New Loveseat

Listening Styles

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!


  • Joyce Day

    This is actually bigger than just listening. Each of us has a communication style. Unfortunately most of us are oblivious or insensitive to our spouses style. We need to be observant. Bob was telling me about a friends experience purchasing a truck. The story went on forever. I could feel my eyes rolling back in my head. I tried to ask questions to clarify and he doesn’t like that. For him it was a great story. For me it was painful. I have learned that BOTH of you have to focus on improving communication with the intent of improving your relationship or it gets frustrating.

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