If you want your partner to be honest with you, you have to be a good listener.
Communication is a two-way process.
A good listener –
- is nonjudgmental and open-minded;
- doesn’t jump to conclusions;
- understands that the truth comes out a little at the time, not all at once;
- doesn’t try to impose his or her personal version of the truth on the speaker;
- doesn’t interrupt and allows the speaker to finish talking before responding;
- helps the speaker clarify what is being said;
- can tolerate different opinions without becoming defensive.
People frequently hear something other than what is being said. We misperceive because of our own life experiences. If we frequently become argumentative or have our feelings hurt during conversations, it is helpful to examine our ability to listen without drawing conclusions prematurely.
The way we hear what others say is often more a reflection of us than the other person.
True listening involves looking within and developing the ability to hear correctly what the other person is trying to say. When people have heartfelt talks, their intentions are usually good.
The long-term success of any relationship depends on the ability of the two partners to achieve intimacy through their communication. When the two partners feel isolated from each other and blocked in their ability to achieve the closeness they once felt, it is time to work on expressing their innermost thoughts and feelings to each other. This involves a taking deep look within and a commitment to face the fears which have driven them apart. Telling the truth takes practice, and lots of it – first on your own and then with your partner. Looking within and accepting who you are – and then sharing this with your partner – is healing. It is a way to wholeness, both personally and as a couple.
Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D., LMFT
San Diego Couples and Family Therapy serves the surrounding areas of Sorrento Valley Road as La Jolla, UTC San Diego, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway, University City and Escondido.