Communication In A Relationship
Listening with interest to what your partner is saying is one of the elements that we think is important in a relationship. It helps us feel respected, honored, important and even cherished. Ignoring what they are saying shows a lack of respect and it says a lot about the state of a relationship. If you love someone you should listen to them with undivided attention and interest, which is listening from love.
So, what is “listening from love?”
“Listening from love” is listening with total attention to someone and with the intention of creating a deeper connection and to truly understand them.
When you do speak, take the time and have the courage to speak your truth.
Very often people think that if they truly listen with the intention to understand someone that they have agree with them. We think, this is not the case.
We agree with author Stephen Covey in his book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, when he says we should “seek first to understand , then be understood.”
Listen from love is not judging. It’s listening –truly listening to someone and suspending our fear, doubt, judgment and other defense mechanisms that prevent us from creating deeper connections of the heart.
One common complaint between partners is “you never listen to me.”
This was true for one couple that we know. What we found is that he was listening but he was too fearful to say what he was really thinking. As a result, his wife thought he was agreeing with her all along but in reality he had simply withdrawn emotionally. There was no conscious agreement between them because fear prevented him from revealing his true feelings. In this case, the real issue was not his lack of listening but rather his not feeling enough safety and trust in the relationship to be honest.
So, in order to “listen from love” more often here’s what we recommend…
- Whether you’re listening to someone on the phone or in person, give them your undivided attention. If you don’t have time to listen at that moment, arrange a time when you can truly listen and be fully present. This is a time to forget “multi-tasking”
- Stay in the present moment when you are listening. Don’t let your mind drift into thinking about things that happened in the past or what may happen in the future.
- Make agreements with the people who are closest to you that you will honor each other by listening when the other speaks. When you make and keep conscious agreements like this one a feeling of safety and trust grows between
- Make a conscious effort to avoid reacting defensively, even in your mind, if this is your pattern.
- When you do speak, take the time and have the courage to speak your truth.
Susie and Otto Collins are married, relationship coaches and authors of several books on relationships