Learning to Listen - Week 5
This week, we’re going to tackle a particularly effective technique: giving feedback. This is an area that we all probably think we already understand. Well, we say, I’m great at telling my spouse what to do and how to do it to fix any situation! Uh-huh. That’s why communication is one of the biggest challenges in marriage relationships. We can all be quick to throw in our “two cents”, but how often do we do so without first carefully and thoughtfully giving consideration to what we are about to contribute?
Little can frustrate a potentially already frustrated spouse than giving flippant input on a topic where they may have significant concerns. So, how do we give feedback in a meaningful, effective way? We start by thinking about what we need to say, then giving our spouse our initial thoughts on the situation. Make it a point to say only what will share pertinent information, observations, insights, and experiences. Then, listen carefully to confirm that our input has addressed the core issue.
If you find that you’ve perhaps not been on topic, apologize briefly. Then, try again. Do not be discouraged! Often our initial comments and suggestions may be slightly off center, and that is OK. There’s nothing wrong with, “Ah! I see what you are saying now. If I understand correctly what you are saying is…..” (this is “reflecting”, which we covered last time), then “well, now that I’m all caught up, I’d say….”.
Remember, we cannot communicate if we give up. Put those initial failures to get it 100% right behind you and forge ahead. We owe it to our beloved partners to continue to give God-centered, God-led feedback to help them deal with life’s challenges. Never underestimate the power of a “word fitly spoken” (Proverbs 25:11a)!