We all know about the importance of listening in marriage – and yet we still don’t listen when we should!
When we intellectually know something is both necessary and important, but we still choose to not pay much attention to it, that means there’s not enough perceived benefit to do it differently.
That’s human nature. Doing something because we “should” do it rarely works.
In our marriages, here’s what that looks like:
We know we “should” listen better to our partners … but we don’t.
It’s just easier to talk over our partners, tune them out or ignore what they’re trying to express if it doesn’t align with what we want to hear in that particular moment.
The distance between the partners widens over the course of years until one partner has one foot out the door … or worse.
Here’s an example:
I spoke with a woman recently who had placed 400 calls to her emotional affair partner in another state. Her husband was shocked until she explained how each one of those calls was a missed opportunity:
- She came to her husband when her father died.
- She came to her husband when their teenage daughter was in, what she felt, was a destructive relationship.
- She came to her husband when she wanted to go back to study to follow her dreams.
The list goes on and although the topics changed, her husband wasn’t interested.
Now the other partner is motivated. He wants to listen to her, stay up late talking to her, hang on her every word.
Now it might just be too late to save the marriage.
I’ve seen it at least a thousand times over my professional life.
Why Listen? Because it Works!
Don’t listen because it’s the good, right and noble thing to do.
Don’t listen to your partner because every research study tells you that your marriage is at risk if you don’t.
Don’t do it because you “should”. Should is never compelling enough.
Instead, here’s how getting better at listening to your partner, is of great benefit:
- When you listen, you learn something about your partner.
- When you ignore or speak over them, you learn nothing.
- When you listen to your partner, you learn what’s important to him or her and what really matters to them.
- It gives you the opportunity to be their “go-to” person.
- It creates deeper connection and understanding.
Don’t do it because you should.
Do it because it’s the smart thing to do if you want your marriage to last and feel good.
Do it because it works.
The alternative is separation and divorce!
Author: Merryl Gee, BSocWk, AMHSW, MAASW, MACSW, MANZMHA, MPACFA.
Merryl Gee is a psychotherapist working from a strengths-based, person-centred framework. With over 30 years’ experience, she has a particular interest people who have experienced trauma such as sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychotherapist Merryl Gee try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129 or Vision Psychology Wishart on (07) 3088 5422 .