Relationship

How Hearing Instead of Listening to your Partner Affects your Relationship

Do you ever get the feeling that your partner is not giving you their full attention? 

OR, have you ever been the person that tuned your partner out? Words come out of their mouths, but all you hear is “blah blah blah,” and it’s going in one ear and out the other. Lately, I have been getting a ton of blog requests on this very subject, and since we go through both instances at our house, I figured it was a great time to talk about it.

 What does hearing but not listening even mean and how does it affect your relationship?

Hearing is a passive action that does not require much effort. In contrast, listening is an active action that involves paying attention to truly understand what the speaker is saying. Therefore, you can easily hear while not listening, but you will be walking away with nothing of what was said versus, understanding the conversation.

Let me give you a scenario:

First, Bini’s facial reactions become a blank stare; then he starts to give me a look you give someone that is speaking a different language, to which you completely do not understand. Lastly and only when I ask him if he is listening to what I am saying does he start to agree with me by replying with “ah-ha” and “hmmm” and nodding his head. WHICH DRIVES ME CRAZY. 



We all know communication is the key to any successful relationship. You have to be able to listen and understand each other which comes with RESPECTING one another. When your partner doesn’t feel heard or understood, they also tend to feel as though the respect factor in the relationship is lost. It then starts a domino effect that will have all pieces falling. What’s worse is that it creates a gap that wasn’t there before which can lead to other problems.

I’ve seen this happen in so many times marriages, including my own. The wife feels unheard and not understood by her husband, which turns to bitterness and anger, and the husband doesn’t know why she is bitter and angry, so he starts to get annoyed by her actions. Still not listening to a word she is saying. As she repeats herself over and over again so he can understand; he takes it as her nagging and completely stops listening to her. This only makes her angrier. Now the wise couples are the ones that acknowledge what is happening and learn from it together owning up to their mistakes. The prideful people are the ones that allow the tension to create gaps in their marriage which ultimately can lead to all kinds of other problems.

I believe communication and respect go hand in hand for a successful relationship. I’ll keep saying that because it is the foundation of a solid marriage. When we listen to a person, we are showing them that we respect and value what they have to say regardless of whether we agree or disagree. However, when the respect level decreases, we all tend to tune that person out.

It’s okay, be honest, we’ve all done this to our partners sometime in our relationship. Bini and I still do it to each other. Looking back at our fights though, we weren’t thinking about disrespecting each other at the time or what it could do to our relationship. No, the only thing we were focused on at that moment was the fight itself and being right, and all fights tend to mostly start with “you aren’t listening to me.”

So ladies, let’s all look back at our relationships... spouses, boyfriends, fiancées and see where/when we have tuned them out of our lives. How about this…what if we listened to understand first and then to be understood? Imagine what that would look like if the people we cared for felt understood. Let’s lead by example.

If you’re a part of my YES challenge this month, feel free to add this to your list. I know I will be.  

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Are you an active listener? How so?

Until next week!

Yours,