Q: My spouse never listens to me. How can I get him/her to really hear what I’m saying?
A: Our red flags go up when we hear the word never. It’s probably isn’t completely true that your spouse never listens to a thing you say. A statement like this usually means that the speaker has some buried resentment and something else is going on. Chances are that your spouse does listen to you, but he or she may not be giving you the feedback that you need. You may be a communicator who needs words, but he or she communicates by action or body language.
Have you thought that perhaps your words are scaring off your spouse? What are you saying that he or she is seemingly not hearing? Are you yelling, nagging, whining, complaining, hurting? Perhaps your spouse is hearing, but just doesn’t know what to say back—or realizes that nothing he or she would say will really make any difference because you won’t listen. (So now you’re not listening either!)
You will be better heard when your words are better communicated, when you speak with warmth, love, and honor. Examine what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Consider new ways to communicate the same information. Explain (in that same tone and with those carefully chosen words) that you need a response of some kind so that you know you’ve been heard. When you do this, you’ll probably discover that your spouse’s hearing is just fine!
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!