Listening to Each Other
The following is an exercise which will help you to start listening better to each other and to communicate and /or negotiate with each other more fully:
- Each of you gives the other your undivided attention for 10 minutes.
- This is best done in a quiet place away from all distractions such as children, pets, phones, t.v., traffic, etc.
- The person who is sharing commits himself or herself to using ” I ” statements only. They never refer to the ” listener ” in any way. The person sharing doesn’t have to talk. Talking is just one of many ways of communicating. They can cry, laugh, mime, recite poetry, etc. Something that expresses their feelings, hopes, fears, anger, moods, etc. either at the time of the exercise or over some other longer period of time.
- The person listening does only that…just listening. They do not speak at all and they are spacially and emotionally ” just there for ” their partner.
- The person listening promises to never ” bring up ” the issues revealed by the sharing person at any time in the future.
- After the exercise is over the couple can review, assimilate and learn a great deal about what transpired during the exercise.
Many people report that they are amazed at how good it feels to be able to express their feelings without the fear of being interrupted and without the fear that what they share will be used against them later. Many report that it is the first time that they ever felt that their message was being heard by the other person. Many report that it is the first time that they ever felt that somebody was really listening to them in their whole life!!!
- Some of the topics that couples can share during this exercise are:
- About the good and/or bad aspects of their life.
- About an issue that hurts them badly.
- About an issue that brings them great joy.
- About something that they would like to apologize for or be apologized to for. About something that they would like to give or receive thanks for.
- About a boundary that they have which needs to be respected.
- About something that they would like to be recognized for.