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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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If You Listen, S/he Will Speak

Uploaded: Jun 17, 2022
Conversely, if you don’t listen, s/he will stop trying to communicate, connect, engage. Do you feel lonely, sad, unseen, unheard, misunderstood? Or do you feel seen, heard, understood, and celebrated because you’re you--your authentic self, with all your glory and quirks?

It’s actually interesting, that if you speak quietly, people will get quiet and lean in closer to hear you. You don’t need a big voice. You don’t need to be silent.

Many married people are unfortunately incredibly lonely in their marriage. And there’s nothing lonelier than being lonely in a relationship.

Do you listen to one another? Do you talk with each other? Do you make eye contact at all, or eye contact for two minutes at a time?

I can tell you from my experience as a therapist, that couples are amazed when they begin having eye contact again. I’ve heard this many times: “I don’t remember the last time we looked into each other’s eyes. It feels so good.”

The truth is, you can go along in cruise control in your marriage for a long time. And it might even seem okay. You’re managing logistics in your household and with your kids. But in the end, it’s a losing strategy. I do know that you’re busy and pressed for time. Communicating on the front end will save you tons of time in misunderstandings, arguments, and having to make repairs. If you don’t do preventive maintenance on your car, it’s going to be a bigger, more expensive problem down the road. Relationships are the same.

You actually have to make time for yourselves as a couple. And you need to do that without talking about logistics, kids, or work. Are you reading this and wondering, “What the heck are we going to talk about?” If so, figure it out. What did you do together early on? Do those things again.

Early on in your relationship, you were ‘selling’ yourself to your potential mate. You were showing your best self. You talked about everything. You went to movies and live music, you hiked or took walks together. And so much more.

Brainstorm what you used to do together that was fun. Make a list. Even if it feels awkward or contrived, do those things now.

If you don’t have any interest in listening to your partner, seek help now. No one wants to go through life with a partner that’s not listening to their deepest dreams, goals, hopes, needs and wants. Of course, no one gets everything all the time. But you sure can make and spend time together working your way to healthy communication. (Get used to hearing and saying Yes, No, or Maybe as answers.)

If you’re repeating yourself, it’s because you don’t feel heard. If you’re the person being told the same thing(s) repeatedly, s/he doesn’t know you’re listening.

The solution is pretty simple:
- Make eye contact (this ensures you are paying attention to one another).
- Ask for a time to talk (it can be in 10 minutes, or two hours, or that evening-make it the same day).
- Speak briefly.
- Ask for thoughts, ideas, understanding of what you said.
- Ask your partner to say what s/he heard.
- Seek input on the topic. (Don’t fix or give advice unless it’s asked for.)
- Say the next part of what’s important to you.
- If you agree to do something, follow through. Be trustworthy.
Do this for 20 minutes EVERY day! You each have 10 minutes to talk. Actually listen; don’t think about what you want to say.

I guarantee this will change your marriage.

Let me know how it goes.
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