3 Simple (Yet Effective) Ways to Make Your Partner Feel Heard

There’s nothing quite like that feeling of falling in love. You’re giddy, your cheeks ache from the contant grinning and life just seems better. Everything about this person intrigues you. You talk for hours. About everything.

Then one day you wake, and it’s as if one of your words have been lost in translation. Wait, what? How did you go from getting each other so completely to this?

For a few lucky couples, communication channels remain open and static-free from the get-go. The rest of us have to accept that once the initial headiness of falling in love wears off, there’s work to be done.

My wife and Ihave ended up in the therapist’s office on more than one occasion because we’d glibly assumed falling in love was enough to keep our relationship healthy. It’s not.

Much like a garden, you need to work atrelationships constantly to reap the rewards, and that begins with communicating properly.

We humans are experts at talking. Our downfall is our inability to listen effectively. Very few of us are natural born listeners. It’s an art we need to hone as we grow.

Because we’re all different, we tend to have different ways of communicating. While not a bad thing, it can make understanding what the other person is telling you a challenge.

To keep the channels of communication open you need to make your partner feel heard. Here are some simple (yet effective) ways to do that.

1. Learn their love language.

According to Gary Chapman, there are five love languages. Whether or not you’re consciously aware of it, you give and receive love in a certain way. More often than not, couples ‘speak’ different love languages, and that’s usually when issues arise.

Finding out your love language is easy. Simply take the short quiz on Gary’s website, and you’ll soon have insight into what makes you and your partner tick. When you know a person’s love language it’s easy to make them feel heard.

3 Simple (Yet Effective) Ways to Make Your Partner Feel Heard

2.Learn to listen responsively.

Most of us would like to believe we’re great listeners, but oftentimes we’re too busy formulating our next thought to truly hear what the other person is saying. When we learn to listen responsively our attention is focused completely on what’s our partner is saying, rather than on what our rebuttal is going to be.

It takes courage and effort to listen like this, but research has shown it builds intimacy in a relationship. Intimacy is the glue that holds us together when things get tough, so it’s worth building.

How do you listen responsively? For one thing, be all in. Put your phone away, shut your laptop, turn off the TV, etc. That alone will show your partner you’re invested in the conversation. Seek to understand what they’re trying to tell you. If you’re not sure, ask.

Validate what they’re saying by using phrases like “I’d have felt like that too,” or, “I get why you feel that way.” The last thing they need is foryou to undermine their feelings.

Finally, show them you care. Assure them you’re in this together and that figuring out the best way forward is as important to you as it is to them.

3.Stop interrupting.

When you stop interrupting your listening skills improve dramatically. Interrupting has become so commonplace in modern day conversation that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Once you start paying attention you’ll be shocked byhow much it happens.

Every time you finish someone’s sentence you’re essentially interrupting them. This way of conversing is unproductive, because we can’t always know what people are thinking. How often have you finished your partner’s sentence only to discover it wasn’t close to what they were trying to tell you?

The simple act of not interrupting someone’s train of thought will go a long way to making them feel heard and understood. Conversation is a lost art, but it’s one we can get back with patience and persistence.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

50 comments

Kerri D
Kerri D2 days ago

TYFS

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Chad Anderson
Chad A2 days ago

Thank you.

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Mia B
Mia B8 days ago

Thanks

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Andrea M
Aa M8 days ago

Thank you. Good points to ponder

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Gloria p
Gloria picchetti14 days ago

This is so meat and potatoes I am saving it on my favorites bar to study!

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Rauni H
Rauni H19 days ago

thanks

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Paula A
Paula A27 days ago

thank you

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Karen Martinez
Karen Mabout a month ago

Good tips for listening more intently. I find myself wanting to finish my husband's sentences, which is a form of interrupting. More folks need to put these ideas into use. Thank you.

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Leo Custer
Leo Cabout a month ago

Thank you for posting!

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Maria P
Maria Pabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing

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