Listening is a learned skill, and so may of us forget how. We fall into routines with our spouses and assume we know what it is that they are saying or are going to say.
As a coach we are trained to be good listeners. One of the notes I have from my training at CoachU is “use silence to go deeper.” This is a great technique that can be used in dating, marriage, parenting and just about all relationships.
I think it’s really important to do most of the listening on dates with my husband, or at bedtime with my kids, and use silence to go deeper. People really like to share about themselves, and instead of agreeing, and adding on to what someone is saying, stay silent a little bit longer, and see what else they will say. You can learn a lot about your family this way.
Being curious helps when you are listening. If you hear someone say he likes country music, find out why. You might find out it’s because he likes to sing along, he likes the stories and the emotions of them. If you ask good questions you’ll find out so many valuable things about them.
If you have a good understanding of your children, you can really start to discern what’s going on with them, even in the most random of things they say. Especially if you practice your listening skills on them.
If you find that it’s hard for you to just listen to what your spouse or children are saying, try and quite the commentary or reactions your head is doing, and just sit quietly while they talk. I used to have sit with a finger over my mouth to keep myself form interrupting or interjecting – and to be honest, I still do it sometimes.