How good are you at listening?

The Morning Thing found some wonderful marriage tips from Family Life Ministries.
The tips were written for married couples, but we believe that this advice could be used in any relationship.
Listening is such a vital part of communication. Take a look over this list and be encouraged to start being an active listener.

  1. People come away from talking to you possessing a better understanding of themselves.
  2. You wait a few seconds after your spouse has stopped talking to see if they have more to say.
  3. You practice “reflective listening,” using words like, “So I hear you saying that you’re …”
  4. You’re comfortable with abstaining from advice at times, to simply be with someone in their grief. 
  5. You ask questions that cause your spouse to explore what he or she hasn’t before.
  6. Your spouse frequently responds to you, “That’s a good question”―but it’s okay with you if you’re not the person with all the good questions.
  7. You refrain from interrupting.
  8. You’re comfortable with not having an answer for some of life’s unfixables.
  9. You use facial expressions that are receptive: soft eyes, nodding, eye contact.
  10. You pray silently for your husband or wife while listening, and ask God for wisdom in responding.2
  11. You refrain from finishing your spouse’s sentences.
  12. You ask for clarification when you don’t understand what your spouse means.
  13. You don’t feel the need to prove yourself as wise or helpful.
  14. Rather than planning your responses, you try to set those aside in your head and focus on what’s being said.
  15. Your spouse is noticeably comforted after you spend time listening to them.
  16. Your advice is highly individualized to your spouse, reflecting back what you’ve heard them say and steering clear of pat answers and cliches.
  17. You have time in your schedule to listen to your spouse.
  18. Before offering advice, you offer compassion and understanding: “I am so sorry. That sounds incredibly hard.”
  19. You share your own circumstances that relate, but are careful not to refocus the conversation on you, or to indicate your circumstances were worse/harder.
  20. You think of your spouse’s experience after you’ve left the conversation, internalizing their struggle. They’re on your heart, so you pray for them, too.
  21. More than a problem being fixed, you prioritize that your spouse feels heard, received, and understood.

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