Episode 64: What We’re Not Hearing

by | Last updated: Mar 9, 2024 | Podcast

If you can get better at this one thing… every single relationship in your life will get better!

Most relationship issues can be traced back to problems with communication, right? There might be a lack of communication, a handful of miscommunications, a lack of understanding… the list goes on.

But here’s what I want you and your partner BOTH to consider: Are you as interested in what your partner has to say… as you are in being seen & heard?

In this episode, we’ll dig into this question, and I’ll share 5 practical tools to help you get better at both listening and being heard.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

1:10 – You know what it’s like to feel unseen & unheard (so does your partner…)
4:53 – It gets harder when your identity is wrapped up in the conversation
7:35 – When it’s time to “close your mouth & open your ears”
8:31 – Most people do not have practice being fully present…
13:15 – Are you listening to him, too?

Featured On What We’re Not Hearing

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If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us.

Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

Welcome to the Loving Truth Podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now your host relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope. Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope and this is the Loving Truth. Today we're going to talk about what we're not hearing inside of our most intimate relationship. I think every relationship issue,

I mean, maybe not every relationship issue, but let's say most relationship issues can be traced back to some form of miscommunication. Communication is at the root of almost every single issue that we have inside of our relationships. It might be a lack of communication, the things that go unexpressed, unsaid, but we carry quiet resentments about them. It could be a miscommunication where your partner's trying to express something,

but you receive it in an entirely different way than the way that they expressed it. Or it could just be a lack of understanding and a lack of really hearing your partner. So inside of our most intimate relationship, think about it, that is our most vulnerable place, and every single one of us wants to be seen and heard and understood in our most intimate relationship,

right? And that makes sense. The problem here is that most of us kind of suck at listening. Like we're really, really interested and invested in what we have to say, but we're not as interested. We're invested in what our partners have to say, and therein lies the rub, right? So we can all get better at listening so that we can really understand our partners at a deeper level.

Think about it. When we say the words we need to talk, what do we really mean? What most of us mean is, I've got some things I wanna say to you. You better sit down and shut up and listen, right? And so of course, those we need to talk conversations never really go very well, do they? Now we have all been on the receiving end of having a conversation with someone and feeling like they're not really listening to us,

right? So I want you to think about an example in your own life of where that's happened. You know, maybe the person that you were trying to communicate with, they were dominating the conversation where you knew that they weren't listening to you because they were just talking about what they wanted to say, and they weren't ever acknowledging or reacting to what you were trying to express.

Maybe that person was talking over you and interrupting you. Maybe it didn't feel like a safe environment to even express or share whatever it is that's on your heart and mind. Or you could tell that as you are talking, the other person is in their head thinking about what they want to say next. Like we can, we've all been there with someone where you know that they're not listening or that they're getting,

they're just thinking about what their response is going to be. Now, I want you to think about how did that make you feel when you're on the receiving end of that? And what did it make you want to do, right? It in terms of how it made you feel. It probably made you feel like what you're saying isn't valuable or they didn't agree,

or you might make it mean that they think you're stupid. Something like that. And in terms of what it would make you want to do, for most of us, when we are not being listened to, it makes us want to shut down to just stop talking. When we don't feel like the other person is finding any value in what we're saying,

it doesn't make us want to keep going, at least not for most of us. So either we just sort of railroad our partners and we just talk over them, and we just keep talking and talking and talking, whether they're listening or not, because we're really talking for ourselves, not for them, or we want to shut down. And anytime we shut down inside of a communication,

we're automatically going to create more distance between the two people. So shutting down is not really a productive strategy for being able to understand one another or communicate better. And oftentimes the need to be right in a conversation is driving this behavior that we know isn't productive. Now, if you've ever said, well, I'm not saying that I need to be right,

but la la la, whatever comes after that, but I'm telling you that there's something here for you. I'm telling you, there's something here for you to pay attention to. And the reason I say that is because no one on the planet would say, yeah, I do want to be right all the time, and I will talk over my partner and I will not listen to them,

and I will tune them out, and I will completely invalidate their feelings. Like no one comes at conversation with their partner with that sort of mindset. But it doesn't mean that our behaviors don't sort of project that into the conversation. So even though we don't feel like we're trying to be right, the need to be right is really just about validation of our own experiences,

of our own thoughts and our own beliefs. And my friends, the, if the topic is anything where your identity is wrapped up in it, you gotta know that that is going to be a much more highly charged conversation, right? We can have a conversation about what you wanna eat for lunch, where my identity isn't wrapped up in that. And so we can disagree.

One person wants Chinese food, the other person wants Italian food, and we can come to some kind of compromise and no one feels insulted by that. But if we start talking about maybe our work or how we're parenting, or God forbid we get involved in politics or religion where we know that the other person disagrees, the reason those are such highly charged topics is because our identity gets wrapped up in that.

