Tips for Listening Article | CoupleTalk


4 Ways to Deepen Conversations in Your Relationship

Four things YOU can do to improve communication and intimacy with your partner.

STEP #1: LISTEN – to yourself!

The way you communicate may be part of the problem. Although that may sound discouraging, that’s actually good news, because you don’t have to wait until your partner changes to start changing your relationship!

For example, think back to the last time you and your partner had a conversation. Did you wish your partner communicated more with you? Did you wish you and your partner were able to understand each other more deeply?

If so, ask yourself what you were doing during that conversation:

  • What words were you using?
  • What tone of voice did you use?
  • How you were acting? What did your body language communicate to your partner when they were speaking?

The more you become aware of your own communication habits, the more you can improve them!

The CoupleTalk program uses self-assessments to “awaken” you to the way you communicate.

STEP #2: Become a “safe” listener.

What’s your body language like when your partner is talking to you? Are you looking at the phone rather than making eye contact? Waiting for your partner to pause so that you can dispense your “wise advice” (which your partner probably receives as criticism or nagging)?

Next time, do the following:

  • Remove distractions. Put the phone down. Put the kids in bed.
  • Show with your body that you’re interested in what’s being said.
  • Focus on becoming open and accepting of your partner’s point of view. This shows respect.

The two of you can practice some great listening exercises that’ll bring you closer in CoupleTalk Part 1: Cracking the Code to a Deeper Relationship.

STEP #3: Listen – with empathy.

Listening with empathy involves focusing on what’s going on with your partner. The next time your partner is speaking, to listen with empathy, do the following:

  • Set your own questions, advice, criticism aside. It’s not about you right now!
  • Pay close attention to what he/she is saying – with their words and their body language.
  • Use what you know about your partner to imaginatively place yourself in their shoes. What is your partner feeling that hasn’t (yet) been said? What are they concerned about? What do they want?

Once you’re experiencing empathy like this for your partner, you’ll notice that your reactions will be more sensitive, more caring, more compassionate.

The core of CoupleTalk is Listening with Empathy – a unique listening method that has helped thousands of couples reconnect and resolve problems.

STEP #4: Give appreciations – as often as possible!

Researchers say that it takes a large quantity of compliments/positive statements (ranging from 5 up to 23!) to counteract the negative “ego blow” from just one criticism. So, what’s your appreciation-to-criticism ratio?

We tell couples that if there’s one takeaway from the CoupleTalk program, it’s the importance of expressing – out loud – those positive things we feel and think about our partner, but too often keep inside.

  • “Catch your partner doing good” – and tell them about it! Out loud!
  • Tell them what you admire about them, something they do for you that you appreciate, a character quality they have.
  • It doesn’t have to be a deep, dramatic expression of love (although those are great too!), but just say a simple, “You’re really good at (insert partner’s strength here), and it makes me feel (insert your positive feeling here). Thanks!”

So, start building the appreciation habit, and practice healthy listening. It’ll do wonders for your relationship!

CoupleTalk teaches couples effective communication skills to create a closer connection. Join authors Don and Alex Flecky for a 5 part CoupleTalk series online in January 2022.