Listen to Show Understanding, Then Be Understood!
The ABIDE in LOVE message for the week is that most people who practice Showing Understanding (active listening, reflective listening) find that problems are solved faster, misunderstandings are eliminated, and the speaker gains relief and is grateful to the listener.
There are some who are wary of attempting to listen in that manner - maybe through fear of doing it wrong, being laughed at, or sounding condescending,
No skill is ever easy at the beginning; there are always mistakes while you are mastering a skill and it's difficult to understand what people mean - but those who work through the awkward moments have a powerful helping technique to give their loved ones.
When someone has a problem and/or expresses an emotion, give them the gift of demonstrating that you understand - show that you really hear them.
Guess at the feelings expressed: "You're worried?" "That was so frustrating!"
Or repeat a few of the words you heard: "You didn't know what was best." "It was so hard to figure out."
Let your partner know that you want to hear him or her. Ask for patience as you practice acknowledging problems and feelings. When you have a few successes it's very reinforcing for you both to know that it makes a difference. Active Listening says, "You are important to me, I accept your feelings, nothing you say is trivial."
To help couples in your community build stronger relationships in these tough times, contact Glenn & Gwen Tilton of Abide in Love, Healthy Marriage for United Methodists, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Bea Strickland of Building Better Marriages, The Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment, at BeaStrickland@aol.com.