As a marriage counselor, I’ve heard countless variations of “My spouse just doesn’t get it” or “My spouse doesn’t hear me”.
Whether you have been married two months or 20 years, mastering the art of listening can help to improve your marriage and move you towards becoming a more effective communicator. If you and your spouse find yourselves struggling to communicate, perhaps you may want to try active listening.
Being an effective communicator involves active listening. Sometimes, we find ourselves getting upset with our significant other because we react on what we thought we heard.
Active listening in an effective tool to help ensure all parties understand the message to be conveyed. In my practice, I help couples learn to actively listen by having them take turns speaking, listening, and reflecting back to each other what they heard. Active listening may involve phases such as, “What I’m hearing you say is” or “What I heard you say is”. It is impossible to truly move towards problem solving until each person feels understood.
When talking to your spouse, try giving your undivided attention and repeating back to them what you understood without interrupting. If your spouse is reading this article too, try doing it together. How did you feel? Did you both feel heard?
You can do this. Being an effective communicator takes practice. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are trying to use more effective ways to communicate, but you find yourself resorting back to old habits. It took you a while to master those ineffective communication skills. So, consider seeking relationship counseling, and give yourself some time to learn new effective communication skills.
Hello there, I'm Ashley Bryant MS, LPC, CRC, DCC. I am a licensed professional counselor and the founder of Legacy Family Services, Inc. located in Oklahoma City, OK.