Reasons Why We Choose Not To Listen.

Many relationships break down because we loose an honest connection with our partner. We stop listening. Busyness and stress are some reasons that we choose not to listen. When our partner comes to us to talk we often feel like we have no time to listen. In our head are the other pressures of our day, work stress, the needs of the children, tasks that need to be done, activities to go to or prepare for and because our lives are so full we drift away from connecting with those in our life who are supposed to be most important.

The tension builds and then we start to view our partner not as a support but as a person who adds more stress in our lives. You may start to think, “ If only they would do this or that, then my life would be so much easier. Why can’t they just cooperate?” When your partner starts to look like the enemy instead of your teammate then there is a problem. 

Learning to be an active listener increases the health of your relationship. When you or your partner feel understood and considered then you start to feel like you have a relationship with someone who cares for you. Listening is not just passively waiting for your turn to speak it involves being open to someone else and their viewpoint and willingly considering it. You may even need to adjust your view so you can work together.

Here are some common mistakes we make when listening to other people:

1. Daydreaming or thinking of something else while the other person is speaking
2. Thinking of what to say next
3. Judging what the other person is saying
4. Listening with a specific goal or outcome in mind

When you do these things then there is no longer an openness to receiving the new information, you have already predetermined your response. You and your partner are different in how your view situations but hopefully there is a foundation of care that we need to get back to.

No matter what relationship we are talking about, marriage, friendship or parent and child, the basis is that you value them and want to connect and this takes effort. It may involve prioritizing what is of value in your life and eliminating other things. It requires a vulnerability and courage to not defend yourself and to receive what your partner is trying to share. 

When they see your openness, vulnerability and willingness to listen without judgement then you will be creating a connection with the other person that establishes them as someone you care about and not the enemy.

Written by Lisa Strong

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