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Marriage: The Art of Listening

Ever been frustrated with your partner because he or she didn't listen to you that one time, and that other time, too? Of course you have - every marriage experiences this. If both partners in a marriage defensively listen to each other, they create distance. However, when both partners listen to each other empathetically instead of defensively, they foster a closer connection. This involves learning how to actively listen.

Here are a few principles:

* Stop what you are doing

If you try to listen while you are doing something, the probability of you getting distracted is pretty high. Stop, and give all your attention to your partner.
* Establish eye contact.

Your partner's big pools of brown eyes may be dreamy, and looking directly at your partner can create a space of active listening.
* Don't interrupt.

This is a biggie! Let your partner finish his or her story or thought before you respond. Interrupting is a danger zone fraught with miscommunication and misunderstanding.
* Repeat what they said in your own words.

This ensures that not only did you hear what he or she said, but that you also understand it.
* Practice empathy

If your partner had a rough day, and you perceive their lack of active listener-ship or uncharacteristic communication, try to see their point of view. This is very proactive and beneficial. It also establishes the concept of being understood, which is extremely important in active listening.

Not sure where to start? Try asking your spouse how their day went, and put these active listening principles in to action!

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