Getting Your Lover to Listen and Understand You | Author: Paul Sterling & Kristin Denton


He doesn't listen anymore....I talk to her, but it's like she doesn't even hear me! Sound familiar?

When people sign up for our eZine at our Magic Relationship dot com website, they have a chance to ask us any relationship communication question.

These questions have become an amazing list of things that are bothering people all around the world -- ranging from issues around money, sex, and jealousy, to dealing with step-children, ex-lovers and in-laws.

There's a lot of consistency to the questions, and one we're seeing over and over again is this: "My lover doesn't listen to me anymore. How can I do to get them to listen?"

The Language of Peace (LOP) is the communication method we teach and which we'll be describing here. You can read more about it by requesting our special report at the website listed in our bio.

LOP works by connecting and expressing the feelings and needs of both people in a conversation. So, here's the question: "My lover doesn't listen to me anymore. How can I do to get them to listen?"

First, let's review some of the common reasons people stop listening. Anytime someone thinks they are being verbally attacked, or being made wrong or whenever they take what you are saying personally, they want to cut and run.

When people use guilt, shame, blame, anger, or duty and obligation to try to get their needs met, these demands will send the listener hiding in the safety of silence.

There is an expression that "The message sent is rarely the message received!" Meaning what you say is rarely what they heard. Sometimes we try to send a message of love and caring and our partner will hear instead that they are BAD, STUPID and WRONG. Have you ever run into that? It's actually quite common.

So, the first step to making sure that your partner is able to hear you is to make sure it's even a good time to talk. Then, before you start talking, get clear about your intent in discussing this. Is your intent to build a case against the person and prove why they are bad, stupid and wrong? (see our article, "The 5 Relationship-Wrecking Communication Mistakes.") Or, is your intent to build a strong connection, caring and support with your partner?

Once you have decided that you'd rather have connection, express this to your partner. Then, start with a specific observation about the incident that triggered your upset.

The first thing to say in this case where your need to be heard is not being met, is to state an observation, speaking from the heart: "When I was talking to you just now, you turned around and walked away.... "

This is an observable behavior. We try to get away from stating generalities like, "You never listen to me!" That'll only create more problems. It's best to wait until you observe the behavior again, and then start your communication with an observation.

Next connect the feelings and needs you're experiencing when this happens. "When you turned around and walked away while I was talking, I felt both sad and frustrated at the same time, because I have a need for connection with you...."

Try to stay with true feelings and needs. You can see a list of these on Dr. Marshall Rosenberg's website, cnvc dot org - he is the creator of the nonviolent communication method on which the Language of Peace is based.

Try to stick to the feelings and needs on these lists because it's so easy to become confused about how to express your own feelings and needs. If you're like any other human being on this planet, you've learned over the years to hide your true feelings and needs. Sometimes it takes looking at the list just to remind yourself of what you could be experiencing!

Also, we often confuse a thought for a feeling, or a strategy for a need. But we'll go into that later in another article.

Finally, the last step to the communication in the situation, is to make a request. Ask, "Would you be willing to tell me what you heard me say?" This is ABSOLUTELY necessary!

Without it, you don't know what story your partner making up in their head about what you just said. It could be anything. So ask this question and see what they say.

Next, you'll want to find out what goes on for your partner in these 'not listening' situations. The conversation for that looks like this: "When you start watching TV like that when I'm talking, I'm guessing you might be feeling anxious and needing autonomy and that's your way of trying to get those needs met. Am I close?"

It might take repeating this question several times suggesting different feelings and needs to help your partner identify their true inner workings.... but its so worth the effort! You'll feel so much more connected just working on this part of the communication.

Once you're both clear on what your feelings and needs are in the situation, THEN you can start looking at strategies (ways) that will make sure that BOTH of your feelings and needs are met.

This communication technique, the Language of Peace, is fairly simple. The hard part is working up the courage to actually sit down and have the conversation. You risk your partner's anger or criticism. But you also create the opportunity for being really close and intimate with your partner.




About the Author:

Kristin Denton & Paul Sterling teach relationship communication skills -- live seminars and tele-classes including ' The 4 Steps To Instant Intimacy & Understanding'- 'The 5 Relationship-Wrecking Communication Mistakes.' To get a free copy of 'The 5 Mistakes Report' go to http://www.magicRelationship.com/freeaccess .