- Do you forget someone’s name right after they’ve introduced themselves?
- Do you frequently interrupt your partner when you’re trying to resolve conflict?
If so, it may be a sign that you need to develop some serious listening skills.
Listening is how we take in and process information, it’s how we show respect to our partner, and it’s an integral part of the communication process – so why are listening skills so hard to implement?
The answer is simple – we live in a world of distractions. We’re glued to our phones and our own opinions, both of which make it difficult for those we love to communicate with us.
Do you want to be a better partner? If so, you need to learn to let your spouse have their say – without interruption! That’s why we’re showing you 7 communication tips for couples that will improve your ability to listen.
1. Listen with a motive
Why are you choosing to stay quiet when your partner is talking?
If you want to improve your listening skills, you need to know why you’re staying quiet. After all, you’re not just doing it to be polite, you’re doing it to be respectful.
Listen with a motive. Not only does giving your partner the floor show them respect, but it also helps you understand why they feel the way they do. It allows you to quietly think about how to solve the problem at hand.
2. Block out distractions
If your spouse is talking to you, but your face is buried in your phone or you are looking through your partner to see what’s on the television, can you really say you’re listening?
As brought out in the onset, we live in a world that is full of distractions. We have shows, videos, conversations, live chat, photos, cameras, work, and social media at our fingertips.
A study done at the University of Sussex in the UK scanned the brains of multi-taskers.
Participants played on their phones and watched television at the same time. The MRI scans found that multi-taskers showed a lower amount of brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex.
This means that when you multi-task (such as playing on your phone while trying to communicate with your spouse) you’re less likely to express emotional control, empathy, and have lower levels of perception, learning, and reasoning.
When it comes to listening skills and communication, multitasking is an absolute nightmare!
Give your partner your full attention by turning your phone on silent and ridding yourself of any other distractions when they are trying to talk to you.
3. Repeat what you heard
One way you can show your partner you’re listening is by repeating some of the things they are saying.
Summarizing what your partner has said can solidify their thoughts in your mind.
Repeating what you think they’re trying to say can also show your partner whether or not you’re perceiving their communication correctly, and prevent misunderstandings.
Just make sure you’re not repeating their speech in a way that seems robotic or bored.
4. Maintain eye-contact
Eye-contact is one of our top communication tips for couples. It may sound silly, but if you want your spouse to know that you’re listening to them you have to look them in the eyes.
If your partner sees you looking around the room or glancing at the clock on the wall, it will give them the impression that you aren’t listening or are counting down the minutes until the conversation can be over.
Such actions will make your partner feel unimportant and deflated.
Hold their gaze to let them know they have your undivided attention, just be careful not to look at them in a way that may make them feel defensive or upset.
5. Don’t judge your partner
Making your partner feel like you’re judging them is a bad move when it comes to the wide world of communication.
Nobody likes to feel judged.
If someone is using a condescending tone or is making an expression that makes you feel stupid, you’re not likely to confide in that person ever again.
Similarly, if your partner is sharing something with you (or if you’re in the midst of an argument) do your best not to do anything that will make them feel belittled.
6. Ask open-ended questions
Listening isn’t all about staying quiet. It’s about knowing when to speak.
One of the best ways to boost your listening skills is by asking open-ended questions with your partner, such as:
- Who has upset you?
- What would you like me to do?
- When did you start feeling this way?
- Why do you think so?
- How does that make you feel?
- Is something else bothering you?
Using open-ended questions is a great way to get your partner talking.
When you use supplementary questions, they’ll go into more detail about whatever it is they want to talk about and you’ll be able to communicate effectively as a result.
7. Wait before you respond
It’s unfortunately easy to interrupt a partner when you’re in the middle of a conflict.
After all, they have the situation all wrong! You want to jump in and say your piece before this gets out of hand, right?
Whatever you want to say maybe a fair point, but it’s always better to wait, listen, think, and then say what you have to say. This will give you time to consider your spouse’s side of things and avoid saying anything rash in the heat of the moment.
If you want to boost respect in your relationship, you must learn to listen. Don’t interrupt your partner, banish distractions like your phone or the television, and ask open-ended questions to draw out your spouse.
These communication tips for couples will help you improve your listening skills and build a stronger marriage.
Guest Author Bio
Rachael is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying about today’s evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.