Focused listening is an art that can be cultivated in your marriage. There is a verse in the Bible that says “be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath” (James 1:19). If we would make that our motto, then we would be better communicators and have more satisfaction in our marriages.
Picture this scene:
Jane is troubled by how they are going to pay the bills that week. She is anxious to talk to Jack about his spending. She finds him watching the final quarter of an exciting ballgame.
She starts talking to him about this issue. He is nodding his head, but clearly not listening. Jane becomes angry that he is not paying attention. She says, “You never listen to me; you do not even care if we lose everything.”
He crosses his arms, turns his head and tunes her out. She gets even more frustrated that he is not listening to her.
This conversation is going nowhere fast!
The 5 Communication Laws of Focused Listening
Communication Law #1: The first law of focused listening is to discuss important topics when you can minimize distractions. Jane should have waited until after the game was over before approaching Jack. Then he could concentrate better on what she was saying.
Communication Law #2 The second law is to let the other person finish their point before jumping in with your opinion. Many times we miss what the other person is saying because we are too busy planning our own response.
Communication Law #3 The third law is to give feedback to let your partner know you are truly listening and hear what they are saying.
Communication Law #4 The fourth law is not to assume you know where the conversation is going. Sometimes, we think we know where the other person is going with a point. Then we do not hear what is being said.
Communication Law #5 The fifth law is to have open body language. Our body language can appear defensive; this implies that we are not willing to hear what our spouse is saying.
Focused listening can add a new dimension to your relationship because it shows your spouse that you value them and what they have to say.