Like most, I have some significant regrets in my marriage!
They are mostly verbal regrets. I’ve said things to my wife in the last 30 years that I wish I could take back. Too often, I’ve used misguided words that stung and wounded her. I feel terrible about those moments and unfortunately I can’t take them back.
But I have no regrets in my marriage over listening!
I’ve never thought, “Why did I pay such good attention to her? Why was I so patient and empathetic in showing my wife the respect she deserves?”
Why? Because listening does not lead to regret!
Would your spouse say that you’re a world-class listener or are you normally doing all the talking?
Maybe you’re like me and need a little self-assessment that can be assisted by asking your spouse or friend: “Am I a better listener or talker? Do I have a problem with talking too much?”
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
1. If you interrupt your spouse before she or he answers, you may have a problem with listening.
2. If you don’t allow your spouse to finish his or her sentence, you may have a problem with listening.
3. If you’re forming a sentence and preparing to respond while your spouse is talking, you need a little help with listening.
4. The goal of communication is not to jump into the game Outburst while she talking.
The goal is to listen.
If you have a pattern of talking too much and not listening well, you violate intimacy and depth of relationship. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed. If this describes you, give some thought to the reasons behind why you talk so much. Ask yourself, “What’s behind all the words that violate the power of listening?”
Listening is the language of love. Listening creates value. Listening is a skill to learn. It’s a craft to master. It’s a gift to give. It’s a way to draw close and minister to others.