God gave us TWO ears and ONE mouth - so we should LISTEN twice as much as we SPEAK!
Learning to listen effectively can be the beginning of healthy communication in any relationship. It is a necessity for marriage.
Below is a suggestion for improving your listening skills as taken from Oprah Winfrey.com:
"The Most Useful Communication Technique of All Time is deceptively simple, but it works like magic. Next time your partner makes a point, take a moment to digest whatever he is saying. Then say it back to him. Maybe not word for word, but you have to get the gist—and you can't stop trying until your partner agrees you've nailed it. Switch roles and repeat. Once you're not so busy explaining yourself to someone who just doesn't get it, you can look for compromise.
Before I started grad school and officially drank the psychotherapy Kool-Aid, I used to mock this technique as a way to wrap gauze around discord: "I'm hearing that you're a pathetic jerk." "Well, I'm hearing that you're a total loser." But once I tried it, I realized that "I'm hearing…" isn't just psychobabble. It telegraphs the message "I'm listening to you because what you have to tell me is important." And that's the single most important thing couples can say to each other."
Recognizing the need to be heard and the importance of listening objectively, with full attention, will strengthen communication and the marriage relationship. Learning how to listen effectively can be remembered by using P.A.R.T.S.
P. - Paraphrase - rephrase what your partner has said to make sure you understand at the same level.
A. - Ask questions if you do not understand clearly.
R. - Reinforce what your partner is saying with your non-verbal communication (i.e. shaking your head in agreement.)
T. - Tune in with empathy.
S. - Silence - be sensitive to the times when your partner really needs you to just listen.
Desiring to listen to your spouse and wanting to communicate better will quickly improve any existing issues. I urge you to begin to apply these suggestions to your marriage relationship, immediately.
James 1:19-21 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”