Learn to Practice the Art of Listening to Benefit Your Marriage
When encountering conflict in marriage, many of us often overlook a skill necessary for relationship help: listening. Listening is the first step to securing and maintaining open communication with your spouse. Really listening can set you in the right direction toward a new beginning. Try these three tips to aid in resolving marriage conflict through being a better listener.
This may seem obvious, but how often have you found yourself trying to listen to your spouse while reading the paper or catching up on e-mail? How often has the reverse happened to you? It’s an easy habit to fall into. Conflict in marriage is to be expected, but sometimes all it takes is a simple conversation to set things right again. Give your spouse your full attention, even if it means putting down your work for a few minutes.
Focus on what your spouse is saying, not how he or she is saying it.
Don’t get caught up in your own perceptions. People express themselves in very different ways. What is considered raising one’s voice to one person may just be enthusiasm to another. Misinterpreting your spouse’s body language and tone of voice can frequently cause a simple disagreement to progress into a larger argument and discourage any relationship help.
You aren’t supposed to have all the answers. Gain a better understanding and show your spouse you are listening by asking questions when you need further clarification. Without interrupting, you may ask things like, “How does that make you feel?” or “How can I help you understand my point of view?” Asking these kinds of questions can help open up a dialogue, which can then lead to resolving marriage conflict.
Naturally, every couple is different. These tips are starting points and may not work for everyone. While developing your listening skills can be an important step toward saving a marriage, you may find that you need additional marriage help. Our A New Beginning marriage workshop is a great place to start. As you and your spouse work toward resolving conflict, you will undoubtedly gain a greater understanding of yourselves and your marriage that will benefit you for years to come.