Have you ever tried really listening to your partner?

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Has there been a time when your partner says you are shouting but this is only because they are not listening to a word you are saying? Listening skills are what is needed for a couple to make their relationship last. There may be times in the middle of heated discussions where the partner is taken over by emotional hijacking. An emotional hijack refers to a situation in which the amygdala part of the brain takes over. This is the emotional part of the brain and regulates the flight or fight response. This hijack prevents us from making sound, rational decisions.

The art of listening is for the partner to ignore their impulsive feelings or their want to rebut any comments made to them. The partner needs to recognise that they do not need to react like it is a full-on attack on them. If they feel it is a direct attack, in the middle of this tension, the partner then finds it difficult to acknowledge what is really being said. Thus, by missing the main point of a dispute they only hear the perceived insults and negatives. This leads to further times when the partner will interrupt and pay less attention. Therefore, non-defensive listening highlights empathy while also actually taking time to listen to the message and the feelings in what they are being told. This means being calm where the partner is able to mirror the feelings of their other half. 

Of course, the feeling of empathy will deteriorate the more the strong feelings are allowed to rise. The partner needs to allow the other to fully express their complaint without allowing it to move to an attack on them. The partner needs to see the situation from another perspective. Above all, there is room to apologise where the partner can say they are wrong because they have recognised the clear message and emotions from their disgruntled partner.

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