One of the most critical elements contributing to relational success is developing your skill of listening. Ninety percent of all couples filing for divorce report that they do not feel their partner listens to them. If you don't listen, you can't communicate, and if you can't communicate, a relationship begins to get toxic and poison the love that was once so real. That is why one of our marriage saving tip 8 is to remember the importance of listening.
Marriage saving Tip 8: Pay careful attention and Listen
Like gardens, happy, healthy relationships must be attended. In order to attend something, the first requirement is showing up, showing up emotionally, as well as physically. We must not only show up, but we must commit to being an active participant, willing to participate in the relationship full out. Relationships need attention. Giving our attention to someone makes them feel valuable, precious and important. We must pay attention to a relationship the way we would to a garden. We must tend it, till it, water it, weed it, harvest it and celebrate its fruit. Paying attention will be the best investment we make in the name of love. You appreciate what you pay for, so pay a great price, and you will receive a great reward. Paying attention will create the richness in your relationships that you have always dreamed of.
Not only pay attention to your partner, but be willing to share your thoughts about your life. What are you thoughts about current events, television shows, movies? What are your hopes, your dreams, your concerns? Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.
As I stated in chapter seven of this book, people who are lost in a sense of entitlement are terrible listeners. They usually believe that their views are right and they do not need further input. They don’t want to understand, they want to be understood. They believe that their way is the right way, the only way, and listening is a skill that the other person, to whom they are complaining, or worse chastising, needs to learn.
Remember that listening is a necessary and critical component of emotional intelligence. Great relationships require great listening skills. As you develop your emotional intelligence, you strengthen your ability to listen by understanding that what someone else is feeling or experiencing has value. Listening requires that you develop the desire, respect, and courtesy to make ourselves sit still and pay careful attention.
If you don’t learn to listen, you will miss so much beauty, color, and passion in your relationships. Do not listen in order to confirm what you already think, or to pick up ammunition in your efforts to make your partner, wrong, listen so that you can really understand what your partner is thinking and feeling and try to put yourself in their place.