Step #2 to Better Intimacy: Active Listening

Have you ever been in a conversation when the other person drifts off and loses attention?  How did you feel?  Did you feel more or less connected?  While annoying as a one-time occurrence, if it becomes a habit between teammates, over time emotional intimacy and the relationship suffer. One fundamental way to mend the brokenness and re-establish connection is by active listening.

Many couples feel like they know a lot about listening, viewing it as a passive activity.  Someone speaks – you just sit and listen. Often that kind of listening is coupled with thinking of how to respond or even tuning the other person out completely. Many couples are amazed to find out that good listening is actually active!

The desire of the speaker is to be understood.

~Al and Autumn Ray.

In active listening the listener seeks to understand the feelings and needs of the speaker. The listener puts aside their desire to find a good “come-back” remark and replaces it with a desire to fully get to know their partner better. It’s a game changer!  

Here are habits that will improve your active listening and intimacy with your teammate:

  1. Attention: Put down the phone, turn off the electronics, and give your teammate your full attention.
  2. No judgement: Focus on what is being said, without judgement or a “rebuttal” in your head.
  3. Clarify: Repeat back not only the content but the feeling of what your teammate has told you. Ask if you “got it right”. Repeat this step until you DO get it “right”.
  4. More: Ask your teammate, “Is there more?”  (if there is, go back to the beginning, Step 1.)
  5. Agree :  On a solution that works for both of you. (Look for more on Dynamic Plays in our April 14th newsletter issue when we tackle “Resolving Conflicts”.)

To see how your listening skills line up, take our free “Listening Skills Self-Assessment”.

Al and Autumn Ray

“Putting the skills into practice that we have learned through the MarriageTeam program has enriched our 56-year marriage. In learning to listen to understand each other, we have gotten to know each other more deeply and have grown to appreciate each other better. The art of active listening to understand may just be our favorite blessing.”

To read more of Kathy and Carl’s reflections click here.

~ Carl and Kathy Collins

MarriageTeam Coaches

Valentine’s Day is not just one day out of the year; it is an attitude that builds a strong and enduring marriage.