How to Be an Active Listener to Your Partner
By Isabel Frank William
What is the most important aspect of a healthy relationship for you? Some would say it's trust, some comfort and love, and some the feeling you know somebody is there for you. The truth is when you combine all of that you will get a good relationship, but the essence of all of these is to listen to each other so you can recognize the needs and wishes of your partner. So, we are going to talk about how to be an active listener to your partner.
Don't just hear, listen!
We often hear what our partner is saying, but the words just fly by and we realize we were not active participants in the conversation. If you truly want to show them you care and you are ready to work on any problem or solve a situation you are having, you have to listen to them carefully and really understand what they are telling you. This means that you can't be selfish, but treat them as your equal, even if it means accepting you were wrong, or if you have to disregard your wishes. When talking about listening, it is also important to understand that you have to be there for your significant other at all times, even when you feel like you can't help them, because just being there and listening helps.
Show interest in your partner
People tend to get a bit selfish, which is pretty normal, but not if it affects our partner badly. Sometimes you may not feel like listening to their workday or a problem they had with some friends, or you don't even want to do the same things and try to understand their hobbies and passions. In a serious, healthy relationship, you have to give your best shot and take interest in every part of their lives if you truly care about them and you want them to know it. This is especially important when your partner has a child from a previous marriage or relationship. One way you can show that you are an active listener and that you are present is to get involved in early childhood education programs, which inspire creativity, teach kids about problem-solving, and is a fun and relaxing way to get to know them a bit better.
There is nothing worse in a relationship that not being there and not meeting your partner halfway when it comes to some problems you may come across. The correct way to deal with everything, whether bad or good, is to try to understand them because they won't feel like a curtain or like they are overly dramatic. Recognize and accept their feelings, so that they know that it is ok to feel anger, disappointment, happiness, or sorrow. See what they want to do and what they need. Then, ask yourself what is it that you can do to help them and improve any situation, and then do that. If you both act like this and have each other's backs, you will have a functioning relationship.
Don't get defensive
Another natural reaction when someone is accusing us of something or telling us we did something wrong is to build a wall and get defensive. This kind of behavior stands in the way of healthy communication and tells your partner that you are not ready nor willing to work on the problem. Instead, the best thing you can do is wait until everybody is calm and composed, and talk then. This way, you avoid all the unwanted reactions and fights nobody likes.
Don't interrupt them
Regardless of who you are talking to, interrupting them is one of the worst tactics. Not only does it show disrespect, but it also shows how uninterested and self-centered you are. Let them communicate what they want to, listen carefully, and then ask the same thing in return. This is one way to learn to listen to each other and just wait for your turn to talk. It also shows that their feelings matter and that you care about making them feel good and supported.
Commit to the conversation and stay focused
Another thing that we can consider to be simply good manners is to respect the person you are talking to by not using your phone, not looking at the clock, or the TV, or doing something else. If you don't have a lot of time, better say it, but those few minutes that you have, try to dedicate to them fully. Be present, engage, and respond. This way, you will show interest, which will be appreciated by your partner.
Listening to your partner is the most important thing in a relationship because even if you don't deal with the problem right away, it shows that you are ready to dedicate time and effort to understand them, be there, and provide support. This is the basis for a healthy relationship and a good place to start learning how to be an active listener.