Listen Up! Effective Tips on How to Get Your Partner to Listen to You

Someone once told me that "it’s not a coincidence that we have only one mouth but two ears". Listening is THAT important. 

Most people come into couples therapy wanting to know how to communicate better. "What can I say so she can hear me?" "How can I say this so he can hear me?". And while moderating what you say and how you say it is valuable, it’s all for nothing if the other person isn't actually listening. 

Ghandi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Often I find that if you want to be heard, the trick isn't always about how to state your claim - the trick is often to listen first. Feeling heard helps a person to be free to listen back. It doesn't always feel fair or like justice. But it’s pretty effective and often part of being a team player. 

When we listen, we need to not just hear words but seek understanding. That doesn't mean you have to agree, but it does mean that you can see where the other person is coming from. Bonus points if you can also seek to understand how they got there!

Of course, this is easier said than done. Sometimes emotions get hot and everything moves fast in the momentum of a fight. That's where having a dedicated time to slow down, practice new skills, and have some help along the way (aka couples counseling) can be helpful. Feel free to reach out! I'd love to help!