Jul 122016 11 Responses

How to Make Your Wife Feel Heard

“He just doesn’t listen to me.” It’s one of the most repeated statements women in unhealthy relationships say. Even if they wouldn’t define the relationship as unhappy, when pressed, many women in good relationships feel unheard.

While no relationship is perfect, good relationships are characterized by good communication. In part, good communication demands that we recognize we are bad at communication. Some couples are deceived into thinking that individually they are capable communicators; those are the couples who never communicate well. Good communication begins with a recognition of the difficulty of the process.

Yet healthy couples learn, grow, and develop proper communication. The result is that both spouses feel heard. (See: The Warning Sign of a Bad Marriage You Might Miss)

Where a wife feels heard, a relationship likely flourishes.

She Has to Feel Heard

Notice, it’s a feeling. It’s not enough just to hear her. She has to feel as though she has been heard. While a man is not ultimately responsible for his wife’s feelings, he is responsible for doing everything in his power to give her the opportunity to have the feeling.

Of course, the feeling better imitate the action. When some men ask, “How do I make her feel heard?” what they are actually asking is “How do I make her feel heard without actually listening to her?” They want the good results without any of the work. If your wife feels heard, but you aren’t actually hearing her, you will eventually be found out.

The goal is not only to hear our wives, but to have them believe they are being heard to such a deep level that they feel it. Not only do their heads believe it, but their hearts can sense that their husbands truly listen to what they say.

What Prevents Listening

1. Bias. Our opinions color everything we hear. We are predisposed to listen to things we agree with and to ignore ideas which we disagree with. Because men and women are inherently different, we are often biased to ignore our spouse. Instead of seeing the perspective as a valuable alternative to our own, we simply ignore their opinions.

2. Fear. We often don’t listen to our spouse because we are afraid. Whether we are afraid that they might say something hurtful or that they might say something which we know is true, fear keeps us from listening.

3. Contempt. Some husbands don’t listen because they can never imagine their spouse having something worth saying. Believing they are smarter, more moral, or just better than their spouse, they never listen to what the other person has to say.

4. Focusing on our turn. The number one reason we fail to listen to others (including our spouse) is our preoccupation with determining what we will say. Notice this in your next tense discussion. The average person focuses far more on what we will say next rather than on what the other person is saying. This focus prevents us from hearing our spouse.

The Secret to Listening

In part, creating a climate in which a wife we feels heard is a simple as learning some basic communication techniques. No one is born a good listener. We must develop the skills–through learning and practice–in order to become good listeners. (See: The Secret to Good Communication in Marriage)

Five basic steps to good listening:

1. Stop talking. It’s that simple. You can’t listen while talking. Your wife needs a chance to speak.

2. Stop preparing your response. Respond after your wife finishes talking. Focus on what they are saying, not what you will say next.

3. Desire to know her opinion. Just wanting to hear what your wife has to say aides listening.

4. Listen with your ears and your body. If your eyes are on the TV or your phone, you aren’t fully listening. Eye contact, facial expressions, and an engaged mind are key to listening.

5. Ask if you have heard correctly. Before responding, clarify what your wife has said. “Are you saying _____,” is a great question. Until she agrees that she is saying what you say she is saying, you aren’t ready to respond.

While every person needs to learn and practice basic communication skills, there is another secret to listening. The secret is love.

Watch a grandfather with a grandchild struggling to string together her first sentence.

Watch a high school student talking to his crush on the phone for the first time.

Watch two lovers reunited after a long absence.

Love drives us to listen. If you love your wife, you will listen to her. While you won’t do so perfectly, you will do so with such consistency that she will feel heard.

A Note to Wives

While it’s vital for husbands to listen, there is another key step to making sure a wife feels heard–she must speak. Never think that if your husband loves you, he will automatically know what is on your mind. He won’t. He can’t. You are far too intricate and beautiful of a creation to be so simple for a man to always read your mind. He might on occasion, but those occasions will be rare. (See: Two Steps to Solving 90% of Relationship Problems)

If you want a husband who can read your mind, you will have to spend the next 50 years clearly communicating that mind. Then he might be able to know without asking. Until then, you must keep communicating.

11 Responses to How to Make Your Wife Feel Heard
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  2. […] Binary listening is normal, but it’s destructive. (See: How to Make Your Wife Feel Heard) [... kevinathompson.com/the-dangers-of-binary-listening
  3. […] Listening is important to any relationship, but especially marriage. If spouses are supposed to be f... kevinathompson.com/how-to-get-your-man-to-listen
  4. […] Dating is often characterized by listening. While there are exceptions, individuals likely never lis... kevinathompson.com/first-step-destroy-good-marriage

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