Relationships thrive when both partners practice committed listening. When we allow ourselves to be penetrated by each other’s words and feelings, it’s not simply a matter of receiving information, but of allowing ourselves to be informed by it.

When we are able to hear and accept our partner’s feelings and needs our attention moves from concerns about ourselves to a focused attentiveness on their concerns. This shift in our attention promotes an enhancement of mutual trust, respect, appreciation and good-will in the relationship. As trust grows, there is a willingness to reveal even the most tender emotions.



Here are some practical tips for becoming a world class listener:

  1. Remember that committed listening is an act of love.
  2. Rather than trying to get your partner to listen to you, commit yourself listening more attentively to them.
  3. Having agreed upon designated times to discuss important subjects is a good idea. Spontaneous discussions can always be added.
  4. Don’t allow other people and things (children, the dog, telephone, etc.) to interrupt the conversation.
  5. Keep in mind that the quieter you become the better you can hear. Being fully present with no distractions reassures your partner that you care, and most people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  6. Turn off any tech devices and keep them off during the conversation.
  7. Your body language may convey as much, if not more, than your spoken words.
  8. Practice patience, especially when your partner is not getting to the point as quickly as you may want them to.
  9. Try not to interrupt the other person even if you want to take issue with what they are saying. If need be, you correct them later.
  10. Bring curiosity rather than judgment to the conversation.
  11. Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions.
  12. Resist the impulse to complete your partner’s sentences, even when you think that you know what they are going to say.
  13. Periodically paraphrase what you are hearing your partner saying in order to find out whether you are both on the same page
  14. Avoid giving advice unless it is requested, and even then, don’t be too quick to give it.
  15. Make fewer assertions and ask more questions.

16. At the conclusion of the conversation thank your partner for their willingness to contribute to the health and well-being of your relationship!


See the original blog on Madeline Sharples’s blog site!