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4 Easy Steps to Getting Your Spouse to LISTEN

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

A large part of my job requires me to be a public speaker. One of the reasons attempting to communicate to a large group of people can be a very difficult task is because of how fast we can process spoken words. One article from NY Times stated that we can understand speech at a rate of up to 400 words per minute. The average person speaks 140-180 words per minute. This gives our brain a lot of "time" to be doing things other than listening, while we are listening.

Similarly, neuroscientist Amishi Jha gave a Ted talk a couple of years ago called, "How to Tame Your Wandering Mind." In it, she states that our minds are dwelling on "off-task thoughts," 50% of the time!

You know what is interesting about how I process all of this?

When it comes to public speaking, my audience might only be hearing half of what I say but I feel responsible. I need to do a better job at crafting lessons and messages that will grab their attention and keep it. I need to speak faster, have better stories, better intonation and more practice.

But, when it comes to communicating things to my wife...

If she only hears 50% of what I've said I will usually blame her and maybe even feel offended.

That's not really fair.

Although it is not right to absolve the listener of any responsibility, I admit that as the speaker I must own my fair share. From there I will propose some ideas for better communication and retention for those who really want to be heard by their spouses.

  1. START RIGHT. The first step to having someone's attention is getting their attention. Say their actual name and then wait for them to acknowledge you. If their head is buried in their phone or they are occupied in some other task, your entering the room does not grant you their automatic full attention.

  2. GET TO THE POINT. This sounds abrupt and a little harsh, but even with married people, in our world and day and age, if you don't say what you want to, you run the risk of losing the attention you just got. This does not mean that couples shouldn't have time to just talk - they absolutely should. It means that if your spouse is busy or their mind is otherwise occupied, you may need to communicate your desire to "just talk." Something like, "Hey Honey, there are a couple of things I wanted to run by you, maybe after the kids go to bed we can talk about them?" or "Husband, can you put your phone down for half an hour and let me vent about my day?"



    1. BE THANKFUL - that's it. Its good practice to let the person know that you appreciate them turning off the rest of the world to listen to you for 5 seconds or 5 minutes.

    2. RECAP. People get distracted, even after you've gotten their attention. I do. I do the, "uh huh, uh huh - wait what did you say?" When the conversation is winding down, recap your main points with questions, let them repeat them back. Something like, "so what time are you going to put the casserole in the oven? Mmm hmm. And what temperature?" This is much better than, "DID YOU HEAR ANYTHING I JUST SAID!?"

Our minds will still wander and communication may never be easy, but putting these tips into practice will make for less stress and more effective conversations in your marriage.

image by Orangereebok via

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1 comentario

Mariam Max
Mariam Max
06 mar 2022

My boyfriend left me for another girl for some silly reasons. He keeps telling me that I am nothing to him. He said he wants to be with the other girl. that he has no feeling for me anymore. This started more than one month ago. By this time he also speaks to me but not in his own mood or to rebuild our relationship. He does so because I request him to be with me at least for some hours or some minute… we talk only once …but I can’t stay without him. I want him back.. I was really worried and I needed help, so I searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested…

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