How to Develop Good Listening Skills in Marriage

Robert Russell By Robert Russell, 20th Feb 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

Developing good listening skills is an essential step in building and maintaining a happy marriage. Marriages suffer when communication breaks down between the spouses. The inability to communicate well leads to a lack of understanding, mixed signals and disagreements, and eventually harsh or hurt feelings.

Five Listening Tips

Carefully listening to your spouse is an important way to show your love and respect. Conversely, inattentive listening sends the signal that you are not really interested in what your spouse has to say. This may lead your spouse to draw the conclusion that you have lost interest in her as well. Here are five tips to keep in mind that will help develop good listening skills. On the one hand, they are common sense and straightforward. On the other hand, they are easily forgotten when you take your spouse for granted.

(1) Give your spouse your full and undivided attention,
Life has a lot of distractions such as cell phones, computers and email, television, and other people when you are in a public setting. When your spouse is speaking to you, put all the other things on hold and listen to what he is saying. This not only allows you to concentrate better on the conversation, you are also showing respect for your spouse.

(2) Make eye contact with your spouse.
Eye contact is another sign of respect as well as an important conversational skill. Eye contact shows that you are interested in what's being said and it helps to better understand the nuances of the conversation.

(3) Allow your spouse to finish a thought without interruption.
A common tendency that married couples have is the tendency to finish each other's sentences. This assumes that you already know what your spouse wants to say and it also shows that you are too impatient to let your spouse finish her thought. Allow your spouse to complete the thought and avoid jumping to conclusions.

(4) Listen attentively and stay focused on the conversation.
The ability to listen well depends on the time of day, the context of the conversation, and other factors. Your spouse may have something important to share with you when you are tired and distracted. Make an extra effort to stay focused on the conversation and avoid the temptation to zone out. If you are seriously too tired to listen attentively, find a polite way to tell your spouse. Let him know that you are interested but that you will be better able to pay attention later in the day or the next morning.

(5) Engage in the conversation.
Avoid being a passive listener. A common complaint married couples have is that sometime they feel they are talking to a brick wall. While it is important to listen well, it is equally important to participate in the conversation. This doesn't mean dominating the conversation, but asking important questions and proving affirmation so that your spouse knows that you are interested and engaged in what they are saying.


Communication Tips, Listening Skills, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationship Skills

Meet the author

author avatar Robert Russell
I play guitar professionally in a Cajun/zydeco band named Creole Stomp. We are a nationally touring band that have been together ten years. I also have a PhD in philosophy.

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author avatar Zach3000
20th Feb 2012 (#)

This is a great article, Robert.

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author avatar Funom Makama
20th Feb 2012 (#)

wow, I love this piece to the fullest. I hope to be reading more articles on trying to make marriages work out fine, rather than reading articles on how to divorce fast and stuffs like that. You can check out a rather interesting series about Love, this particular one focuses on Love in Marriages

Cheers my friend!

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