A valuable technique to add to your "toolbox" for actively listening to your spouse, is to begin to practice "Reflecting". This approach, instead of just repeating what the speaker is telling you, let's you recreate their messages to you in terms of emotions or feelings about what is being communicated. Using reflecting accomplishes several things:
1.) It allows the speaker to 'hear' their own thoughts and to focus on not only what is being said, but how the emotions behind the message are coming across.
2.) It shows the speaker that you are really making an honest effort to see things from their perspective and shows that you are doing your best to understand their messages.
3.) It enables you to further encourage them to continue to communicate.
In order to be better listeners, we must learn to understand not only the language of the message, but also the feelings behind those messages. Resolve today to consider the content, feelings and meaning being expressed in order to keep those essential lines of communication wide open!