THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR ACTIVE LISTENING IN A RELATIONSHIP
Even though listening transcends all conversations and communications, it’s often not given the attention it deserves in our relationship. Many people assume that their presence during a discussion amounts to listening when in the actual fact their minds are wandering far away from their partners during conversation.
I am still guilty I must admit when it comes to active listening to my wife and this often leads to her withdrawal when I’ve to ask the same information she discussed with me again. I felt very bad when my wife has to refer to me as “you are not a good listener” But do I have any cause to complain? Absolute No. I don’t really do active listening and hence her difficulty in discussing issues that bothered her and the family sometimes. Bad isn’t? I have since repented from this behavior and want you to also change and pay close attention to your partner when they are speaking to you.
Effective listening is fundamental to any good communication. Good communication is vital to building any loving and successful relationship. Being able to openly communicate with your partner and also feel that you have been heard by your partner is significant to the success of a sustainable and long lasting marriage relationship.
According to Ralph Nicholas “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” However, this is a big missing link in most relationships, which shouldn’t be the case. We are to be present physically, spiritually and emotionally when our partner is talking to us. Nothing should engage your attention more than what he or she want to say.
Recent studies have indicates that we typically remember only 25-30% of what we hear at a time. However, ‘Active Listening’ can increase that figure enormously. One of the ways to use ‘Active Listening’ is to remember the often-used expression that “eyes and ears should be used in the same proportion they have been allocated to us.”
“Active Listening” leads to solid relationships and relationships are built through different human attributes. At the core of these attributes is listening. There are ways we can do this:
- Not getting distracted by notifications on your phone or email and listen to both what is being said and how it is spoken. Turn your phone off if that makes it easier for you to pay more attention.
- Keep your eyes and your mind focused on your partner rather than what else is competing your attention
- Apply subtle changes in body language to show you are interested, such as sitting up straight to refocus yourself while maintaining eye contact throughout the communication
- Avoid gestures, which make it appear as though you are not listening, such as fidgeting with a pen, looking over paperwork or tapping your feet or anything of that sort
- Think about what your partner is saying and why they might be saying it. Ask for confirmation if you are not too sure of a name, a figure, a specific information or an amount that may recall for exact information from your partner.
- Remind yourself of how you wish to be treated when it’s your turn to speak. If you love your partner, respect him or her by the way you listen to them.
- Do not try to formulate a response until they have finished speaking, ensuring you get the full, clear message. We sometimes get it all wrong as men when we appear as if we have already prepared answers to what our partners have to say. Avoid this mistake, this time wrong.
Find below 5 reasons why you must listen more than talking
1. LISTENING MORE MAKES YOU TO UNDERSTAND YOUR PARTNER BETTER
“How can you understand me when you’ve not given me the opportunity to explain myself” This has been a nightmare for a woman who’s married to a business man. The man pretend as if he knows all the emotional and physical issues of the wife and hardly gives her the opportunity to tell him what actually is her concerns.
Relationships have evolved over the years and so have the causes of relationship problems. Relationship Australia’s survey undertaken in 2011, indicates communication difficulties are the second top reason for partner relationship breakdowns, followed closely by financial stress.
Sasha explains that “when couples listen attentively to one another, it allows each one to feel good about the conversation and feel like their concerns have been considered and addressed.”
I am told by wife that it’s not everything that women want their husband address with money but they (women) sometimes want to be heard so that they can cool down. She said “we normally fail to get this right as men”
Good listening strengthens the relationship between you and your partner and allows you to understand exactly what each wants to say and what attention to give to one another; thus creating a healthy and fulfilling relationship
2. LISTENING MORE REDUCES CONFLICTS
Most conflict is caused by misunderstood communication between you and your partner. Either you are not doing active listening or she is not communicating the information appropriately.
When there is successful communication, conflict between you and partner is solved by bridging the communication gaps that normally create it
As a matter of fact people are not listening at all during conversation these days and these results in the way people want a particular information repeated over and over again. It appears we are paying more attention to our phones than our partners. Sad, I must admit.
May be you were not a good listener last year but promise me you going to be an effective listener and build a happy relationship with your partner. Great! I am proud of you.
3. LISTEN MORE PREVENTS DISTORTION OF INFORMATION
In communications, distortion can come about as a result of alteration of the waveform of an information-bearing signals, such as a sound and other form of disturbances. Distortion is usually unwanted interferences which prevents you from giving your undivided attention to someone who is communicating to you.
