Constantly distracted. The football game just started. The burgers are on the grill. Your mind is wandering. Now your wife is staring at you waiting for your response. Your mind snaps back into focus, “Say something quick before she finds out you weren’t listening!” But it’s too late and now your wife is frustrated that you haven’t been listening to her.
My mind loves to wander. I reflect on my day. I reflect on the study I engaged in for our upcoming Bible class. I reflect on the counseling strategies I’ll need to polish for my next session, and soon I find that I have accidentally disengaged from another conversation with my wife. Listening takes intentional focus. Listening necessarily includes understanding in its definition. A husband cannot consider his listening sufficient if he only hears the words that his wife is saying. What can husbands and wives do to enhance their listening skills to show stronger love toward their spouse?
- Ask short clarifying questions so that you can picture what is happening in your mind.
- Appropriate use of verbal affirmation is necessary for your spouse to feel heard. Don’t constantly interrupt them with “yeah” “ok” “uh-huh.” That will come across as ingenuine.
- Use open-ended questions to continue exploring your spouses experience. Show interest in understanding their full experience. Make mention of emotions that you would have felt. All of this builds a bridge of understanding.
Most of our mistakes comes from wanting to offer a solution to the issue, or just not taking the time explore our spouse’s experience. Show your spouse you care. Listen.
Youth, Family Life, and Counseling Minister