My husband and I did not enter marriage as great listeners or with amazingly refined listening skills. We were young and really not all that aware of how important listening was to our marriage.
I would go on in those early days of marriage to get my Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, where I was “taught” how to be a “professional listener.” But even after learning everything that the books had to say about how to listen well, I still stunk at it when emotions were heightened, stress was swirling, and/or I felt attacked.
[bctt tweet=”It took a LOT of years to learn how to listen well to my spouse. #listeningishard” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
And even with 30 years of marriage behind us, my husband and I still find ourselves wobbly when those three conditions are in the mix. So I try to keep in mind . . .
4 Important Ways Listening Draws My Mate to Me.
1. Listening reminds my mate that I am for him/her.
When I listen to my spouse, I communicate to him that his feelings matter to me and that I am there for him in his struggle. If I’m listening well, I’m putting aside my own agenda, so that I can enter my spouse’s world and get in touch with his feelings. That helps him to feel he is not alone and lightens the load he is carrying.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~Galatians 6:2
[bctt tweet=”Listening intently is like carrying your mate\’s burden. Find out what it reminds them of!” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
2. Listening removes or lessens the “issue” that looms large in harsh moments of life.
When I listen to my husband, I aid him in deescalating his feelings in that difficult moment. He gains more perspective by being able to talk out his feelings.
It’s as if the issue is like a huge jumble of Christmas lights that I help my husband to unwind and untangle. Then he can see over them to me, his caring spouse, on the other side. That almost always endears my husband to me. Especially when I don’t ask him to, then, put those Christmas lights up on our house! 😉
3. Listening increases my spouse’s feeling of closeness to me.
Whenever I do something with my spouse—especially when it is helpful to him or sacrificial for him—he feels loved and closer to me. Listening can be that magnet that draws my mate to me and over time can be the glue that binds us together, especially when “storms” come to call on us in life and marriage.
This is especially true when it comes to work-related stressors for our mates. For example, there are just some things my husband can’t talk over with his boss or coworkers, but he can find safety, perspective and comfort with me!
4. Listening demonstrates respect for my spouse, especially in times of conflict.
Like I said above, being able to listen well in times of conflict or stress is really, REALLY hard, but so worth it! I find it helpful to pray (in my head) whenever I’m struggling to separate myself from the harsh things my spouse may be saying to me or about my part in something. After God has calmed my spirit, I can stay respectfully engaged with what my husband is saying, avoid interrupting him, as well as finding the courage to ask him to share more about his feelings.
Whenever I’ve been able to do this, my husband has slowly but surely calmed down in that heated moment. He feels my respect coming through my listening heart and realizes he was misunderstanding me or letting his own fears and worries push his buttons. Very often he will thank me soon after for being patient with him during that rough and messy moment.
[bctt tweet=”Win your mate’s heart one listening encounter at a time. #4wayslisteninghelps” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
If you’ve never heard me speak before and live in the Edwardsville, Illinois area, I’m sharing a brief testimony about the early years of my marriage, when my marriage was at its messiest and would love to have you join me. I’ll be at Metro Community Church, Monday, Sept. 25th from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the upstairs auditorium (Click here for map).
Also, my husband and I will be leading another Stronger Marriage Workshop on this very topic—”How to Really Listen.” This too will be held at Metro (click here for map), and is on Friday, Oct. 6th from 7 to 9 p.m. in the upstairs auditorium. This workshop is free, but space is limited, so register soon to ensure your spot! (To register: click here to go to Metro’s website, then go to “Connect” and scroll down to “Stronger Marriage Workshop” where there is a link that allows you to register as a guest.)
What is another way listening has helped draw your mate toward you?
What hinders you from offering this gift to your mate?
Next weekend, I’ll be sharing yet another Confessions of a Messy Mrs. video with wives confessing one bad habit they have in marriage! You won’t want to miss it!
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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