Are You Listening to Your Significant Other?

Now that’s a loaded question, especially during those moments when we’re governed by emotions. Are you familiar with the analogy using a three-legged stool to illustrate the components for a healthy relationship? The legs represent commitment, intimacy (physical and emotional), and communication. Each leg is important, but let’s focus on communication, the one most of us believe we do effectively. In relationships, the gift of effective communication is one that can increase commitment and enhance intimacy.

One of the leading reasons people seek help for their relationship involves communication. Communication challenges usually begin with statements like, “you never listen to me” or “we really need to talk.” Usually this is code for “I know my partner doesn’t hear me or I am not sure I understand them.” Outcomes of a conversation can change considerably depending on the talking and listening styles of those involved. What’s said and how it’s said has profound impact on what’s heard and how it’s understood.

Many failures in communication stem from using an ineffective style of communication. Listening attentively to grasp the message is the key to effective communication in every setting, especially during emotional turmoil in relationships. Active listening is the process of receiving and delivering feedback during a conversation through verbal and nonverbal cues. It can upgrade the communication in your relationship from reactive listening (fight-talk/spite-talk) to explorative listening (search-talk), which helps to arrive at the highest and most impactful communication style called attentive listening (aware-talk). This level of listening helps to identify the emotions behind the words used, allowing for increased empathy and a better grasp of the speaker’s message, helping them to feel heard and understood.

So now you can answer the original question with the response of – “probably not as well as I should, however, I now know how to improve on that and where to get more help to do so.”  If you want to enhance your communication skills and your relationship contact Anthem Strong Families at

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