Listening is probably the most under developed skill I experience with couples that come for my help.
Of course they know how to physically hear, but they don’t know how to truly listen to what their partner is saying.
Some of the problem is they are so focused on what they want to say in response to their partners words they are not listening to the words their partner is actually saying.
BUT this is a small part of a much bigger problem… the real challenge is this…
What are they really hearing when their partner is speaking?
Put another way, what is their translation of their partner words and does it reflect their partner original intent and more importantly their identity.
This is where the real pain can sit for many couples.
Couples can watch in disbelief as their partner takes their words and distorts them into something they would never say and then makes them responsible for this new translation.
This process can deeply affect a person hard as it hits the person at an identity level. They are hearing the person that says they love them can make them responsible for being someone they are not.
This process is painful and breaks trust… Now the relationship as created fear and practiced over time this can help the couple to disconnect.
Disconnection creates more fear and more fear creates more guarded filters that further distort what your partner is really saying.
So how do we stop this spiral happening?
Communication is very powerful and words have immense power to hurt and to heal.
But the starting point is hearing your partners words from their perspective. NOT through your own filters and meanings.
I will give you an example…
Cloe has the ability to say to me words that on the surface could be classed as hurtful.
With Cloe I have a rule which says, she is never trying to hurt me. This rule means I never need to defend myself from her.
What this does is it frees me to explore what’s really going on for her emotionally. You see if she says a hurtful thing to me, then how much pain must she be in to say that to the man she loves.
So my assumption is she is in pain and as a man that loves her, I want to understand her pain and help her out of it.
You see by not making that situation “about me” I am able to explore with Cloe the real source of her surface words and love her through it.
In these moment Cloe feels heard and this creates security that frees her to experience connection and love again.
My message today is to truly listen to your partner you must go deeper than simply reacting to the words they say because if you do, nine times out of ten you will be wrong and hurting your own relationship.