my friend, Rich Erasmus, has been married for seventeen years to his lovely wife Cindy, and has some nuggets of wisdom to share with us in the area of one way you can love your spouse better:
‘I would say one of the most important ways that I have “learned to love my wife better”, is through a technique I was introduced to during an “Imago” course.
Bottom line … I learned to listen to my wife better (never a bad thing).
Picture a husband and a wife sitting, facing each other with their knees touching.
The wife says “Hubby, I want to speak with you about you being at work when the kids and I really need you.”
Hubby replies “Wifey, I hear you saying that you want to speak with me about me being at work when you and the kids really need me.”
He then asks “Did I hear you correctly?”
If she says “Yes, you did”, then he asks the next question “is there more?”
… and so the conversation continues … until she says “that is all”.
It’s a conversation that is (at the end of the day) very one sided, in that the “sender” (in this case the wife) is determining the direction and the content of the whole conversation.
The “receiver” (hubby) has the humbling role of listening carefully (no … not justifying / explaining / contradicting / adding or interpreting), mirroring accurately (saying exactly what has just been said to him) and then inviting more explanation.
Let me admit that at first (if done properly) it is a super awkward tool … but man alive, it has really taught me a thing or 2 about genuinely listening to the heart of my wife, without belittling / undermining her.
I wish I could explain more (it is bigger than the above sample) … but I guess the bottom line is that effective communication often falls apart in a marriage purely because effective listening is a forgotten art.
If we are prepared to take the “weaker position” of just sitting, listening and asking for more explanation … I wonder how much more sympathy and empathy would enter the marriage … and out of that how much more love and connection.
Hope this helps someone.
Have a great day.