In any successful enterprise, it is imperative that plans and strategies be periodically reviewed to ensure that goals set are being achieved. In marriage, it is no different. For achievable goals, personal or family (agreed on by both partners) to be realized, they should be revisited often to accommodate necessary adjustments. It is of utmost importance then that the lines of communications be kept open to facilitate clear and honest discussions/evaluation.
Today, we want to look at our listening skills. How well have you (not your partner) improved your listening skills? Keep this in mind. Poor listening habits stifle while proper listening habits encourage communication.
So remember these principles regarding listening:
- Focus on the message content and not on the method of delivery.
- Ask for clarification of valid points.
- Don’t try to defend incorrect accusations.
- Focus on questions not indications.
- Seek to understand what your partner is saying not on being judgmental.
It is so important that you are listening with the attitude that says your partner’s comments are top priority; therefore do not speak while your partner is speaking (except to seek clarification). Give your undivided attention. Ask questions and paraphrase your understanding to get the meaning of the message being conveyed. The use of “I” statements is recommended. (e.g., I understand you to be saying…) Avoid “you” statements. Listen with the attitude that God is sovereign and could be saying something to you through your partner and be ready to hear from God. Remember, if many things are said which you know, you have lost nothing but if one thing were said that you never knew, you would have gained. Listen in the frame of mind that your partner is not your enemy and watch your body language for communication is not only verbal. It is also non-verbal.