The Power of Listening

The Power of Listening
Fecha de publicación: 
27 March 2024
Imagen principal: 

Living as a couple imposes many challenges on us. It’s not possible to empathize with another person in absolutely every aspect, much less with the person we live with on a daily basis because, unlike other relationships – friendship or work – we can’t evade or flee from those who accompany us in life.

It’s logical that there are differences, in fact, in them often lies the balance and the exotic or attractiveness we find in others. The problem is turning problems into an open war, imposing criteria, not having the ability to debate calmly to reach an agreement, and, above all, not listening. This affects the process of reasoning and overcoming any setbacks.

Let's start from the fact that communication is essential in a couple's relationship, but it doesn't just consist of talking, it’s important to give the other person space to express their criteria. If only one person speaks, it’s not a conversation, it’s a monologue, and this is one of the most repeated issues. That’s why in this space we want to address today the skills that we can improve by following simple tips to encourage understanding and tolerance because, in truth, an environment of continuous discussions will never be healthy if we want to live in harmony.

Yes, because many times we don’t understand the other's behavior and we shut ourselves off without giving them the chance to explain themselves to reflect together and solve the dilemma. The worst thing is when a small altercation lasts over time, grows bigger, and suddenly we don't even know how we got to that point where we don't even know how to get out because pride or stubbornness traps us.

The couple's relationship requires constant communication, and so that the dialogue does not deteriorate we need to take into account that the reason is not absolute. As in life, everything is subjective because everyone looks, first of all, from their point of view, and it’s normal that at first we lose perspective and believe that we communicate well, and that it’s the other person who doesn’t understand us.

The feeling that we are the ones who are right and that we no longer have anything to learn is wrong. Perhaps this is the reason why we often don't even ask what it’s unclear to us, we don't even try to understand, and of course we don't even value the possibility of correcting.

Such a posture is common to be accompanied by other behaviors such as being clinging and reacting with irony, strength; it can also lead us to ignore, remain silent or reduce contact for days; be elusive, despise or minimize the importance of the matter, or on the contrary, be insistent and untimely, to the point of being annoying. All of these are reactions that a couple can experience for the sole reason of not solving a difficulty, without necessarily diminishing love, therefore, it’s unfortunate to sometimes reach a crisis over trifles.

Experts in affective psychology say that we can avoid these damages that come from poor communication management, and that sometimes they are irreversible. Sometimes it’s just enough to learn to regulate emotions, and this doesn’t mean that it’s an easy task, but it can be tried. With emotional intelligence, and as much as possible without impulse, let's try to think and anticipate what we say to avoid hurting or leaving second interpretations.

But if we are already in the middle of a heated discussion, confused, uncomfortable, the best thing may be to cool off, let some time pass for each person to collect their thoughts and then manage to talk calmly. Let's think that being upset is not the best state to decide or talk about, the ideal is to find the right moment for both, but never, never leave it unfinished because I feel that this only creates voids in the relationship.

Indeed, it’s essential to express our point of view not to want to “win” but to reach a middle ground and, even if it’s difficult for us, we must allow the other the chance of expressing themselves, so that they also heard. Perhaps after the pause we have better organized the speech that was previously unclear and caused discomfort. Perhaps the controversy comes because we did not hear the whole idea, because we understood it wrong, because it contradicts our preferences, and, thus, many other options.

Not infrequently we will have to give in, apologize, and also accept them to make peace, and when that happens it’s advisable not to reproach or hold back. Let's remember that living as a couple does not mean that we will agree on everything, and that it’s not good to respond impulsively. This applies both to love and to any social bond.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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