The funny thing is that when children are small, or at least this goes for mine, if you don’t actively listen to them, they call you out on it. If I don’t give me children my full attention, or am spacing out on the, they will ALWAYS call me out on it. Additionally, if I don’t listen they will keep nagging me. If I don’t do what they ask they will whine until I reply, and so I need to listen. Instinctively, actively listening to my kids has always just been more natural to me. But it has opened my eyes to how much I need to improve with it towards my husband, and also how much worse we are at calling each other out on that as adults.
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Like many couples my husband and I love each other with passion, but also disagree with each other with equal amounts of said passion. Most of our disagreements, arguments, fights come from lack of communication. Sometimes the communicator is not sensitive but more often one of us says one thing, and the other misunderstands and gets hurt, or takes it the wrong way. Many times one of us quickly gets hurt and we bicker, but what comes from that is a long, deep and meaningful conversation.
My husband often jokes that I have to translate what he says to other people so they won’t get offended by his Israeli/French expression, and then he wonders why I can’t translate it for myself, and instead if get offended all the time.
What I realized is that one reason that I get offended is because I am not actively listening to him. I listen with judgment, I listen already thinking about how I would like to respond.
My husband likes to think out loud. He has many monologues that begin one place, have a few stops along the way and then end up in a completely different destination. and many times he will begin to speak about something and then if I let him continue to speak and speak often where he gets to is a great place, and usually we will agree, if I let him. The problem is that in the beginning I don’t usually agree with him and time after time I cut him off with his first thought, or I offer my opinion and/or advice. It’s a vicious cycle.
Until the other day, the other day I mustered up the self-control to just listen to his dialogue. To not interrupt, to keep a neutral look on my face and truly try my very best to just listen to him. And the results were incredible.
What happened was that not only did it not lead to an argument, I actually saw how much I agreed with him and what he was trying to communicate. The understood the importance of allowing a person to communicate without judgement because while in the beginning it seemed like we wouldn’t agree, by the end I understood how good he is, how much we were actually on the same page. How I didn’t need to interrupt, intervene or give my opinion, because by not saying it I saw how much we actually were totally on the same page. And by not giving it and allowing for him to get there anyway we build trust, love, and a feeling of safety with each other which can only lead to a deeper relationship.