I remember my wife one day got upset with me and turn off the radio set because she was passing a sensitive information to me while I was listening to news at the same time. I thought I can do the two but in the actual fact, I can’t do both. I was paying more attention to the news than her. Many couples go through such situations every day.
Don’t allow any distortion to take place when you are communicating with your partner. Avoid all forms of disturbances and give your partner undivided attention. Make sure you understood pretty well what he or she has communicated to you and ask the relevant question for clarifications when it’s your time to do so.
4. LISTERNING MORE DRAW YOU CLOSER TO YOUR PARTNER
Effective and good communication is an indication of successful and loving relationship. If I know what you are thinking and you know what am thinking we can get along nicely. This basic element is missing in most relationships because communication has broken down due to ineffective listening.
Make your partner to understand you clear and loud without second guessing what you are likely thinking about all along. If you can make him or her to understand you better without any doubt in his or mind, you would draw your partner closer to you. The proverbial phrase “can two walk together except they agree” plays a crucial role in this respect.
5. LISTENING ENHANCES COMMUNICATION
According to a research, the data show that an average of 45% is spent listening compared to 30% speaking, 16% reading and 9% writing. (Adler, R. et al. 2001). That is, by any standards, a lot of time listening. It is worthwhile, therefore, taking a bit of extra time to ensure that you listen effectively.
When you are together, spend time with your partner to find out what issues you must pay attention to and address promptly. I know the modern economy is not giving us the time to listen to the concerns of our partners, but it’s a necessary evil to listen more. Don’t always be on the go without paying attention to what matters in the relationship.
According to Warren Edward Buffett, an American business magnate, investor, speaker and philanthropist who serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, there are three things every successful person must pay attention to. These are 1) your relationship, 2) your health and 3) your business.
So, it doesn’t make sense to lose a relationship because you are pursuing your business interest. Balance your life so that none of the three important elements suffer. Pay attention to your partner and everything else in your relationships will fall in place. This is not magic but common sense approach.
6. LISTENING MORE BRINGS ABOUT TRUST
If you can’t trust your partner to be honest and independent in the way he or she would go about life, don’t hang in there and complain and whine. You’ve no business being there because you can’t follow your partner to wherever they go and that’s why we need to build trust in our relationship by listening more to what our partners feel and say. So many people have problems about trust in their relationship because they failed in developing trust in the way they communicate issues to each other. Yes, you must listen effectively to each; there’s no substitute for listening and you’ve no excuse to do otherwise.
In the actual fact any relationship must be based on trust. When we are not listening effectively, it will be difficult for people to be able to trust each other. This means being honest with the other person in the relationship. Having trust in a relationship also means proving to each other that you are reliable, responsible, and dependable. How would your partner know what you are thinking about if you don’t listen to what they have to say? Don’t be in a hurry to conclude a discussion if your partner has not reach the conclusion point as regard to what they have to say.
What happens in a relationship without trust? It could involve second guessing and not believing each other. It also might involve betrayal by sharing secrets or obsessively checking on the other person.
For example: if you are worried your partner may be cheating on you, constantly checking his or her phone messages to make sure he or she is not texting or calling someone else means you do not trust him or her enough. A better way to tackle this is to communicate your concerns and develop a greater sense of trust through what your partner has to say in response.
A man severely beat up the wife on the common word ‘hello dear’ as appeared on the wife’s phone as a message. Even though the woman disclosed the identity of her new client to the husband, the husband didn’t listen effectively to the wife and appeared to have no knowledge of the wife’s new client who usually address her as dear.
You can’t do away with trust because it is an important element of any healthy relationship. If your relationship lacks trust, it’s hard to get close to the other person and to rely on him or her for support.
In a successful relationship, you should be able to listen to your partner and been able to share information with your partner without worrying that he or she will share it with others. You should also avoid telling any other person outside the ambit of the relationship any confidential information your partner tells you unless keeping such a secret will put him or her in danger.
Every healthy relationship especially marriage must build trust so much so that you should feel comfortable around your partner and not fear for your safety. If you do have any concern for your safety or feel belittled or hurt when you’re around your partner, there is a good chance that something is not adding up and you’ve to communicate your concerns to your partner to address the issues as early as possible.
We’ve taken a look at the issue of listening in our relationships because we identified it as one of the essential elements that can enhance our relationship in the years to come. Let do our best to listen more this time round as we age in our relationship than we speak so that we can build a successful and loving relationship. When we do this successfully in our relationship, society and prosperity would be grateful to us.