4 Ways Listening Draws My Mate to Me


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 MondayKingdom BloggersLiterary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdayPurposeful FaithTell His StoryRecharge WednesdayPorch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies WednesdaySitting Among FriendsDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth Faith and Friends Faith on Fire FridayFresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday


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15 responses to “4 Ways Listening Draws My Mate to Me”

  1. Listening when you want to get your own feelings or words out isn’t easy, is it? But it is so important. Thank you for this reminder!


    1. No, ma’am! It sure isn’t easy in those kinds of moments, Elizabeth. It’s like holding back a dam of rushing water. We want our thoughts and feelings to be released and not to wait on our mate’s to release theirs. And yes, yes, yes! It is SO very important to our marriages and spouse’s. God uses it to connect us in ways like almost nothing else can! 😉


  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Beth. I love the way you categorize the listening process, and give personal examples. Your leadership here is so important to so many!

    I’ve found that asking questions and really listening for the answer can illuminate something completely apart from the initial topic. For example, yesterday I asked barbara if she had watched cartoons as a child. That led to a description of her childhood, one that was warm and loving but very structured. She grew up with predictability, and I could see behind her words that one of the hardest things about being a caregiver is indeed the UN-predictability of the situation. So now I understand, just a bit better when she’s impatient and cross.

    The other side of the same coin lies in learning NOT to be listened-to. She doesn’t want to hear what ot her is motivational posturing. My saying “It could be worse…” is as a red flag to an irritated bull. While good cheer and optimism are, I hope, a part of me, I have to understand that for some it’s yet another canned-Zen-moment.



    1. Thank you for the encouraging words, Andrew. As always I love seeing you here and hearing your thoughts on what I’ve shared. And I also appreciate the comment about my leadership. I’ve kind of doubted my usefulness lately, but feel as if that was Satan whispering in my ear in order to discourage me. So I’m determined not going to LISTEN to him anymore! ha!

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly about asking good questions of our mates. They need and desire that invitation. And it sounds like you had one of those monumental listening moments with Barbara! I hope you write on that in your space sometime. What a beautiful and bonding illustration that is for the power of listening well.

      Yes, we can never really know what the other’s motivation is, so it’s always best to just listen instead of offering where we think “we” or our situation is. I know you have this incredible ability to persevere in your trials because of your optimism and ability to let go, but we can’t impose that on others–as you know well! I’m certain that Barbara will fully understand that someday, but for now, it is too hard for her to hear and see. Thank you for always being so humble, real and open. You inspire us all to surpass the ordinary and find the extraordinary in every moment.


  3. I’d like to say I’m a good listener until one of my sons starts sharing with me and then my inner mom kicks in. It has been a new learning curve for sure. As I read your words I wish that my one DIL would heed your advice about listening. For now I just pray as the two of them learn what it looks like to go through the messiness.


    1. It’s so great to see you in this space, Mary! I’ve missed you but know that you have been so busy with your move to a new home.

      And I love what you’ve shared about your challenges with your son. It is hard to really listen well to ANY family member–not just our spouses. So you bring up a good point that I relate to soooo very well! My inner mom kicks in far too often with my young adult sons and DIL. They only want to be related to like they are adults and not our children. That’s a hard “gig” to let go of, but I’m working on it like it sounds you are too, my friend!


  4. I have such a tendency to think I know what my husband is going to say. Ack. He pauses, and I want to finish the sentence — but I’m not always right, and I want to give him the respect and consideration of listening well. Thanks for this encouragement, Beth.


    1. Yeah, I think you are not alone in that tendency, Michele. In fact, I’ve been working on my next Confessions of a Messy Mrs video with the question about one bad habit the women have in their marriages and several of them said something along the same line as what you’ve said. When we live with someone for years and years, we tend to know what our mates will say! Ha! But you are right. We aren’t always right and then our mates feel dismissed or disrespected. Gotta put our efforts into listening instead of “figuring out!” 😉


  5. Beth, this is such good information, especially about listening during conflict. Praying for you as you prepare to speak tonight!


  6. Great words of wisdom here. Your insights were convicting and encouraging.

    I tend to “listen” but I’m not hearing what my husband is actually saying, but I am hearing a negative point that he isn’t even conveying and my husband tends to do the same.

    By using the insights you shared, It makes listening intentional and purposeful.

    Thanks for sharing.


  7. Was just reading this week about being emotionally available to my husband…REALLY being there and listening. Good info!


  8. After so many years of marriage, it baffles me how there is still much to learn, and the skill of listening is a big one! Gratefu for this encouragement and for the benefits behind sharpening the skill:)


  9. As we listen, it can be really helpful to repeat back what our spouse says, and add, ‘is that what you said?” that allows for clarification since we all know that we can misinterpret meaning even when we’ve listened to the words. thanks for these tips!


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