Better Communication, Better Love: Sharpening Your Listening Skills

By March 6, 2024March 12th, 2024Communication

Did you know that better communication can lead you and your spouse to better love? In this four-article series, we’re breaking down some of the most important ways you two can improve your communication skills. We’ll start by talking about how to sharpen your listening skills – a must in every successful marriage.

You’ve likely heard that, to be a better listener, you should:

  • Listen to respond, not to react.
  • Avoid interrupting your spouse while they’re speaking.
  • Try not to spend so much energy formulating a response that you miss what they’re saying.
  • Engage in active listening, in which you reflect back what they’ve said to make sure you understand where they’re coming from.
  • Actively practice empathy while you get to the root of the problem.
  • These are all important components of being a good listener. And today, we’d love to add to that list by highlighting another important skill. You can start practicing this with your spouse right away, so let’s dive deeper.

    Create A Communication Safety Zone

    Emotional safety is a critical part of great communication. Most couples don’t realize how important it is to feel safe when communicating with one another, especially when there’s a conflict to resolve. We take it for granted that we’ll simply always feel safe in our relationship, and it can blindside us when one us feels as though we have to edit our words or walk on eggshells around a certain topic.

    We define a “safety zone” in marriage as an atmosphere where you and your spouse can both be understanding and be understood. You should both be safe to speak your mind in love. But when we don’t feel emotionally safe, we’re more likely to withdraw – and at that point, we’re at a greater risk of communication meltdowns.

    How to Create Emotional Safety as a Listener

    If you want to create more emotional safety for your spouse in communication, then start as a listener. You can do this exercise together; then, help one another feel safer to be vulnerable and open. Ask one another questions like:

  • What tends to make you nervous or uncomfortable in conversation?
  • Are there certain topics or scenarios that make you feel shut-down?
  • Is there a time of day when it might be better to have in-depth discussions with you?
  • What times of day are not good for you, when it comes to having important conversations?
  • How do you respond to feeling upset? Do you withdraw and self-protect, or do you feel a sense of urgency around solving problems?
  • As you gather this information about yourselves and one another, you’ll start to get a better feel for how to create more emotional safety. You can find more in-depth discussion about navigating your “fear factors” in our book, Love Talk. Take a look here.

    Become a Pro at Communicating With Your Spouse

    Want to become a great listener and take a deeper dive into good communication? A relationship assessment can help you and your spouse get to know one another better than ever before. The Better Love assessment can unlock a whole new level of harmony between you and your spouse. Learn more and take the assessment here.

    Have you and your spouse discovered useful listening tips that improved your communication? Share them with us in the comments.

    Leave a Reply