The Holiday Season: Marriage Tips (Part 3 of 7)

Greetings. In the next 7 weeks, I want to write to spouses and to your marriage about how the two of you are going to experience this holiday season. I will use the word holiday by writing about each letter to give your marriage some tips about how to experience this season. I hope you find these tips helpful. In the first two blogs, H is for happy and O is for our time.

The next letter is L for listening. During this holiday season, I want your marriage to be about listening. As you know, in the story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Grinch gets angry and annoyed with all the noise. The noise just bothers him and he tries to snuff the noise in his strategy to steal Christmas by taking away all the stuff of Christmas from the village.

After he had stolen everything, he heard the noise a second time and listened. When he listened, his heart and mind grew as he recognized the music of the village people. I don’t know about you, but the holiday season can be very noisy. Lots and lots of words, messages, voices, planning, proposed ideas, music, crowds, etc. So for your marriage, each of you really need to listen and just not hear your spouse.

We all hear noise. But how many spouses really take the time to listen? To listen is to intentionally want to listen to your spouse. Not just hear noise and words coming out of his or her mouth, but to say to your spouse that you do want to listen. This may mean you need to say to your spouse, “Honey, can we talk later as right now I am not able to listen to you and give you my full concentration. Can we do this?”

To listen to each other is one of the best gifts at this holiday season you can give to each other. To listen to each other is not give advice back, not to fix each other, not to solve problems or tell each other not to think or feel a certain way. To listen means turning off your laptop, smartphones, and the television and to fully listen to connect for the purpose of saying to your spouse, I want to listen to your heart and how you are feeling at this holiday season.

Distractions, noise, demands, pressures, obligations and expectations can be high at this time of the year. But when you two listen, you are giving to each other and your marriage the value and worth of wanting to listen. Don’t be a Grinch and just hear noise and stress but instead say to one another that you do want to listen. Propose a better time to do this after the kids have gone to bed or later on in the night after all the chores have been done. Say to one another, “At this holiday season, I really do want to listen to you but we need to value time and each other to want to listen. Each day I give you permission to say to me that you need fifteen to thirty minutes of my time and I will focus, concentrate and demonstrate to you my desire to want to listen. I will be there for you.”

Thanks for reading.

Phillip Kiehl, LMFT #42351
Author of “Creating the Healthy Marriage You Want: Stop Accusing & Start Accepting One Another.”