Why Do Marriages Fail (Part 6)
Listening is often more important than speaking. When we speak we often say more things about ourselves. But when we listen we gain insights into the speaker. It is these insights which can be used to develop ourselves. In the context of marriage and dating, listening especially, requires discipline. This is because we are often criticized which, by its very nature, is painful.
Hearing reproof requires discipline and patience. However, if used constructively such reproof can be harnessed to develop oneself. Though reproof smacks upon oneís ego it is precisely this that will open the door for improvement. And often the best sources for reproof is from oneís partner Ė the very same person that one lives with every day.
Listening also has other major benefits. You will get more understanding of your partner. Your partner will feel more appreciated. There is greater chance of conflict resolution as your partner will be
more likely to listen to you. So here some rules for effective listening:
Rule One: Pay attention. Listening is not the same as hearing. You may hear what your partner may say but will not give it any attention. Train yourself to listen by using body language and facial expression to indicate that you are indeed paying attention.
Rule Two: Consider what the speaker is saying. Make sure that you understand and are able to repeat the salient points which your partner is raising. This simple exercise will eliminate any misunderstandings. Remember words are ambiguous and it is therefore vital to clarify your partnerís message in your mind. Considering what your partner may say does not indicate your agreement but it goes a long way to finding solutions.
Rule Three: Pose questions. Though this may show that you were listening, you nonetheless have to ask the "right" questions and avoid the "wrong" ones. Right questions are based on the interrogative particles of "Who, What, Where, When and Why". These questions are designed to encourage the speaker to clarify his or her position and associated feelings. Right questions are often accompanied by requests to give examples to illustrate the speakerís points.
Wrong questions, by contrast, are designed to deflect the speaker. These questions are designed to defend the listenerís position by invalidating the position of the speaker. Such questions exacerbate conflict rather than address it. Remember the art of listening is to develop a relationship and not to destroy it.
Always remember that listening is vital to identifying needs and having them met. So consider this saying: Who is a wise man? A person who hears one word but understands two. Who is a half a wise man? A fool who is quiet. Who is a fool? One who pronounces his own guilt.
You have a choice between being a wise man or a fool. Make the right choice and show that you are the right person to live with.
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