Often, when our spouse approaches us to “talk”, they really are asking us to listen. The learned capacity for practicing “active listening” is often the key to addressing some very particular need or issue. Active listening is all about building rapport, understanding and trust – all things that will vastly improve any relationship!
So how do we become active in our listening? Our first tip: Restating. To show you are listening, repeat every so often what you think the person said — not by parroting, but by paraphrasing what you heard in your own words. For example, “Let’s see if I’m clear about this. . .” or “So if I am correctly understanding you, what you’re saying is…”. This gives the speaker a chance to make any corrections in what we’ve heard and help us to better understand their message and avoid any misunderstanding about what is being said.
In our upcoming series of weekly posts, we will explore more tips that will help us make our listening more effective and valuable to our relationships. Please stay tuned!