Keys To A Happy Marriage Part 3: Be A Good Listener (I Said Be A Good Listener)
Reasons People Divorce
Here are a few common reasons why married couples call it quits:
- Family pressure, stress and strain
- Abuse – physical or emotional
- Mid-life crisis
- Workaholism – not enough time for the relationship
I think one of our take-a-ways from evaluating this list is that if husbands and wives would strive to understand each other more effectively, many of those issues would go away and the marriage saved.
Hearing & Listening
Everyone with a healthy functioning auditory system, hears. But not all who hear listen.
Hearing engages the ears. Listening engages the mind and heart.
Hearing is a physical process but listening is an act of love.
The Truth About Listening
If most people improve their listening skills they could have a better marriage overnight.
Listening requires energy, time and attention, and, often times, vulnerability, too.
Husbands and wives should guard against using listening as a tool to defend, argue or accuse.
We should listen to understand and not to present our “case.”
Listening has the power to decrease tension and defuse arguments; listening has the power to save your marriage and create a more enjoyable, happier relationship with your spouse.
But Don’t Just Listen To Words
Where “listening” goes wrong is when people pay attention only to the words being spoken.
Listening involves hearing the tone of voice and evaluating body language to see if they align with the words that are being spoken.
Listening involves hearing what is not being said.
Effective listening requires respect.
If you don’t respect the person who is talking then you won’t listen because you don’t’t really care if you understand them or not.
Effective listening requires love.
If you don’t really love, or at least care for the person on some level, then you won’t strive to understand them because the conversation holds very little meaning for you; you are not invested.
Give your sincere focus and attention when listening to people who are talking to you. Don’t be distracted by other things or even with your response.
Be kind and pleasant even when your spouse is yelling at you; maybe he or she is yelling in a desperate attempt to get through to you. The Bible says that a soft answer turns away wrath. So, listen softly.
Have A Happier Marriage
Saving your marriage and creating a happy relationship with your spouse will take work on your part, especially when it comes to the listening “department.”
Listen to your husband or wife with the express goal of understanding what he or she is trying to communicate.
People want to know that they’ve been heard. So acknowledge what you think your spouse is trying to say. And whatever you do, don’t diminish them or what they’re saying. And don’t criticize or judge what they’re saying, either.
Let them speak.
Acknowledge what they say.
Listen. And be loving and respectful in the process.
When you do these things, you will be, or stay, madly in love.