Couples Communication

Good listening is called active listening, such as "What I'm hearing you say is…".

The listener absorbs, truly understands, and responds with empathy to what their partner is saying. This is a simple technique that will most likely help to quickly dial down tension, create good will and clear the way for a compromise, when there is a disagreement. Being heard means that your partner values your feelings and thoughts even if there is disagreement.

Simply listening and then ignoring your partners statement, or not even acknowledging what they have said, can create feelings of anger and sadness.

Components of Active Listening:

1. Express verbal and nonverbal interest in what the other person is saying by paraphrasing and asking them to elaborate.

2. Begin by allowing your partner to speak without interruption.

3. While listening put judgement aside, attend to partners feelings regardless of our perception or evaluation of them.

4. Do not create a rebuttal while your partner is talking, this happens when your focus shifts from what partner is saying to how you are going to respond before listening has ended.

5. Use "I" statements instead of you statements. "You" statements make people feel you are accusing them, and they will defend themselves. I statements keep the focus on your own behavior.

Possible responses:

1."I feel the same way"

2."I understand where you are coming from", giving cues to convey you are listening like "I see", "Yes" "ok"

3. Repeat the last words your partner said,…."you are sick and tired of this"

4. Reflect back what you heard by paraphrasing…."I'm sensing that", "You seem to feel,"

5. Ask open ended questions…"Can you tell me more about this"

Every conversation is like an M&M candy, what is the chocolate center? What are they trying to tell you? Resist the urge to fill the silences with your words, let pauses be, so partner can calm down and see you are listening to them.

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