You’re Listening, But Are You Really Understanding?

Communication Can be Your Door to a Loving Relationship

I receive many, many calls from frustrated clients who complain that their partners “just do not listen.” They seem to shut down.

Obviously, one of the biggest problems couples seem to be facing today is the art of communicating. Oh, I realize that we speak to each other, exchange pleasantries and mildly show interest but…

Most of us, or at least the vast majority, would much rather be doing the talking which is the far easier path. (Demonstrated by individuals who don’t even bother to think first.)

Busy Schedules: We all have extremely busy schedules that consume huge blocks of our time. That’s where prioritizing becomes important. Daily down time and family discussions is absolute necessary to a successful, healthy and long term relationship.

Forget Frivolous Conversations: Don’t fill prime conversation time with frivolous, superficial innuendos. Use this time wisely to express feelings, concerns, emotions, etc.

Actively Listen: When your loved one needs to talk, that is the time to put the book or paper down, shut off the TV or CD player and ignore the cell phone. Give them your undivided attention. You cannot allow yourself to become distracted by whatever else may be going on around you.

When our partner wants to talk, do we really listen? Listening, when done correctly, is one of the most important elements of a successful relationship.

To be an active listener, you sometimes have to just be quiet. This gives your partner a time to think and will demonstrate patience and respect. Interrupting is a waste of time. It sometimes frustrates your partner and limits your full understanding of what they are trying to convey.

On the positive side, you may want to paraphrase what your loved one is saying such as “this sounds really important to you.” This makes your partner feel that you understand what they are saying. It also shows that you are inviting him or her to continue on.

Don’t Assume: Understand what is being said, never assume (see below). It is best not to jump to conclusions that will only frustrate your mate. Offering options is also a helpful tool as opposed to ultimatums. If you are uncertain or confused, it is your responsibility as the listener to clarify the communication with questions.

Be Aware of Rising Emotions: Sometimes, during a conversation, emotions tend to run high. Remain calm and non judgmental and hear the feelings from your partner behind their words. Try to keep your response from getting personal, be open and honest.

When communication is lacking, we tend to assume that things are a lot worse or the flip side, a lot better. Our imagination sometimes gets the best of us. Knowing is so much better! Once the truth is out in the open, we can direct our efforts towards addressing that specific problem or problems and creating a solution. More importantly, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings.

Men and women are obviously different when it comes to communication, men seem to talk more about facts (prefer action to words) while women talk more about relationships and feelings. It is imperative that we reach middle ground!

Your goal is to truly listen to what the other person is saying.

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