Most of us are good at talking but we are not good at listening. Some of us are good at listening, but we listen to give personal interpretation of what we hear. Not everyone is good at listening patiently to understand the message passed before responding. Some are good at understanding but they are not good at responding wisely. This is just a simple picture of the different flaws and weaknesses of human beings and the problems they encounter in the art of communication.
We are not perfect, and will never be perfect. This is the reason we have to strive and improve on areas we are lagging behind. We can always develop and do better in the areas we seem to be quite deficient. Thus, when your weaknesses are being noticed and brought to your attention, you must be humble to accept it and strive to do better. You don’t have to feel bad about it. There is no doubt that God has given us several unique abilities. Nevertheless, these unique abilities may just be in certain areas of life, and we have the responsibility to develop and measure up in other areas.
Listening patiently to your partner to understand his or her point of view about a particular matter being discussed is very important for the success of every relationship. When someone is deficient in this area, it will give birth to several misunderstandings in the home. You will agree that misunderstandings are not healthy for any relationship. They can stir up so much strife and conflict that could even lead to separation if not properly handled and managed.
A good listener gives his whole attention to the person that is talking to him or her. He or she listens with a fixed gazed on the person taking to him or her. The facial expression of the person is important to a good listener. The gesticulation of the person is also important. The tone of the speaker is also very important to a good listener. A good listener gives all his or her attention to all these minor details, and these details help him or her to understand the speaker much better.
Most people have developed the habit of talking when the person talking to them is still talking. Some have the attitude of picking ambiguous expressions to criticize or counter when the person is still talking to them. Some are in the habit of just picking wrongly used words or expressions to paint a different conflicting idea from what the speaker was actually trying to say.
A good listener is not antagonistic when listening. A good listener is not critical when listening. A good listener does not look out for the pitfalls of the speaker in order to use them against him or her. A good listener always makes sure that he completely understands the speaker (sometimes, deliberately ignoring the pitfalls and wrong expressions of the speaker) before responding or reacting to what has been said.
If you do not listen to your partner patiently to understand him or her completely, then, you are inviting trouble. You are like the doctor who prescribes medications to his patient without listening to all the complaints. Any prescription given in such situations will only do more damage and harm than good. The same thing happens in relationships. You must understand what your partner is saying first. That should be your number one focus when you are listening to your partner.
You must deliberately make up your mind to listen to your partner carefully and attentively. When you are listening to him or her, listen like a child. Do not make assumptions. Do not give your own personal interpretation of what he or she is trying to say. Do not use past discussions to analyze and interpret the current discussion. Understand what he or she is saying at that moment. Do not rush him or her. Give him or her enough time to express himself or herself.
If you must ask questions when the person is still talking, only ask questions that will enhance your understanding of the thing being said. Any question that does not encourage him or her to express what he or she wants to say will only end up cutting off the free flow of the things he or she wants to say. Ask questions that will encourage a free flow of what the person wants to say. Do not ask questions to cut off the flow.
If you can make it a conscious habit of listening to understand, sometimes, you may not even need to react or respond. It can also eliminate unnecessary arguments and tensed atmosphere between you and your partner. Relax yourself and enjoy the gist. Sometimes, it could be boring, but you must discipline yourself to remain attentive as you enjoy (or even endure) the gist. Take pleasure in it and soon, talking to her or him will become fun.
Remember, the major reason for most failed relationships is poor communication. The poor communication here is basically caused by someone who was not listening attentively and patiently. Poor communication then gives birth to misunderstandings. The misunderstandings we see in most relationships are simple caused by someone who was not listening attentively and patiently.
Discipline yourself to listen. Don’t only listen; listen attentively to understand. If you can really understand what your partner is saying, then, there will be no misunderstanding. If there is no misunderstanding, then, there will be no quarrel or conflict. If there is no quarrel or conflict, then, you relationship with your partner will turn out to become your greatest and happiest experience in life. It will be heaven on earth, or else, you will continue to experience the heat of hell here on earth.