1. Paraphrase what you hear. Repeat what your partner said back to him or her in your own words. Give your partner a chance to agree that what you heard is what he or she actually meant.
2. Check out their feelings. Ask your partner for clarification about what he or she is feeling. Sometimes anger is really frustration, regret is really sadness. Emotions can be misinterpreted. Ask your partner for specifics.
3. Make what they’re saying a priority. Stay away from distractions while you’re listening. You can do this by not answering your phone, not retrieving texts, shutting off the computer, and turning off the TV. Despite what you may think, you cannot do two things at once well.
4. Validate and respect your partner’s point of view. You don’t have to agree with your partner’s opinion, but it is important that you allow your partner his or her own feelings.
5. Listen with your entire body. The way to show your partner you are listening to what he or she is saying is to show it with your body. Make eye contact, nod your head, turn your body toward your partner, and lean forward rather than away
Excerpted from 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great by Terri L. Orbuch, Ph. D. Copyright © 2009 by Terri L. Orbuch, Ph. D. Excerpted by permission Delacorte , a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.
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