“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” Ralph Nichols
From that quote you probably already know where I am going with this. Today’s topic is about listening. Not about the way you listen now, but the way that you could be listening to your spouse or love.
To what extent do you actually listen to your love? Do you know their hopes and fears? Do you know their dreams? When you were first dating, did you hang on their every word? You couldn’t wait to see them? Now, somehow has it all gotten a little stale? Ah, effective relationship communications to the rescue. Listening is king.
In the Beginning
Yes, it is only natural, we can’t stay in the idyllic courtship phase forever, we know so much more now. All the blanks have been filled in. But more importantly, the romance does not need to degrade to simply tolerating your love. It can be so much better than that. Your happiness is at stake here.
So what to do?
* Maybe you can change your perspective. New people meet your mate – what do they think? Have you lost your admiration for what attracted you to them in the first place? Then do what it takes to recognize their qualities – one step at a time.
* Be grateful. What would your life be like without them? Look for insights into appreciation on this path. There must be some good things even in the toughest of times; find one a day to appreciate.
* Maybe you just need some space. You can give them space – or you can take your own space. Take a day off and go away – have some fun. Clean the slate to start anew. Choose to come back into the relationship with a fresh mindset.
* Maybe you need time together for fun. If you are both overburdened, cut things from your schedule. Plan a fun outing together – keep it light. Make it something that you will both enjoy.
* Maybe you need to walk a mile in their shoes. What are they thinking? What do they worry about? This might lend insights into why they do what they do.
* Maybe you need to have a solid relationship conversation – a gentle one, a loving one. Talk about how you feel about one particular issue in a quiet, loving, vulnerable way. This is a no nagging zone. Talk about your expectations. Talk about their expectations. I bet there is some common ground to be found.
Just Get Started
Do whatever you need to do to begin to appreciate your spouse. Do whatever you need to do to begin to listen to your spouse. Even if you are not having relationship problems now, you can improve your relationship by listening. By active listening.
Active listening means that you focus your attention entirely on what they are saying as they are saying it - and not on what you are going to say next. You keep on their topic – you amplify their topic, you ask them questions about their topic. You are curious and very interested in their topic. It is a whole new way of conversing. It takes a little practice – but it pays big dividends. You will be a lot happier. You will have a healthier relationship. It could save your marriage.
Now is a good time to start. You can improve your relationship. You can have them bouncing back to you.
Just Say No to the Status Quo TM
Donna Marie Thompson, PhD is an author, speaker, and coach who focuses on personal growth, resilience, happiness, joy, hope, and faith. Her key message is that you can overcome obstacles, find your true passion, energize your life, and live your dream.
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