Communication is very critical in Marriages or any relationship for that matter. I actually heard a leader say, “There is no such thing as Generation gap, only communication gap!”. Which come to think of it is actually true. Generation gaps would be omitted if only people would learn to speak up and listen.
I recently started studying Counseling in Asian Theological Institute because now, counselors (yes, all kinds even marriage counselors) are required to take a board exam and get a license before counseling others. One of the subjects that we took (so far) focused on developing the skill of listening. This subject made me realize how a poor listener I was. As our final paper, we were required to listen to a counselee for 10 minutes, record the whole conversation and transcribe it (not easy!) while only practicing listening skills. The only times we can open our mouth was to share our empathic understanding (if I can even remember what that means), reflect their feelings, track what they said, paraphrase what they said or summarize. Three times my professor had to ask me to redo it because I was not listening enough! Unbelievable but very revealing.
I believe many people suffer the same weakness as I do. We would rather be heard than hear people out. In one of our classes, it was mentioned that many of us when we listen we already have our reply regardless of what the person said. We are just waiting for a break to tell our side or while the other person is talking, rather than attentively listen and process what he/she said, we are actually already composing our rebuttal. Now wonder people can’t understand each other.
Please listen to me for a while… God’s word favors listeners rather than the talkers. Check out these verses:
Proverbs 1:5 – Let the wise hear and increase in learning and the one who understands obtain guidance.
James 1:19 – Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.
Proverbs 19:20 – Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain a heart of wisdom.
These are just 3 samples, there are many more. Point is, there is blessing in listening. It is not weakness for “he who listens understands”. I wish I listened more… it is one of my current prayers today. In Marriage, we ought to listen more to our spouses specially that we know we are one and that they love us and wants the best for us.
Last month, we wrote about communication. We talked about how to be clear in what we are trying to communicate. However, regardless of how clear that is, it is not a guarantee that it may be received well. Here are three watch out points that we need to make sure is out of the way so we can be atuned to what the other party is really saying:
a. Distraction – Today we can be busy or distracted about anything… Sometimes we are tired (probably half of us already want to sleep and yet the issue still looms), we are stressed with work or deadlines, we are preoccupied or doing something else (cooking, cleaning, playing or answering SMS or email in your phone) or your mind is simple somewhere else or with another person (like a 3rd party?).
b. Distortion – Many of us listen just to say that we listened, but your mind is made up. You’ve already judged or drawn up your conclusion either intellectually or emotionally. Probably because you think you have all the facts that you need to hear or you’re just so full of emotion.
c. Dis-interest (zone out) – You are not into listening. Perhaps this isn’t a topic that appeals to you. If this was trying to solve something then maybe the goal isn’t your priority.
Good listening is a very most important skills in today’s world. Families must listen to one another to overcome hurdles in life. Corporate employees can use it to solve complex problems quickly and stay on top. Those studying can use this skill to understand complex issues in their fields. Everyone has much to gain by improving one’s listening skill.
In most communication talks I’ve come across, most of them is about how to better speak or write (the “giving side” of communication) rather than on making them better listeners or readers (the “receiving side”).
In reality, communication is more on listening than on speaking. A great listener will understand a poor speaker but regardless of how a good speaker is, a listener who isn’t paying attention have very little to gain. The listener arguably bears more responsibility in making effective communication.
Read more of John and Monique Ong’s WaW Before I Do articles at weddingsatwork.com/category/waw-before-i-do/.
- About John & Monique Ong:
John is a pastor at Revelation City Church, Scuba Diving instructor and owns Imagine Nation photo + Video. He is a graduate of business management at DLSU and took up Masteral in Marketing in the same school and is currently in the Pastoral counseling course at Asian Theological Seminary. Monique is a creative wife / help mate to John, a wedding host and heads Post Ad ventures (an Events Management company), a youth pastor in Revelation and writes in their blog called “an ounce of faith”. She took Tourism in UP Diliman.