Getting your Spouse to Listen


By Dr. Bruce Riley, LMFT

No one likes to feel that they are being ignored or that their spouse is not paying attention. This may be by accident or deliberate, but it still kind of feels the same. Some also feel that their spouse does not value what they have to say. Well, I have a few suggestions to help in this area.

When there is a quiet moment, you are both in the same room seems to be a great time to share. I think it is very appropriate that there be at least one time during each day that you are both sitting together without any other outlets (television, electronic devices, books, etc.) before you. It works best for us when we are at the dinner table sharing a meal. “What have you been thinking about?” is one of the more common questions asked when we are together. You could also play “Two Things”. You both must tell each other two things about yourself that the other would be interested to know.

Taking a drive on your way to a destination or no where provides you an opportunity to ask that important question or to talk about that all-important subject that has been stirring in you all day.

Eye contact is very important in gaining someone’s attention as well as disconnecting them from that which could distract. Your eyes will convey the level of value that you want to place upon the subject that you are discussing, especially if you want to be taken seriously.

I often recommend that couples hold each other while talking – You could say, “Do you feel what I’m saying?” Too often a person may hear what has been said but can’t relate to the meaning behind the words.

Have you ever tried whispering? “Why?” you might ask. It will cause the other to listen a little harder and require the listener to ask, “Could you speak up please” Then you say, “Oh, ok as you speak in a normal tone and ask, “Now, did you hear what I said?” Mission accomplished.

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