How To Make Your Spouse Really Listen



This is a post from Elizabeth Davis of

There are time that are hard in marriage.
You both have your own lives, your own problems, and your own issues. That’s normal.
What isn’t normal is when your partner switches off to your needs and emotions.
Has your partner has ever done one of these things?

  • Switches off when you start speaking and doesn’t pay attention
  • Shuts down as soon as an argument starts, like they don’t even care
  • If you have an issue or problem, they don’t seem to want to help or even understand what’s going on in your life

If so, your partner isn’t giving you the attention you may be looking for.
A relationship is about giving and receiving. If one person in the relationship isn’t giving their fair share, problems will quickly start to arise. And these problems need solving before they develop into resentments or relationship-breaking issues.
Does this sound familiar?
“Hey babe, what do you want for dinner?”
“Whatever, I don’t mind.”
“…oookay. What’s wrong?”
From there, it just spirals downwards into a full blown argument you had no idea was coming. One second everything was good; you were happy, the day was going well. The next second, all hell has broken loose. You’re about ready to break down or hit them, maybe both.
Where did this come from? More importantly, how do you solve it? And how can you prevent this from becoming a common issue?
Thankfully, you’re not alone in this. Many people in relationships experience this problem in their marriages and they, with their partners, have quickly worked through issues just like yours. Just like them, you can help get through this issue with your partner, without coming to blows.
Below is a list of great things you can do to help your partner understand what they’re doing, how they can help you fix it, and how you can both patch things up and make your relationship stronger and more loving than ever.
Tip #1: Remove Yourself From The Hostile Situation
When it comes to arguing, both partners can think they’re the one in the right. The problem is, when you’re all hyped up on adrenaline, you don’t think straight. You’re in fight or flight mode, and all your biology cares about is defending yourself in whatever way it deems best.
The best thing to do is to remove yourself from hostile and angry situations like this; come back to those problems later when you’ve calmed down and are reacting in a relaxed and open manner.
You can remove yourself from these situations by saying something like: “I think it’s best if we talk about this later, when we’re both calmer.” That way, it isn’t perceived as you running away from the issue, but also doesn’t place all the blame on them.
Tip #2: When Approaching The Issue, Get Rid Of Distractions And Focus
That means both of you. Turn off the TV, leave phones on silent, and close the laptop.
This is important; if one or both of you aren’t serious about trying to fix the problem, and are only half paying attention, there’s going to be further issues.
Not only that, you or your partner are going to get upset, due to the lack of attention. So set a relaxed and distraction-free environment. Focus on each other. Sit opposite or next to each other, and really focus.
Tip #3: Talk From The ‘I’ Point Of View
I’m sure you’ve seen the resulting fallout when you start a sentence with: “I hate it when you…”
Standing next to a bomb would be safer. Saying something along these lines only fuels your partner’s anger and triggers their defensive mechanisms; no one wants to feel like everything is their fault. And that is what they feel when you phrase the accusation like that.
Instead, start by saying “It upsets me when…” or “I sometimes feel angry when you do…” This shows your partner that what they are doing is hurting you, and that should get some bells ringing in their head. After all, you’re both married; you obviously love each other, enough to wed. Using this style of phrasing will ensure the discussion starts openly, and with feeling.
Tip #4: Don’t Talk From Emotions, So Much As With Visual Cues
By all means, don’t forget to express your emotions. Without them, your partner won’t realize just how much of an impact these things are having on you. But if you want them to understand why you are feeling the way you are, and you want them to relate to you, use visual statements. Remember, no one can read minds. Make sure how you feel is crystal clear.
So try to use visual cues like: “For example, when I hear you do ‘X’ and that means we can’t do ‘Y’, can you see how that makes me feel?” Explaining it clearly and giving visual examples of how things they have done have upset you will help tremendously to get them to understand your position, rather than just considering their own.
Tip #5: Get Them To Think From Your Perspective, Not Just Their Own
This follows from the previous tip. Remember, initially, they’re only going to be considering how all of this is making them feel. You’ve got to help your partner understand where you’re coming from, and why you are feeling the way you are.
See the previous tip for an example of what I mean.
Tip #6: Use Past Grievances To Demonstrate Your Point
This one is great. Has there ever been a time when you wound your partner up? Made them mad?
Drove them crazy to the point of insanity? Tell them about it. Say something like this: “Remember that time when I did ‘X’ and you reacted by ‘Y’? That’s exactly how I’m feeling now.”
This helps them to relate further with what’s going on, and if they can understand how it feels for you, you’re much more likely to come to a healthy conclusion.
Tip #7: Recap Your Discussion
Once everything has been said and done, make sure that your partner understands what you’ve just discussed. Get them to explain their side, how they feel, and their understanding of what you’ve discussed.
If you end the discussion, and they’ve not fully understood what’s happened, it’s only going to happen again. Worse, you’ll assume they’re now just doing ‘X’ out of spite or ignorance. Make sure your partner understands what the core problem is, and how they can help fix it.
So there are the seven tips you can try next time an argument starts. They’ve been used before and have achieved very successful results.
Elizabeth Davis is a well known and respected relationship adviser. Visit her website where she offers free, no-holds-barred counseling, friendship and support to anyone experiencing difficulties in their marriage.