Many relationship issues arise from lack of listening. Hearing is NOT enough. You have to listen.
The major difference between hearing and listening is that hearing engages your ears only and listening engages your mind. You hear lots of sounds: noises in the house, cars going by, televisions in the background. You don’t listen to these unless you are on alert for something.
You can only listen when you are paying attention. What is that noise outside in the dark? It’s unusual so it captures your interest and you actually listen.
The same is true when you are in a relationship. Unfortunately, though, if you let your partner’s speaking be noise in the background, you’re asking for trouble. Your partner will then have to do something unusual to capture your interest and grab your attention. Your relationship could be in serious trouble before that happens. You could wake up too late!
I work with couples in many parts of the world. And, you won’t be surprised to learn that “S/he never listens to me.” is a common cry and complaint.
- Tune your partner out and take your chances.
- Take your partner for granted and suffer the consequences.
Hopefully, you chose your relationship partner because you like them, you appreciate them, you are interested in them, and you are committed to them. So, why don’t you listen to them?
- People repeat themselves.
Could that be because you were not listening the first time?
Could it be that you listened but did not respond in words, or actions?
And, it could be that the person doesn’t remember what s/he says, either.
- People talk too much.
Could that be because they don’t feel heard?
Could that be because they are lonely and trying to engage you?
And, it could be that the person simply talks too much, too.
- People talk at the wrong times.
Could it be that you don’t speak up and tell your partner that you would be happy to listen at a designated time when you could give him/her your full attention?
Could it be that there never seems to be a good time around you? You’re always saying “Later” or “Soon.”
And, it could be that your partner thinks that just because they speak you have to listen which simply isn’t true!
Think about how you could be more attentive and truly listen to your partner. If now is not a good time, assure your partner that you want to give your full attention and a half hour from now would be much better. Make the time to listen, and do nothing but.
Think about how you have created waves in your relationship by pretending to listen, even taking your partner for granted by assuming you know what s/he is talking about. You’ve likely been caught out in that way once or twice. That’s not good. Fortunately, you can change that.
Listening equals caring. There is no way around that. Your partner deserves your attention, your undivided attention. When either of you really needs to talk and be listened to, give each other the attention and respect. This is the basis of good communication, and that is the foundation for a good relationship.
If you are having trouble getting your partner’s attention, sign up for a free half hour relationship consultation with Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, The Relationship Help Doctor, and see what needs to change.
Disclaimer: All advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, video, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than twenty-five years, she offers her insights and opinions for your consideration only.