Our final installment in this Active Listening series deals with using “I” messages, and a method known as “Redirecting”.
By using “I” in your statements, you direct focus back to the problem and not to the person you are listening to. An “I-message” lets you share with the speaker what you are feeling and why — for example, “I know you have a lot to say, but I need to clarify on. . .”, or “I would like to know more about what you just said regarding…”. Use of “I” messages will let you show your support for the speaker, validate their concerns or allow you to carefully pose follow-up questions to draw them out on a subject.
Our last technique is known as “Redirecting”. This tool may be used if someone is showing signs of being overly aggressive, agitated, or angry. If those behaviors are showing up, that is the time to shift the discussion slightly to some other aspect of the topic, or maybe even to an entirely different topic. This should be employed carefully in order to avoid the impression that you are attempting to shift the speaker away from an uncomfortable issue, or “manage” them in any way. Properly and prayerfully used, this can be an effective tool to successfully threading your way to more meaningful conversations.
We here at Marriage in Motion Ministries would like to thank you for staying with us through this entire series on listening. Being better listeners will positively impact your relationship and draw you closer and closer together. We pray that you can make use of these tools we’ve presented to actively listen to your spouse and have more meaningful, in depth discussions.
God Bless, and now: Go Listen!!