Every marriage and remarriage suffers and struggles to find and learn how to communicate effectively. Most of us hear our spouses but the question that begs a true answer is this….”Do we truly listen to our spouse?” Are we really, truly listening to them? Honestly, every couple that I have ever met with struggles in this area. We all do. The reason behind this failure is because we are all a work in progress. Our marriages and remarriages are constantly evolving and changing. It’s hard to be on our toes at all times but did you know that listening to our spouses is really one of the most important acts of love?
Sharing what is in our hearts with our spouses is so important. It’s extra easy to share all of our day-to-day frustrations and what is on the top of our minds, but truly sitting down and sharing what is important to us as spouses seems to be something that we don’t do enough as life partners. For example, one of the biggest issues I see with couples I meet with is that when they are communicating, one partner might reject the “feelings” of their spouse instead of truly listening and hearing them out. When this occurs, what your spouse takes from this is that you are basically rejecting them and judging them based on their “feelings.” Feelings in communication are neither right or wrong. What you do with your feelings is what creates those right or wrong situations. There are many advantages to mastering the art of listening in your relationship. Here are a few advantages:
- You will achieve a deeper intimacy with your spouse;
- You will learn the difference between thoughts and emotions and how to respectively deal with both;
- You will learn to accept that feelings come and go and change quickly;
- You will learn not to make decisions based on feelings;
- You gain trust , acceptance, honesty and acceptance from your partner.
Finding the right words is also a very important tool to have in your communication toolbox. Use words to describe your feelings so that you don’t leave your partner guessing what you are going through. For example:
- Abandoned, accepted, alive, aone, aloof, appreciative, attacked, bad, belittled, bitter, closed, cheated, cheerful, concerned, contempt, controlled, deceived, defensive, doubtful….etc.
While giving you the right words to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the words not to say. Here are a few examples:
- WHATEVER. This is the worst word you can use to effectuate communication. What you are saying to your spouse when you use the word “whatever” is that you don’t care at all what your spouse is saying. Essentially, you are saying “you are not important enough to me for me to listen to you.”
- I DON’T CARE. This is self-explanatory and just plain rude. And, if you truly feel this way, you shouldn’t be married or in a relationship where you are required to have communication.
- DUMB. Using the word “dumb” is awful. Basically, you are negating everything your partner is saying by using such a degenerative word.
Talking about your feelings to your partner will improve your overall communication by leaps and bounds. Marriage is not a guessing game. Finding the right words and using as many of them as possible to paint a picture for your spouse allows them to see things more clearly and to understand with more clarity exactly how you are feeling. Remember, the purpose of exploring your partners feelings is to help you to better understand him/her, not to change how they feel. Accepting how they feel, agreeing to disagree instead of manipulating them to feel as you do only strengthens what you are building. Listening to one another intently builds trust and longevity. It is extremely important to remember that in good marriages, both partners continually negotiate and re-negotiate. Truly listening helps you to accept your partner for who they are and helps you to identify when you need to get on the path of renegotiation. It helps you to appreciate the person you fell in love with and is a true act of love.
Peace & Blessings,