Enhancing Communication Between Couples Through Listening Skills

About one in two marriages ends in a divorce these days. We are all too familiar with the various problems that can lead to a breakup. Arguments can begin at sunrise and not stop until after sunset. This kind of fragile relationship is like a time bomb ready to explode at any time. Some couples may keep it all inside to avoid the confrontation, but that doesn’t make the relationship any healthier. Either way, it is a no-win situation. The romance and dreams these couples once built together vanish into obscurity.

Good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage. Many marriages could be saved if spouses improved the ways they communicate with each other. But how can they improve those skills without first understanding what they are? Communication is an art; it is a skill that needs to be learnt. 

The first step in enhancing communication between husbands and wives is to first understand why people behave the way they do. The reasons for this are enshrined in a number of factors. These factors centre on childhood backgrounds and environment.  

As children, we go through experiences, good and bad, that ultimately affect how we communicate in the future. If, for example, you grew up in a household with an angry parent that everyone constantly tried to avoid or soothe, you will likely carry this attitude into adulthood and when confrontation arises, whether real or perceived, you will either try to calm the situation or run from it. If your spouse says something you perceive to be heated, you will immediately revert back to this childhood memory and in turn, face your mate with your learned response. You will probably do whatever you can to avoid the subject and if your spouse, for instance, comes from a family where everyone accepts anger as a simple outpouring of emotion and nothing more, then the two of you may clash making resolution of issues a regular challenge.

Good understating of the reason illustrated above will motivate you to acquire good communication skills. And what exactly are these skills? They can be summed up in one word – listening skill. As we know that the essence of communication is to be understood, we should also bear in mind that communication is a two way process. The much you want to be understood, is the same way the other person wants to be understood too. 

For a balance to be stroke, couples must learn how, and when to listen to each other. We must not always try to empty our inside (hurt, displeasure, feelings etc). We should also recognize that the party has something to say. Ignoring this fact would amount to selfishness. Selfishness can stab a marriage badly. For husbands and wives to listen effectively, they would need to cultivate listening skills. 

Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily becomes frustrated or irritated. The following are techniques that can help us listen attentively.

  • ·         Stop talking, just listen
  • ·         Prepare yourself to listen – relax, focus on the speaker and put other things out of mind
  • ·         Put the speaker at ease – help him to feel free to speak
  • ·         Remove distractions – focus on what is being said: don’t doodle, shuffle papers, look out the window, pick your fingernails or similar
  • ·         Empathize – try to understand the other person’s point of view
  • ·         Be patient
  • ·         Wait and watch for non-verbal communications – body languages.


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