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Bridal Club Magazine

Engagement - Listening Tips To Strengthen Your Relationship Before Your Wedding

The ability to listen is a relationship-saving skill that will help keep you and your partner in tune for the rest of your married lives together. One of the biggest reasons for divorce is because couples lose their ability to communicate or maybe they never had these skills to begin with. This month we give you some effective tips on how to begin communicating more effectively with your partner before you walk down the aisle.

Let Your Partner Finish What They Are Saying

Whatever you do, don't interrupt. If you are not consciously aware that interrupting others may be a problem for you - start to take notice when you are in conversation. Do you get full of enthusiasm when they talk and find yourself cutting in? Make a conscious effort to remind yourself to keep quiet and hear them out.

Think Before You Speak
Do you jump to conclusions when your partner speaks? It's really hard not to judge someone when they are talking, especially when you have a strong opinion on what is right or wrong. Doing this will prevent you from listening and put a barrier up between you as a couple - always making one or the other feel defensive. Think before you say anything in response, especially if it's an emotional reaction.

Make Listening a Priority In Every Conversation
Often listening to someone doe not require a response. Just the fact that you listened is all they needed without you having to solve their problem at all. Let go of your own agenda by not planning what you need to say back - just be aware that you need to do is listen. Give eye contact and body language that lets them know you are interested in what they have to say. Pay attention by not looking at the TV, watch or your favourite book.

Give Active Feedback When Appropriate
To let your partner know that you are not just looking without letting it sink in - give verbal feedback at appropriate times. "I hear you saying ..." lets them know you heard what they said, or sometimes you may have heard them wrong. It is a non-threatening way of not getting your wires crossed. Once again, make sure you are not cutting across into their conversation, use the cues such as natural pauses when they end a sentence.

Non-Verbal Clues Say Plenty - Don't Let Them Block Your Listening

Women may be more astute to these than men and often we let them know about it. Be aware of non-verbal signs and clues - both yours and those of your partner. These include shrugging of shoulders, tone of voice, crossing arms or legs, nodding, eye contact or looking away, facial expressions (smile, frown, shock, disgust, tears, surprise, rolling eyes, etc.), and mannerisms (fiddling with papers, tapping your fingers). 55% of the message is delivered through non-verbal signs. Although these cues can be helpful in determining timing in your conversation, they can also put you into a habit of mind reading, rehearsing, filtering, judging, daydreaming, advising, sparring, being right, changing the subject, stonewalling, and placating.

Keep Focused
Focus on the main points that your partner is talking about. Try not to get side-tracked with peripheral and irrelevant points that the conversation may bring up. Make a mental note or write it down if it is too important to forget. Remember it's ok to ask questions to clarify what you thought you heard.

Men And Women Are Different In The Way They Communicate
Although not true for everyone, men and women communicate in different ways. Being aware of this can enhance your listening skills. Men often share because they want to give information or solve a problem. Women tend to talk to connect with someone or to get information. Women usually talk more about relationships than men do.

Above All - Respect Your Partner

Respect your partner's point of view, even if you disagree with what is being said. Noting stops loving communication faster than when one is made to feel inferior to the other.

Your Ten Cents Worth
You can't listen and talk at the same time. Feelings and opinions all depend on one's own experience and they are neither right nor wrong for any given situation. Don't give advice unless asked for it and if you simply must give your ten cents - ask your partner first remembering they have the to say no. They will respect you for it.

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