Most of us can usually "hear" what our spouses are saying, but do we actually listen to the words and understand what is being communicated? Active listening skills are important tools to have for successful, happy relationships. In this new Macho Spouse "Quick Hitter," Elizabeth Cabibi, M.S.,LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) defines active listening and then demonstrates how to practice and administer some good techniques. Below is a Speaker Listener Technique used by many military marriage retreats.
Taken from the book, "Fighting for your Marriage", this Speaker Listener Technique is utilized by many military installations that sponsor Marriage Retreats and Couples Groups It is often distributed to attendants on printed magnets, and encouraged for them to practice. The technique is:
Rules for the Speaker:
* speak for yourself, don't mind read.
* Keep statements brief. Don't go on and on.
* Stop to let the listener paraphrase.
Rules for the Listener:
* Paraphrase what you hear.
* Focus on the speaker's message. Don't Rebut.
Rules for Both:
* The speaker has the floor.
* Speaker keeps the floor while the listener paraphrases.
* Share the floor.
My suggestion for practicing this in an exercise format would be choose a topic, preferably non inflammatory and positive focused, like ideas for a date night or next vacation. Utilize the rules of active listening and the technique above and plan something using empathy and understanding! Practice using different topics and experience how good listening can produce great results.