(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: Enhancing Communication by Dr Ken McGill)
A few tips to help you and your spouse create effective communication
Listening occurs when…
1. …I silence the rebuttal going on in my head and cease listening defensively.
2. …I ask questions that help me to perceive, to know and to become familiar with and aware of what the Speaker wants to convey to me.
3. …I have perceived, investigated, examined thoroughly and understand intellectually and emotionally the message the Speaker intends for me to hear.
4. …I am able to report back what I heard more deeply than the Speaker intended to convey to me.
5. …I am able to hear only the Speaker’s side of the dialogue.
6. …I struggle to see beyond my side of the issue (my side of the coin) and labor to see the multiple sides to the issue (the small sides of the coin), which are truly significant.
7. …I listen to understand, acknowledge whatever I can, and I give to the Speaker whatever I can.
8. …I devote my fullest and complete attention to the Speaker in the same manner that a 2 year old holds their parents face in their hands, gazes into their eyes and whispers to them the message (s)he wants to share. This is a word picture of “Devotion.”
9. …I re-establish connection with the Speaker.
10. …I engage in a dialogue with the Speaker. A true dialogue resembles a Ping-Pong game, in which we pass back and forth to each other knowledge, goals, amends and eventually resolution to the issue(s) we have been negotiating.
11. …I not only hear the Speaker, but it is as if I am traveling with him/her on a journey, giving great attention to not only what is being said, but also seeking to incorporate what I heard into my life.
12. …I UNDERSTAND, due to having engaged in a process of hearing, perceiving, noticing and comprehending what the Speaker is saying, and then “collecting together and assembling” all of the features of the issues into a whole, like one who is collecting pieces of a puzzle and putting them together.
13. …I am able to grasp not only what the Speaker desires for me to know, but I am able to perceive, ascertain and check out even the minute features or “areas” being discussed (like noticing the small sides or ridges of a coin).
14. …My Higher Power helps me to capture the true essence of what is being said, and in that stillness, being able to give my attention, while also listening to the quiet inner voice that instructs me in the right way I am to respond.
15. …The situation calls for me to demonstrate sympathy or compassion, in that I suffer together with the Speaker, regarding the misfortune, affliction, or feeling they may be experiencing.
16. …I work with the Speaker to become wise and skilled in the matters that (s)he is sharing with me. As I listen, I endeavor to become “skilled in the affairs of life,” by exercising wise management with the Speaker, as shown by forming the best plans, selecting the best means, and incorporating sound judgment and good sense for my personal and our relational benefit.