Listening Matters: Lubricant for Healthy Communication in Marriage
Listening and Transmissions
Listening skills are a vital component to the vehicle of marriage. Marriage and cars have much in common. For example, a car has a frame (foundation), a shell (the body) and an engine. Together they become a vehicle. Without each other, they are just parts. They need to be combined to make something that is capable of moving. How well they function depends on the maintenance and care it receives. Forward moving marriages also operate according to the care and focus given to them. One of those vital components is listening skills. Listening to one another is the lubricant in the transmission of marriage.
The transmission plays a vital role in moving a car forward. The vehicle (relationship) relies on the transmission (communication) to transfer the engine’s power to the wheels with the purpose of moving the vehicle ahead. The transmission fluid (listening) enables cooling and lubrication, which helps to transmit force & pressure along with preventing build-up. Couples can handle the pressure and changes in marriage by mastering listening and communication skills.
Marriage and transmissions require maintenance. If we neglect caring for them, we will notice any number of problems. Diagnosing the symptoms of a marriage with dirty filters reacts much like an unattended transmission.
- Lack of Response
- Whining, Clunking
- Leaking/Low Fluid
- Grinding or Shaking
- Burning Smell
- Refuses to Go Into Gear
It can be easy to allow the grind of daily responsibilities to burn up our grease and affect our ability to listen to each other. Sometimes, it is all used up by the time we arrive home from work, or from caring for children all day. Also, we can become blind and deaf to the clunking sounds in the marriage. Our “fluid” becomes sticky and it gunks up our filters. Over time, our transmissions (communication) begins to suffer and break down. Relationships experience the same symptoms that an unattended transmission exhibits.
Exercising active listening keeps the vehicle of marriage running smoothly. The maintenance keeps the gears greased and propelling forward. Taking care of our fluid (listening ability) improves our intimacy in marriage.
- Make listening a priority: Make eye contact and resist devising a response.
- Don’t interrupt: Let them finish what they are saying.
- Keep an Open Mind: Don’t judge.
- Give feedback: Do respond with “uh-huh” or “yeah,” but something that says “I heard.”
- Focus: Ask questions if you need to clarify for understanding
- Advice: Don’t give it, unless asked for it. You cannot listen and talk simultaneously.
Successful and flourishing marriages have mastered the art of listening. Listening to each other is the lube for Communication: The Heart of the Matter. In a healthy marriage, both must perform efficiently to achieve forward movement.