There is no question about it. Knowing how to listen, truly listen, is the most important skill you will ever learn in a marriage, or for that matter, in any relationship. Below are 5 fundamental rules for listening:
- If your mouth is moving, you can’t really be listening. To truly listen to another person, you must stop talking.
- Listen with your mind, as well as your ears. Your mind has an agenda it wants you to stick with, but to really listen to someone, you have to set your agenda aside. Don’t worry, you won’t forget what you want to say. Be in the moment with the other person, and you can pick up your agenda when it’s your turn to talk.
- Listen with your heart. Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal. People are sending you messages all the time with their face, posture, tone, and energy field around them. Feel all of these messages with your heart rather than your mind.
- Nodding your head does not prove you are listening! You’ve got to prove you are listening by giving the person, in your own words, a little bit of what you hear them saying. “So, are you saying …,” “It sounds like …” are wonderful phrases to use to let the person know you are “getting” him or her.
- Do not give a solution without being asked for one! You can ask, “Would you like advice?” but most of the time you’ll hear the person say, “No, I just need to vent” or “I just need to talk.” Take your “fix-it” hat off and just follow the person’s train of thought and feeling. Letting him or her know you’re along for the ride is often good enough.
To learn more about how to communicate in an optimal way, click here.