Another very important thing you can do to improve your communication is to listen intently when your spouse is speaking to you. Resist the urge to butt in or cut your spouse off.
Now I know this is not easy to do, as we are often thinking of what to say next while we are still being spoken to. But you have to do this, because it is the honourable thing to do.
One strategy that may help you is to jot down the points your spouse is making while he/she is talking, so that you can respond to them one by one when it’s your turn to speak.
Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every one be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to get angry. (James 1:19.)
When you listen attentively to what your spouse is saying:
- You are honouring your spouse with a gift of ‘attention’.
- You are saying that you value your spouse’s opinion and concerns.
- You are telling your spouse that what he/she is saying is important to you.
- You will hear and see things that you would have missed (like your spouse’s body language, subliminal messages, tear drops, heart aches, cry for affirmation, etc. etc.)
One reason why this discipline of paying attention is so crucial, is because the words we speak is believed to account for less than 20% of our intended message. The remaining 80% of the message comes from our voice tone, body language, facial expressions, and so on.
If the percentages are accurate, you could miss close to 80% of your spouse’s intended message when you are not paying attention. That’s why you can’t continue to watch the television or be fiddling with your phone when your spouse is trying to communicate with you.
Courtesy demands that you switch things off when it’s time to talk.
If you train yourself to pay attention to your spouse consistently, you would not only become better at communicating, but you would even find that you become a better judge of character too.
In addition, you would be well on your way to cracking the difficult but uplifting puzzle of marriage harmony.
Communication starts when you are paying attention, it ends when you are not
– Tony Peters
...To be continued next week.
Extracts from KEYS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE...
Written by Pastor Tony Peters.