Listening Styles – Revisited

Listening Styles – Revisited

Greg and I were discussing what to post for a blog this week and ironically we found that he wasn’t fully listening to me while we were preparing.  We decided to revisit a post on Listening…

So, I had made an observation recently…

For “me” in my and Lisa’s relationship there is a ton of fuss coming from me about how I get listened to…

I often feel Lisa tends to be somewhere else mentally when I am pouring my heart out to her, sharing “intimate” details about the thoughts and feelings bottled up and reserved for her and her alone when it comes to my “sharing”.

(Yes, God “blessed” me yet again with the “female role” in this aspect of our marriage)

She seems mentally focused on her task at hand or the agenda that’s going on in her mind or she seems quick to sever my time on the floor to share her perspective right over the top of what I have to say, just honestly due to not “listening”.  Then, I am confused by her frustration when she will tell me that I just don’t listen to her.  At times she will ask me to run an errand, she will ask for; generic milk, name brand fabric softener, and the cheapest toothbrush to remove a spot.  I return with 2 out of 3 of the items she requested.  But, I also bought pizza, breakfast for next week, and ice cream.

And then I sing “don’t be sad, ‘cause two out of three ain’t bad”  And that can really hurt her feelings!

Recently after seeing Lisa get upset with the children over their poor listening, I was in disagreement with who, what, when, where and why she was upset at all.  So we talked, more than once, trying really hard to understand and empathize with one another while both of us were determined to gain from this conflict.

And then it dawned on me, for Lisa to feel “listened” to she has to see and believe that you caught the details first, and emotional content is secondary.  For me to feel “listened” to I have to see and believe that you caught the emotion first, and details are secondary.  I will have more than likely made up details to fill voids or exaggerated them to make my story more exciting, not lying, just embellishing for effect. I like to entertain you while you listen to me, which leaves me assuming the same of you when I listen back.  The crazy thing from my perspective is if I try to “test” her, she will recite every detail of what I told her and she nails it! Unfortunately including all my embellished exaggerated humor.

No wonder she is confused and frustrated about “details” when being listened to.

No wonder I am confused and frustrated about “emotions” when being listened to.

Now the last couple weeks Lisa and I have been listening much differently to one another. We are both putting in extra effort towards listening the way our spouse would listen, while at the same time continuing to listen the way we always have all while extending new grace in our new understanding of our “listening styles”.

Tell us about the listening styles of you and your spouse!

Is Anybody Listening?

Is Anybody Listening?

I recently discovered myself doing something I never wanted to do.  I have seen other couples do it to each other, I have practiced exercises on how to avoid doing it, but no matter how I prepared myself I still found myself doing it!

I asked my husband a question and didn’t wait for his full response before I moved on in our conversation.

When this happens to me in conversations with people I feel disrespected.  I will find myself wondering why they bothered to ask me the question in the first place.  I don’t want to do this to people in conversation, especially my husband, so it has me contemplating how well I really listen to him when he is talking to me.

At the beginning of relationships we tend to hang on each other’s every word and we listen to them with our full attention.

earWhat happened in between then and now?  I know sometimes the business of life gets in the way and my mind can be on other things, but in thinking it through, I made a choice.  I chose to make something else that was going on in my brain more important that what he had to say.  I might as well of had my cell phone on in front of me looking at it while he was talking (big pet peeve for me).

Another question this raised was “do I ask my husband something and then tell him his answer is wrong after he gives it to me?”

I have witnessed this happening with other couples and I will notice that a person who usually doesn’t say much will answer a question only to have their spouse interrupt to tell them they disagree or that they are wrong.  In these scenarios I will wonder “how can they be wrong?” if he was asked his opinion.  I am sure at some point in my marriage I have done this very thing to Greg and I think it is time for me to start paying closer attention to “how” I am listening to him.

I think we need to be careful how we communicate, listen to and validate what our spouse is saying.

In many marriages men will tend to get to a place where they will shut down conversationally.  Many wives can be heard requesting that they wish their husband would be more open with them and be more conversational.  This isn’t pretty, but I will end this blog with some hard questions we should ask ourselves.

Are we as spouses creating a lack of communication in our marriages because of how we listen?

Are we open and encouraging to our spouses answers and opinions even if they are not our own?

Have we contributed to a communication breakdown in our relationship?  If so, what can we do to repair it to its former glory?