Q: My husband and I are both
bright, articulate people but seem to have a great deal of difficulty
communicating with each other. I
generally feel that he doesn’t hear a word I say and is just waiting for me to
pause so he can jump in with his point of view. How can I get him to listen to me?
heard and understood is an essential part of a healthy, intimate
relationship. The listening is as
important as the talking when it comes to effective communication.
I specialize in working with couples
and therefore see many who are dealing with such problems. One of the most common pitfalls I see is the
faulty assumption that listening isn’t as important as “doing something.” In reality, many times being listened to is exactly what the other partner is desperately asking for
The following is a quote
that underscores the importance of listening.
I ask you to listen to me and you start giving me advice, you have not done
what I asked.
I ask you to listen to me, and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that
way, you are trampling on my feelings.
I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my
problems, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
- Listen! All I asked was that you listen, not talk or
do – just hear me.
is cheap; 50 cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same
I can do for myself. I am not
discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to
my fear and inadequacy.
when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how
irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about this
business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.
when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when we
understand what’s behind them.
that’s why prayer works, sometimes, for some people – because God is mute, and
he/she doesn’t give advice or try to fix things.
just listen and let you work it out for yourself. So please listen and just hear me.
if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn and I will listen to you.