I never feel as though my husband truly listens to me. He rudely says, “Would you hurry up and get to the point,” or “I know what you’re thinking.” How do I get him to really listen to me?
Thank you for asking such a good question! Your concern is shared by thousands of other couples. The truth is, for as critical a skill as listening is to a marriage, many of us are really poor listeners.
The apostle James said, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Notice that James not only tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but he also ties these in with the emotion of anger. Anger certainly hinders the listening process. When we are slow to speak and quick to listen, we are less likely to become angry.
Wholesome listening is part and parcel of a healthy marriage. Developing listening skills can be something that will move a troubled marriage to being healthy and vibrant.
Here are a few additional ideas to increase listening skills:
Be slow to speak, quick to listen. Yes, I’m repeating Scripture — but it bears repeating. You need to really slow down to listen well. Pay close attention to what your mate is saying.
Be curious. Curiosity is an overlooked skill. Being curious keeps your attention on the person speaking. Why are they saying what they are saying? What is important about what they are saying? What can I learn from what they are saying? Be curious and ever the learner.
Be respectful. Your mate deserves your attention. They deserve to be listened to. If you agree that listening is one of the highest forms of love and respect, you will be more motivated to listen. We listen well because we care about the person speaking.
Be understanding. Asking questions and listening well bring understanding. It has been said that if we truly understood the other person, we would cease judging them. If we understand them, we find more aspects about that person to love and respect.
Be sensitive. Listening well means you’ll know when to ask questions and when to be silent. You’ll know when to offer your opinion and when to listen more deeply. Active, healthy listening is about refining the dance of intimacy. The more you do it, the better you become at it.
In summary, healthy, wholesome listening is not optional for the couple who love each other. It is the foundation of their loving relationship. How are your listening skills? Take time to develop them today.
If you would like more information on listening well, please see my book, Saying It So He’ll Listen. Furthermore, I’d like to hear your thoughts and welcome reactions. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I encourage you to read about our programs at www.marriagerecoverycenter.com.