“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich
When we intellectually know something is both necessary and important…
But we still choose to not pay much attention to it…
That means there’s not enough perceived benefit to do it differently.
That’s human nature.
Doing something because we “should” do it rarely works.
We often don’t do what we should.
In our marriages, here’s what that looks like:
We know we should listen better to our partners…but we don’t.
It’s just easier to talk over our partners, tune them out or ignore what they’re trying to express if it doesn’t align with what we want to hear in that particular moment.
The distance between the partners widens over the course of years until one partner has one foot out the door…or worse.
I spoke with a woman today who had placed ~ 400 calls to her emotional affair partner in another state. Her husband was shocked…until she explained how each one of those calls was a missed opportunity.
- She came to him when her Father died.
- She came to him when her teenage daughter was in what she felt was a destructive relationship.
- She came to him when she wanted to go back to school to follow her dreams.
The list goes on and although the topics changed, he wasn’t interested. We often don’t do what we should.
Now the other partner is motivated.
Now the other partner wants to listen….
Stay up late…
Hang on every word…
But it might just be too little, too late.
I’ve seen it at least 1000 times…
WHY LISTEN? BECAUSE…IT WORKS
Don’t listen because it’s the good, right and noble thing to do.
Don’t listen to your partner because every research study tells you that your marriage is at risk if you don’t.
Don’t do it because you “should.” Should is never compelling enough.
Instead, here’s why you should get better at listening to your partner:
When you listen, you learn something about your partner.
When you ignore or speak over them, you learn nothing.
When you listen to your partner, you learn what’s important to him or her and what really matters to your life partner.
It gives you the opportunity to be their “go-to” person.
It creates deeper connection and understanding.
Don’t do it because you should.
Do it because it’s the smart thing to do if you want your marriage to last and feel good.
Do it because it works.