So I will tell you the classic tale of the most difficult problem to overcome in healthy relationships…Interruptions. Do you constantly interrupt during a disagreement? Is it important for you to be heard? It is so important that you hear this right now. If you are talking or interrupting while your partner is speaking then you are not listening.
Long ago and far away, there was a polite way of interrupting another person’s speaking. We simply asked, “May I interrupt you?” and if it was an urgent matter then we said, “Please excuse me for interrupting…the kitchen is on fire!” Somehow that gets lost in close relationships.
The scenario usually ends up in a vicious cycle. You haven’t really heard what the other person is conveying to you and the other person hasn’t heard you either. The number one complaint and hurt in relationships seems to be a resounding…”They never listen to anything I say! They don’t respect me or my feelings.” Then the resulting complaint is that…”They don’t understand me!” What you need to know is that it is virtually impossible to listen to someone else when your mind is concentrating on the next thing that you are going to say. Read that again.
There are hundreds of books and writings about this very problem. You may have threatened to record your partner to prove that you are right about what they said. (That is another discussion entirely.) Human beings have tried to solve this problem throughout history. Ever play the telephone game? That is supposed to be a lesson in gossiping and what the damage of such a thing can do. Another question might be…what damage are you doing to your partner by not taking the time to be fully present? I will tell you that it is such a difficult thing to do when you are in a negative emotional state. So you talk to professionals and don’t do the work to change it.
Here is where I tell you that you truly have the power to change the way that you listen. It is a matter of choice. Deciding to table a discussion until the other person (or maybe even you) has calmed down a bit is completely within your control. You are responsible for your actions and your words. You alone can teach yourself not to react to your partner’s negative emotions. Easy? No. That is why many people don’t even try.
Changing the way that you communicate is usually the key to opening the door of intimacy. It takes time, patience and work. So let me ask you a question or two? Do you want to be heard? Then allow yourself to listen to your partner so that your partner feels free to listen to you. Do you want to be right? People usually do. There are statements that you can say aloud that let the other person know that you respect their opinion and that you appreciate that they shared that information with you.
Lastly…please remember….Does it need to be said?
Does it need to be said by me?
Does it need to be said by me right now?