How do I stop pissing off my husband

Listening and being heard: How do I get my partner to really listen to me?

A marriage counselor often hears sentences in his practice that sound very definitive - for example, “My partner never says anything” or “My partner is always talking”. In order to avert the impending separation or to save the marriage, such sentences must be put into perspective so that there is again space for optimism, hope and positive surprises. Your partner says nothing? You are sure to be able to get him to speak (again). Your partner is talking and talking and you miss out? You are sure to be heard and you can convince your partner of it too. After all, you are ready and determined to give your love and your partnership another chance and to solve your relationship problems - otherwise you would not be here.

People who express their thoughts and feelings usually find what they say is important - in general or right now, for themselves and for the person you are speaking to. Statements such as "My partner is not listening to me properly" or "You do not understand me" are important because they indicate stress and unresolved, but probably solvable, problems. On the other hand, such an allegation is very abstract. Concrete suggestions for direction or action are missing, as are clear prospects of success or wages. The recipient is in a sense in the rain.

Ask yourself: what exactly do you want my partner to understand? What should be heard? What do I want to express and why is it worth hearing for my partner? What does it mean to him when he understands? Be specific if you want to be understood. And speak to your partner directly if you want them to really listen to you. Establish a clear reference so that he knows that he is meant or asked. Think about how you, as a behavioral researcher, would get people to listen attentively and empathetically or how you would enjoy practicing this ability.

Tips for everyday life - talking and listening

Here are a few practical tips that anyone can take to heart in everyday life to help them be heard and understood more clearly.

1. Use images, metaphors, and comparisons that your partner understands.

Pictorial language is concrete. She turns on the head cinema, awakens memories and personal associations. Your partner may have told you about an experience in which they felt themselves misunderstood, left alone, or treated unfairly. Then he will listen attentively and understand you better if, instead of "You don't understand me", you say: "I feel like you did back then when ..."

Images and metaphors appeal to emotions and, to a high degree, to empathy. Many practically belong to the common good without this reducing their effectiveness. Every person can fill old metaphors with life or open new ones based on their experience. How do you feel when your partner is not listening to you, when they are inattentive, when they do not understand you or they misunderstand you? As if you were standing in front of a locked door? When did you fight windmill blades? As if your home planet was suddenly alien to you? As if you were starving to death in front of a set table? As if you were all alone in the desert, in the wilderness, in a haunted house? Or do you have a completely different, strong image in your head? Share this with your partner and let them participate so they can empathize with you instead of having to defend themselves against or flee from abstract allegations.

In addition to compassion and understanding, you probably want your partner to behave in a certain way. Think beforehand what exactly that should look like - men are not the only ones who appreciate clear messages. It has to be something that your partner can implement, something of which you immediately have something that you can directly acknowledge and praise - maybe even again with a strong metaphor. "If you do that (the desired behavior), I feel as liberated / understood / accepted as you did when ..."

If you haven't known your partner for a long time, or if you've had little routine with vivid speaking, take some time before the conversation to think about what you want to achieve and how you can get your partner closer to it. There are also numerous metaphors for expressing positive feelings that everyone understands: It feels like someone is taking a load off one's shoulders. As if I had won the lottery. Like seeing the first snowdrop after a long, hard winter. Like our first kiss.

2. There are many ways and reasons for speaking and listening

People talk to be understood. But also to let off steam, to be able to sort your thoughts better while speaking, to see yourself more clearly or simply because you like to talk. There are also many reasons for listening: We listen in order to be informed about facts or current events, to share thoughts and moods, to feel closeness and warmth or to hear about the voice, the tone, the words of a loved one To please people.

Everyone has a need to talk and listen. But it is not the same for every person. If your partner talks less or more, if it takes him longer or less to get to the point, if he is sometimes complicated or awkwardly expressed, or if he is allergic to certain topics / expressions, beware of rude criticism, ridicule or nagging at Canned. If you notice that certain behaviors are making communication difficult or preventing it, tell your partner how you are feeling and what it is causing you, and work together to find possible alternatives.

If you wish your partner would have a certain behavior, think about what he could do instead - or ask him what other options he sees for himself. Prohibitions and condemnations are not usable instructions for action if they contain no alternatives or ways out. Accept if your partner “ticks” differently than you when speaking and listening, and evaluate the content or results of the communication before criticizing its nature or possible reasons. And trust yourself and each other (again) more, also when speaking and listening.

3. Listen properly yourself (again)

People who feel chronically misunderstood or who do not get their money's worth when communicating with their partner often tend to be impatient or to behave resignedly in conversations. On the one hand, they demand more attention and understanding, but on the other hand, they hardly trust their partner in this area or have already given up inwardly. In marriage counseling or couple therapy, both partners can learn to break up destructive structures and to see and practice listening again as a worthwhile investment.

Let your partner have their say and do not interrupt him - also and especially if you think you already know exactly what he will say next. Interrupting a person is a very negative message. By doing this, you are making it clear to him that he is so predictable that listening to him is a waste of time. This feeling may be understandable in anger or in acute arguments, but it is neither constructive nor fair. Because if your partner really isn't worth listening to, why should you care that they listen to you? Then you could part with each other right away.

Many couples become more and more stingy with their speaking time over time. Then either there is hardly any talk or both talk at the same time. Many couples need more space and opportunities for intimate and intensive conversations. In marriage and couple counseling you will learn how to recapture, recreate and maintain such spaces. Put an end to the vicious cycle of saving time and emotions and rely on generosity again - she is one of the favorite sisters of love.