"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." Stephen R. Covey
If you take the time to hear what you partner has to say, then you will be building the foundation for a solid relationship. Listening also involves clearing your mind and staying focused on what your partner has to say. Here are five tips to help you be a better listener:
- Listen with empathy. It can be easy to judge or criticize your partner when they are talking about their day. If they had a tough day at the office, just stop and listen. Don't say something like, 'Well, you know how moody you can be.' This will make your partner feel alone and like you don't care about them.
- Don't side with the enemy. When your partner is talking about their enemy at the office or in their family, be careful. This is the perfect time to hone in on your listening skills. Stay away from saying things like, 'It was probably your fault.' This will make your partner feel isolated and it will make them think you are taking the side of their enemy.
- Stay engaged. This is a time where you silence the phone and shut all gadgets off. Your body language also plays a big part in listening. Don't look away. Your partner will feel you aren't interested in what they have to say.
- Ask questions. This does not mean you interrupt your partner. Ask open-ended questions, this will keep the conversation flowing. Ask your partner how they feel about the situation? People will perk up when you ask questions and listen to their responses. When you take an active interest in your partner, they will return the favor.
- Don't focus on a solution. Dr. Gottman's research has found that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. What does this mean? Learn to have a dialogue with your partner without hurting your partner. Work on a compromise that works for both of you in the relationship.