So many of the couples that come to me for relationship coaching have a dis-ease… it’s called: audioapathy.
Audioapathy is a word I coined to describe the condition often experienced when partners become apathetic about listening when their partner talks with them. It is a dreaded dis-ease that can poison your relationship. Although it appears that men are more affected than women, some women also get it.
Ineffective communication can make us sad, resentful, upset, angry and more.
It’s important to approach difficult conversations with a spirit of understanding. For your partner to respect your feelings and needs, you need to feel safe to share your true feelings with them. If you don’t things usually get worse.
When your partner talks with you, do you think they feel heard? Do they have your full attention? Knowing how your conversations have gone in the past, do they already have an idea about how you will react before they even speak? This can cause you to become isolated from one another. Can you imagine how this causes them feel? When you are not listened to, remember how it caused you to feel? It can cause you both to drift apart. If your not listening causes them to shut down you have something that you need to do about that.
“Effective communication – especially in times of conflict – calls for a focused dedication and repetitious practice. It calls for honest self-evaluation, humility, a sense of fair play, and a willingness to change according to the needs of the relationship. And it takes (at least) two.” ~ Thom Rutledge, LCSW
It takes two people – both working on the relationship – together – to make it something of value.
The secret to communicating effectively with your partner is listening! Many of us are poor listeners. We lose interest as soon as out partner begins to talk about something that has been a concern or that has caused conflict in the past. We find ourselves dipping into our bag of tricks and using anything to avoid that conversation and it’s usually begins by not listening.
“According to the University of Missouri, it takes 25 percent of our mental capacity to hear what someone is saying, leaving the other 75 percent to wander wherever it wants. However, discipline and active engagement in the conversation can significantly improve your listening skills.” ~ Lily Obeck
Listening can help you bridge the communication gap. Not listening usually leads to misunderstanding, frustration, irritation, hurt feelings and more conflict. It can cause your partner to shut down completely. Hearing what they are saying is a physical ability while listening is a skill. Listening skills allow one to make sense of and understand what your partner is saying.
The next time your partner wants to talk, stop whatever you are doing – turn off the TV and your cell phone – and make time to listen. It shows interest in the one you love. Don’t interrupt. Avoid distractions. Maintain eye contact. Nod your head. Never challenge your partner’s assumptions. Listening demonstrates respect. Listen with the intention of really hearing what they are saying. Be patient and understanding. This kind of active listening ensures that you are truly listening to the words that are being spoken.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Simply keep your mouth shut. Not only will they be more willing to talk to you, but also you will discover that you are being more interested in what they have to say. You will also find that you will both become more interested in talking about the things that really matter.
They are not always right but neither are you. When you listen it’s easier to understand why they feel the way they do. Listen carefully. Digest what was said and perhaps take a brief time-out to think about how you will respond. Effective communication is not about you getting YOUR thoughts and feelings across when THEY are talking.
Yes, communication seems to always be at the top of the list of relationship problems. Bad communication is at the root of many serious marital problems, and is one of the leading causes of divorce. Being apathetic about listening is the nail in the coffin.
Sometimes it’s wise to enlist the help of a third party to help you get a clear perspective of what is really going on. Never be afraid to seek help.
So… again, the secret to communicating effectively with your partner is listening! Really listening!
BONUS Article: #1 Solution to Communication…
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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