How well do you listen to your spouse? How well does he/she listen to you?
When working with couples on communication, one thing that comes up a lot is frustration around not feeling heard. I'm not only referring to not listening to each other - but also not hearing each other. People can think they've heard each other but a simple misunderstanding or incorrect assumption can totally derail the communication process.
One way to be sure you and your partner are truly hearing each other, especially when engaging in more difficult conversations, is to check that you've heard the message correctly. "So if I have this right, what you're saying is...." This is an excellent way to stop any problems associated with getting the original message wrong - and spinning off in an unhelpful direction as a result of the mistake.
Communication Challenge: The next time you and your spouse have a serious discussion, slow down the process and practice truly hearing each other. Clarify what the other has said. Be sure you have it correctly and don't have an emotional reaction based on a fallacy.
Lisa Brookes Kift is a Marriage and Family Therapist and author of The Marriage Refresher Course Workbook for Couples, a cost effective, do-it-yourself, therapist-guided alternative to couples counseling. Follow Lisa on Twitter or Facebook.
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