Building Healthy Marriage: Reactor vs. Respond (Part 3 of 4)
As you know, communication and sharing with your spouse is one of the best ways to connect to your spouse. To bond and connect is learning and recognizing how important you must emphasize listening to your spouse. In part 1 & 2, I discussed hearing your spouse for the purpose of reacting. When your spouse is talking, do you hear to react or do you listen to respond?
To begin with, reactors focus on their spouse hearing words and then giving feedback from a place of anxiousness or fear. Your reaction comes from a place of wanting to fix, accuse or correct your spouse. Reactors want to control and they are looking for how they can fix a mistake or even fix their spouse.
But spouses who respond are focused on listening, not hearing. What do I mean by this? When you respond to your wife, you are focused on yourself, reminding yourself that you need to stop what you are doing, focus on what your spouse is saying, desiring to listen for the sake of understanding.Reactors want to hear so as to correct; a respond spouse wants to listen so as to understand. To listen is to sow healthy traits and patterns. When you listen, you are saying to your spouse how much you value them and your goal is to seek to understand.
So let me ask you this question: In our society today, people are reacting to the political news today by giving their opinion and say what they feel free to say. People today are also reacting to the relationship we are having with our police department and the use of guns. How is your reaction and words on Facebook, Twitter or other places to say something helping the situation? Are your reactions helping?
But in your marriage, are you trying to do something different by listening and wanting to understand your spouse. Our society wants us to react. But learning to respond for the sake of understanding with your spouse is a healthy good thing to do. What if, as a society, we desired to listen and understand our politicians and police department without the urge to just react?
So be different, try not to copy what our society wants us to participate in: reacting. Instead focus on yourself and listen for the sake of understanding your spouse. Reactors want to correct; to respond is to listen to understand. As you respond and listen, I can promise you your spouse will greatly appreciate this and your marriage will improve.