How to get your spouse to listen to you!
your relationship actually acting like an anchor and pulling you down deep into the despair of fighting and arguing, and the depths of the sea, and actually drowning in your emotions and feeling unloved and unconcerned. Too often I find that this is a painful cycle that too many couples get into, where they’re fighting all the time, they’re not getting along, that nothing they do seems to work, and they’re constantly frustrated, and tuning each other out. It just kind of feels like their relationship is actually slipping away and they don’t know what to do to make it better.
Too often this is what kind of leads into divorce. If you can catch this before it gets too far, there is hope. Well, there’s still hope even if you’re on the verge of divorce. There is hope that you can actually turn it around. I remember being there myself when my husband and I were frustrated and not getting along, and I had actually asked for a divorce. I can’t even say the word. I actually asked for a divorce and it was a really hard time. Our kids didn’t really know that I had asked for a divorce, but I’m sure that they could tell because we were not talking. We were distant. We were living in the same house, but we were kind of just like we were just roommates. I felt like we were so disconnected from one another, and I couldn’t talk to him about anything, and I didn’t know if I trusted him as far as my emotions, as far as loving me. I wasn’t sure if the love was actually still there and if it could actually come back.
This was so frustrating to me because I didn’t want a divorce, because I had lived through my parents getting divorced, and it actually was not that much fun, but I didn’t want my kids to go through that. What I found is that I actually had to change myself in the way that I was viewing and treating my husband in order to save our marriage. A couple things that I did to stop that painful cycle of fighting, and arguing, and bickering so much is we actually had to stop letting the past suck the life out of us. I kept, every time we’d get in an argument, I’d be like, “Well, remember this, and remember that,” and even though it was five years ago, even though it was six years ago, even though it was a couple months ago, that conversation should’ve been over and done. At least to my husband it was, but to me it was still real, and I was still feeling those emotions, and I was still hurt, and I was still angry, and I just couldn’t let go.
As we started working through this, and getting some counseling, and trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t work. The counseling wasn’t working. All we were doing is fighting more and fighting about why we were going to counseling, so we decided to actually become better listeners. The number one thing that helped us is to become a better listener to your spouse. Now, that means that you are actually going to listen to what your spouse is saying. We talk about communication all the time. You need to have communication, and women want communication, and we want to talk, and we want to be heard, but the problem is, is that you’re not actually listening to each other.
Yes, you can talk. You’re talking too much, especially women. We are talking too much. We need to actually listen. Men, you need to listen to your spouse. I actually want you to pay attention to what you’re doing. I want you to look into each other’s eyes when you’re communicating. I want you to not be busy doing other things. Turn off the computer. Get away from the TV. Get away from other distractions. Stop texting. When you’re having communication, I want you to listen. The best way to listen is to not be getting ready for the next thing that you’re going to say.
In a communication and good communication, there is conversation that goes back and forth, and back and forth, and that’s normal everyday conversation. What was missing is that because I was getting so ready to come back with what I was going to say in the conversation that I wasn’t listening to what he was saying. A good listener is not getting ready for their response when the other person takes a breath, but that they’re actually listening and concentrating on what is being said and what is being communicated back and forth.
In this conversation, you’re listening deeply and looking at each other, then the next step is you’re going to actually repeat back what you heard said and what you understand, because we all know that men and women, we just think differently and there’s no way you can get around that, but what I found is that just because I say something and the way he interprets it is not the same, and I do the same thing. He’ll say something and he’ll think it’s all done, and I’m like, “But, but, but, wait.” We have to take that time to actually communicate back and forth and be understood for what is being communicated, so you’re going to listen, become a good listener. You’re going to repeat back what was said and what you understand to have said, and then the third part is to choose your words wisely.
Do not criticize. Do not blame. Use I statements. Talk about how you personally feel, and don’t project those feelings onto your spouse. Don’t project those feelings into the conversation. If they are truly how you feel, then say, “This is how I feel when this happens.” Then keep that as an I statement and feeling about you yourself and communicate that. The biggest thing is I want you to actually work on this often. This is not something that you do once a month or once a year. It’s not something that you just do in counseling. This is something that you need to do often. You need to be having these types of conversations with your spouse often, especially as women. We really need to feel heard and understood in order to feel loved. Men, if you can do this for your wife it will make a huge impact in her emotional love full tank. This is Jodi Harman of Marriage Makeover, and stay tuned for more. Make sure that you like our YouTube page here. Stay connected on Instagram and Facebook, and you can find more at marriagemakeovertv.com.