The Value of a “Listening Ear” in Marriage

Read this: There is an actual ad in a Kansas newspaper that reads “I will listen to you talk for thirty minutes without comment for $5.” And your guess is as good as mine, that ten to twenty people called that advert everyday. Imagine the extent of what people are willing to do to get someone to listen to them!

There is an advice from Paul Tournier, a Swiss psychiatrist, to husbands and wives to “be preoccupied with listening in your marriage.” In the book of James it says that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..” But the sad fact is this, we just about do the exact opposite. We are slow to listen, quick to speak and even quicker to become angry.

Allow me first to identify the different forms of poor listening habits:

1. Pseudo-listening. Husbands are usually guilty of this. I should know. I can very well tell, when dear hubby is zoning out on me in our conversations.

2. Selective listening. This kind of listening manifests itself especially during arguments. One spouse intentionally takes words from the other’s mouth and take them against him or her. This also happens when you have things in mind  while your spouse speaks, and you go on getting the gist of what your spouse is talking about, leaving very important things that your spouse really wants to say. The key really here is to focus. Decide to leave the things in your mind for later and choose to indulge your husband or wife as you converse.

3. Protective listening. This happens when the listener is not interested in listening at all. He or she just might get to the core and ask point blank what the bottom line is. A protective listener just refuses to listen.

4. Surface listening. Another type of selective listening. Concentrating more on just enough to get by with the conversation, but not really enough to reach out to your spouse.

It does take time to learn the skill of listening. The bottom line is good listeners zero in on what the other person is saying. Give your spouse that undivided attention that he or she deserves. 🙂

The Value of a “Listening Ear” in Marriage
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