparring, advising, changing the topic, insisting on being right, placating, and stonewalling. If you want to learn how to listen to your spouse the right way, put a conscious effort not to fall into these counterproductive listening patterns.
- Maintain your focus
This simply means you have to focus on the more important points in what your partner is trying to say. If there is anything that you did not understand or hear clearly, it is alright to clarify or ask questions. This shows that you are interested in what is being said. Especially if done in a polite manner, your spouse will definitely not mind repeating or clarifying things for you. Likewise, asking questions will even help you both as it will encourage your partner to open up even more.
- Understand your differences in the manner of communication
There are instances when the problem in marriage communication arises not from the lack or absence of communication, but from the differences in the way the partners communicate. Knowing these differences can significantly help in enhancing your listening skills.
Your spouse may be the type of person who often shares in order to provide information or to help address a problem. On the other hand, you may be more inclined to talk to connect with your spouse or to obtain information. There are individuals who are more concerned about even the tiniest details than their spouses. Still, there are others who are open to discussing their relationship issues. It is important to note that these issues are not gender-specific and can happen to either of the spouses.
- Empathize with your spouse
The ability to show empathy is a vital tool to have if you want to improve your listening skills. This includes understanding how your partner feels and where he or she is coming from to better understand what he or she is trying to tell you. This will make unloading a lot easier for your spouse as you will be seen as someone who can be trusted and one who really understands. But make sure that you really understand; otherwise, it will only lead to more problems as you will be exposed for faking it in no time.
- Avoid being sarcastic
Especially when in an argument of whatever nature and degree, there is no room for sarcasm. In most cases, it will only make matters worse. For one, sarcasm is insulting to your spouse’s intelligence, or to anyone for that matter; and no one likes being the object of sarcasm particularly when riding the crest of an emotion. So it is best to keep that in mind. Likewise, it always helps to speak in a low tone, no matter how strong your emotions are at the moment; which brings us to the next tip…
- Always speak in a composed and calm manner
Never raise your voice even if you do not agree with the point your partner is making. If you agree, then well and good. But if you have to disagree, you must do it in a polite way. First, make it clear that you understand the point he or she is making, and then calmly state your disagreement. Bear in mind that at this point, once you raise your voice, the other party will surely follow suit, and a full blown argument will ensue. This is what you are trying to avoid in the first place.
- Sometimes, not saying anything is good
When your partner is raging mad and ranting, it may be best to just keep quiet and listen. Talking back may only aggravate the situation. For all you know, he or she may just want to take the load of his/her chest and may not be willing to listen to reason – yet. So just listen and let your spouse do all the talking. Talk to your partner only when the air has somewhat cooled down. However, the fact that your spouse has toned down does not give you the right to raise your voice or to be sarcastic. This will only bring you back to the very beginning of the argument.