And there is, that's the exact place where we very much want to feel that we are right, and we do feel that we are right. And so therefore, we take a very strong opinion. And when we express things as though they are fact and truth, because to us they are, it doesn't leave any room for another person's experience. But when you can approach a conversation where you're just expressing your perspective and you're wanting to understand your partner's perspective,

even if it's different, well now we can start having productive conversations. But that's not how most of us approach our conversations. So we get into these situations where we have these miscommunications and it creates disconnection and problems and a lack of feeling really valued and understood inside of what should be our most intimate relationship. So let's talk about how we can do better at this,

how we can just get better at listening. And it sounds like it shouldn't be that hard, and really it's not that difficult. But there are some behaviors that are just habitual that we've gotta become more conscious of, and we've just gotta pay attention to 'em a little bit better. So the first thing is that when your partner is speaking to you, now I'm not talking about something like,

Hey, Joe called me today and he just wanted me to tell you to that his wife said hi. Like, that's not what I'm talking about. But when your partner is communicating with you about something, maybe it was about something that happened in their day, maybe it's something that they're worried about, or maybe it has something to do with the nature of the way that the two of you are relating to one another,

that is the time that when your partner is speaking, they have the floor. Okay? That means close your mouth, open your ears. And what that really means when I say close your mouth, like I know it sounds kind of disrespectful, but what I mean is just stop. Stop moving your body. Stop looking in your phone, stop thinking about what you want to say.

Stop talking and let your partner speak. And then that leads us into the second piece, which is presence. Boy, I am gonna tell you something. Most of us are not practiced at being really fully present, particularly when our partners are speaking to us. So the power of presence, I feel like presence these days is the most valuable gift we can give to another human being because we are so distracted and scattered for most of our waking hours.

So when we actually sit down with someone and we give them our undivided attention and our full energetic presence, it's a real gift. And that's when people feel like you're really listening and you really value what it is that they're trying to share with you. We've gotta set aside our filter. And what I mean by that is that we experience the world, we experience other people's words and their actions and their choices and behaviors.

We experience all that. And it goes through our filter. And our filter is all of our experiences, our fears, our judgements, our beliefs, all the things that make up sort of who we are and what we believe in, and what our values are and those things. And so when our partner is expressing something to us, it is super helpful to set aside our filter.

It doesn't have to agree with us. Their opinion does not have to collide or coincide with exactly with the way that we feel about any particular situation. And so when we can set aside that filter, realizing that what they're sharing is just their perspective, and I'm allowed to have my perspective, you see, we can be in conversation with people without needing them to agree with us.

Because if you approach a conversation where everyone's allowed to have their perspective, now we can really hear one another without it meaning something about us. And that when we start making it mean something about us, that's when we put up our walls, don't we? Right? When it's tied up in our identity and they're saying something that flies in the face of something that I believe is true,

now my walls go up, and now I'm not listening. Now I'm, I'm sort of digging my heels in and justifying why I believe what I believe or why I think the way that I think, or why I choose to do what I choose to do. And my friends, you don't even need to do that because you're, as an adult, you are allowed to do and think anything that you want,

right? So, so far close your mouth and really listen, stop everything and be really present with your partner. Set aside your filter. The next thing is seek to understand your partner. Sounds crazy. When you're listening, you're actually supposed to be wanting to understand them, and you wanna be curious. And this goes into asking questions, not just if,

if you don't understand something that they're expressing to you or you think you're hearing it in a different way than maybe they're expressing it, it's a perfect time to ask questions. So seek understanding. When you're really engaged, you'll know what the next right question is to ask so that you can more deeply understand what it is that that they're trying to communicate. And that leads us to also listening to what is being expressed.

And I mean that in terms of what's being said and also what's not being said. So what we communicate at any given time is really only 7% of that is words. Okay? So we think words are sort of the end all be all, but my friends, they're not. There's a whole bunch of other things going on that really weigh into what is being communicated to another person.

And words are only 7%. So yes, you want to hear their words, and when you don't understand, you wanna ask questions and seek a deeper level of understanding. But when you're really present with someone, you can pick up on what's not being said. You can pick up on those subtleties where their facial expressions change or their body language changes, or they lean back in their chair or they lean forward.

Maybe their tone of voice changes. Maybe they pause right before they say something that that feels very vulnerable or important, right? When you're really present, you can pick up on the things that aren't being said, and then you can understand your partner at a much, much deeper level. And then the last thing I will say is that for the most part,

in our interpersonal relationships, the other person is not going to be willing to hear and really try to understand you if they don't feel like they're ever heard by you. So the exact treatment that you want to receive that feels so good when you are seen and understood and even validated by someone that you love and care about, that very thing that you want,

you've got to be willing to give, right? In every aspect of our marriages, if we are not willing to give the very thing that we want to receive in return, then we're kind of being hypocritical. So we've gotta be willing to give it first. We've gotta be willing to model the behavior first. And I keep saying first because someone has to go first,

and why not you? So often we get in these deadlocks inside of our marriage because, well, I don't wanna be the first one. Like, he never listens to me, so why should I listen to him? Well, then where does that get us? That gets us not communicating. No one feeling heard or understood, and certainly there's no intimacy there.

But if you are just willing to be the one to go first, be the one to listen more than speak, and really take the time and give them your undivided presence so that you can understand your partner at a deeper level, because that's the kind of intimacy that you want to have in your relationship. Be willing to do it first. Be willing to do it 10 times before you ever get it in return.

But if you do it and you do it over and over again and it's consistent, number one, you're gonna start feeling better about your marriage. You're also going to understand your partner more deeply. And the third piece, the piece that I know you really want is they will start giving you that same treatment in return because now they're feeling heard, they're feeling understood and validated.

Alright? So every single one of us on the planet can get better at this, and when we do, it will improve every single relationship that we have. So it's worth doing. All right. I hope that gives you something to think about. Until next time, take really good care. If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer,

it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team. On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and I to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage. Go to clarity for my marriage.com to fill out an application now that's clarity for my marriage.com.

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