“Justin David Boggs, for the love of God, you have got to stop leaving the guest room door open because if our dog rips apart the rug anymore than she already has I’m going to be livid,” I said as if I wasn’t already livid over the matter.

Anticipating him to come back with some lame excuse of justification for why he left the door open again, I began to formulate my magnificent response that I knew without a doubt would destroy any defense he tried to put up.

He responded, I only know that because I saw his lips moving and I heard his voice but, truthfully, I had no clue what he said because I was so busy in my mind reloading my second magazine of audacious statement and biting words that I didn’t actually listen to what he said.

It was another day, another time, another issue that led to this boiling point of anger, impatience, and irritation.  But this time I realized something I never had before.  Often times, I am having a one sided argument with my husband.  What I mean by that is that I am never listening, I am only talking.

And that’s the real issue right there.  I’m so busy in my mind, fuming over what I have just heard and reloaded with all sorts of ammunition to fire back when he’s finished speaking that I never actually listen to what he says.

I’m so busy constructing my response based upon the way I anticipate his response being that I don’t actually listen to what he says.

Often in my marriage, I merely listen so I can respond, not so that I can understand.

We give husbands and men, in general, a hard time for not talking about stuff, not saying how they feel or what they think but the truth is that we don’t listen long enough to actually hear!

They will tell us how they feel or what they think if we shut up and listen long enough to understand instead of listening long enough to respond. 

When I had that realization, that I listen to react and not listen to understand, I knew I had to change.  I wanted to hear to my husband instead of bulldozing over him every time he tired to speak.  There are three small changes I made, things I tried to implement, and the effects were drastic.  If you’re like me and have the tendency to speak more than you listen in your marriage, you may just find these three tips helpful in becoming a better listener.

  1. Don’t Interrupt.

I know, it feels utterly impossible.  In an argument one time my husband actually called me the ‘queen of interrupting’ which I must say was deserved.  But don’t do it.  I literally balled my hands up in a fist and press my fingers to my lips so I will keep my mouth shut sometimes when we are in having intense discussions or arguments.  Zip it until he’s finished speaking, and you might actually hear what he’s saying.

  1. Count To Three Before You Respond.

Yes, it sounds elementary, well, more like just plain stupid.  You don’t have to count out loud, just count to three in your mind, and you’d be amazed at what can happen in three seconds.  Those three brief seconds will quell whatever reflexive response may slip from your lips.  Those three tiny seconds are just enough time for your brain to begin to process what he has just said rather than having it go in one ear and out the other.  Count to three, and you’ll be

  1. Stop Thinking About What You’re Going to Say and Listen to What He’s Saying.

This one may be the most challenging because it’s a battle of the mind but reign it in sister friend.  Stop all the thoughts running through your head, stop construction your response and listen to what he’s saying.  You may be surprised how different you hear the things he’s saying when you are listening to understand rather than listening to respond.