Posted by: Derek Guyer | April 21, 2008

Talk with your Spouse Tip #3

I like to pride myself on good communication. I am a pretty good communicator. I study it, and do my best to apply what I understand of it. Funny thing is, most of my tips will come back to my own poor communication. To that end…

I constantly get caught not listening to Lisa when she’s talking to me. I hear her, but I’m not listening (As I’m typing this I just got caught doing it again…that’s sad). Most of you husbands have heard this as well. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times:

“Did you hear a word I said?”

“You weren’t listening, were you?”

“What did I just say?”

Gentlemen, we’re the worst offenders on this one. We’ve picked up on this idea of “active listening”, but never really done it. Active listening means actually listening and trying to help clarify things by asking specific questions to ensure you understand the point that’s being made. As Wikipedia explains, “The goal of active listening is to improve mutual understanding”.

To clear this up, this is not active listening:

As funny as that may seem to watch, it’s frustrating to be on the receiving end of it. No one wants to be patronized. 

That means sometimes it’s a big big deal for you, husband or wife, to stop the really important thing you’re already doing to listen to the seemingly not so important thing your spouse is frustrated, excited, or even sad about. Active listening requires selflessness, sincerity and a conscious effort. 

Communication Tip: Take the time to really listen. Your spouse deserves at least that much respect.

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