“”Empathetic listening requires a change of mind-set. It is a conscious choice to hear your spouse clearly. You create an atmosphere for empathetic listening when you say to your spouse, “I want to hear what you are saying because I know it is important to you and I value our relationship.” Having stated your objective, give your spouse your undivided attention. tion. Put the book down, turn the TV off, and lay aside the pencil. When your spouse stops talking, repeat what you have heard him or her say, making ing clarifying statements such as, “What I hear you saying is . . .” or “I think what you said is …” “Is that right?” Continue to ask clarifying questions until your spouse assures you that he or she feels heard and understood. Although this approach to listening may be difficult to learn, it is extremely rewarding because it will lead you and your spouse to greater understanding.”” Gary Chapman

PUTTING THE PRINCIPLES INTO PRACTICE 1. Memorize this statement and use it with your spouse the next time you have a conversation or a conflict: “I want to hear what you are saying because I know it is important to you and I value our relationship.” 2. Consider making a sign that reads: “I am a listener.” Pick it up and hold it while your spouse is talking. 3. Try this response the next time your spouse shares an idea: “What I hear you saying is . Is that correct?” 4. When your spouse starts talking, put down the magazine or turn off the television, and give your spouse your undivided attention. Look into his or her eyes as you listen. 5. Do not share your own perspective until you get a positive response to these three questions: “Do you feel as if I understand what you are saying?” “Do you feel as if I respect your ideas?” “Is this a good time for me to share my thoughts?” 6. After each conversation, using the scale of 1-10, rate yourself on how well you followed suggestions 1-5 above.

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