ALMOST half of my life was spent in counseling. Most of my clients are into drugs and others are wrestling to keep their marriages.
I’ve talked to hundreds of couples deciding to end their relationships and I see that the problem is in their communication.
While there are many books and articles that one can read to guide marriages, still many have failed. Because of the busy and oblivious world, couples have forgotten the essence of communication, particularly the need for active listening.
While there are many strategies in communicating, I would like to put much emphasis on listening to your spouse’s by heart and that means listening to them beyond their words. This is called “active listening” and could further be demonstrated by giving all your time consciously to your husband or wife as he or she shares stories, concerns and issues. However, most of the time, you listen to ready yourself for an appropriate reply, and not because you actually would want to listen by heart.
What is active listening to your spouse then? And how can this help marital relationships?
End what you are doing at present
It is necessary to convey to your spouse that he or she is important to you more than anything else. If you are holding your cellular phones, then drop it. If you are watching television, turn it off. If you are doing paper works, drop your pen and allow your spouse to feel that your time is allotted only for him or her and that you are not on a rush and is concerned with what he or she wants to talk about.
Establish eye to eye contact
When you look at your spouse when communicating, it means that you are passionate and interested to listen to his or her thoughts and that environmental stimulus like noise, bright lights and etc. will not be a hindrance to listen to him or her. Remember, that the eyes express a lot of emotions. It reflects how much you care, love and respect a person even without uttering a single word.
Focus on listening
When you listen, you don’t immediately analyze the situation to plan for an effective response. You don’t recall theories to prepare yourself on how to handle the conversation. Remain calm and allow your spouse to speak from his or her heart because impulsive responses or assumptions can be sources of misunderstanding. There is no harm in the use of silence.
When your spouse has already expressed his or her thoughts, this time, you can make clarifications but never argue. Although not everything is expected to be the same as how you perceived things, but it is important that he or she knows that you value what he or she believes no matter what because you are his or her partner for life.
Be empathetic and compassionate
The spouse who seeks for a partner to listen does not always seek the need for immediate solutions. Most of the time, what they instantly need is a humble and listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. So, don’t push yourself to prepare a speech or a strategic plan for your spouse. Listen to what he or she says and listen as well on how he or she says them. Remember to put yourself in his or her shoes and remind him or her that you understand how he or she feels. Open your mind beyond what is comfortable to heal wounds and pains.
Indeed, in marital relationships, active listening can best help. It is very important even in any type of relationships to be fully heard.
Sometimes when you feel you are neglected, you no longer desire to communicate. You would rather keep things to yourself and resort to keeping your distance away from your spouse because you feel that he or she can only complicate things. When this happens in a longer period of time, it becomes a habit and can build a gap in your marital relationship. The sad thing is when you realized that you no longer want to be touched and that his or her presence is no longer helping you to grow. And you would rather live alone.
So, do you allow yourself in time to choose living alone? Do you actively listen to your spouse? Oh, I must say that when we change the way we listen to our spouses, we change actually not only their lives but ours as well. Hence, I pursue to live, not alone, because I wish to see our married life unfolds.