“This is the problem with dealing with someone who is actually a good listener. They don’t jump in on your sentences, saving you from actually finishing them, or talk over you, allowing what you do manage to get out to be lost or altered in transit. Instead, they wait, so you have to keep going.”
— Sarah Dessen
Listening is one of the bedrock of communication in a relationship. It goes beyond hearing what your lover is saying, it involves concentration and dedication to understanding what your lover is trying to tell you. Many relationships and marriages have failed today, because either both or one partner did not listen effectively. Many people don’t take time to listen to their partners, some feel that it’s a waste time to communicate; others don’t want to listen, they just want their partner to listen to them and do what they want.
Many people consider themselves good listeners but not everyone is. Active listening is a skill you have to acquire if you want your relationship to last. Always remember that communication can’t occur without one partner listening when the other is talking; communication involves the two of you listening to each other as well as talking to each other. When your partner talks about her bad day was, you have to listen so that you help her feel better through the things you will say to her. Listening attentively to your partner requires a lot of emotional and physical energy which makes impossible all the time to listen, so always let each other know when you need your bodies, minds and souls into the conversation.
There are many things to gain from listening to each other in your relationship. When you and that special one wants to have an uncomfortable discussion, listening to each other avoids the discussion resulting in deeper problems. Listening to your lover fosters a deeper bond between the two of you and increase your intimacy with each other especially when combined with empathy. For instance, your partner has a male friend who checks up on her often, if your partner tells you the reasons why and you listen without interruptions, you will be able to understand the reasons why and you both can sort it out.
If you aren’t an active listener, here are tips that can help you become one :
1. Listen with your body
When your partner wants to talk to you especially when it’s an emotionally charged conversation, don’t pace around, don’t look away, don’t fold your arms in front of your chest. Listen with your body. Maintain eye contact with your lover so that your partner will know you are interested in what he or she is saying. Have relaxed posture with leg crossed if sitting so that your partner won’t feel you are in a hurry and don’t want to listen. Always face your partner. Maintain the same height with your partner so that you won’t to intimidating and frighten your lover. Monitor your tone too when you want to respond to your lover.
2. Don’t interrupt
“Honey, can we talk about tomo…” Ada asks, “Have you watched the news this morning ” Ade interrupts. Many couples communicate like this and it is very bad. Don’t interrupt your partner when he or she is talking to you, give your lover your full attention without interrupting. Your partner might have summoned courage to talk to you about an issue, interrupting may kill that courage; not to mention that the interruption might lead to another talk that might drown what your partner wanted to say. Don’t interrupt your partner when he or she talks to you.
3. Turn off all distractions
Drop your phone, close your laptop, stop fiddling with that table cloth; stop drumming with your fingers. Keep all distractions at bay, and listen to what your lover has to say. This way you will be able to contribute meaningful to the conversation and you will be able to advise or help your lover.
4. Understand what your partner is saying
If you want to listen effectively to what your partner is saying, reflect on your lover’s words and on his/her feelings so that you can understand what he/she is saying. For instance, if your lover’s boss gives him query think about everything he told you on how he got the query and think about how he feels at the moment. This way you will able to understand the situation and loving chastised or criticize or console your lover. Use assertive statements so that you also help you understand clearly what you are saying and ask questions that will make this clearer.
5. Be supportive
Offer your total support to your lover through out. If she wants to cry when she is talking, rub her arms. When you are done listening, try to deduce what kind of support your lover wants. Does your lover want you to just listen, to give advice, to console, to defend him/her, to give a hug? No matter what kind of support your partner wants, give your partner without feeling they want the other kind of support. You might think your partner needs an advice but all s/he needs is your comforting arms. Support your partner lovingly without judgement.
6. Take time away if you are angry
Listening when you are angry, is like listening when the generator is on. Take time off and cool off if what your partner has done is really painful. If you can’t walk away, try to calm down so that you can listen to your partner effectively.
Relationship can’t stand on love alone; when you listen to your partner and he/she listens to you, you both will be able to build a foundation for a long lasting relationship. Listening is a key part of communication, ask your partner whether you are a good listener and if not you and your partner should improve on your listening skills. Love and listening is a delicious mix for a long lasting relationship, don’t fail to listen effectively. This has been Relationship Corner with Eddie Schwaggs