Lesson 1: Learn to actively listen

There is a big difference between hearing what was said and actually listening.  It is so easy to confuse the two.  It is also easy to get distracted.  Maybe it is even just by the sound of her beautiful voice.  News flash.  The words coming out are important too.  You might want to consider hanging on to them.  Especially over time.  As time goes on, it becomes easy to lose track of things.  Something that is said and doesn’t come up again for a long time.  The message can get lost because not enough importance was placed on it.  Things you didn’t know you were expected to remember.  Even if the importance of it was never emphasized.  

In a relationship, in love, everything is important.  It doesn’t matter if it is a deep conversation or a quick statement while out in public.  A quick little, “Oh my gosh I love that shirt,” or “I have always wanted to go see my sports team play against their biggest rival in our stadium,” may not seem like much at face value.  Maybe you assume it is just something the opposite sex always says.  It is easy to overlook these or brush them aside.  It is also easy to underestimate the value of the statement.  You might not always know or be able to tell when they are saying something that is actually important to them.

If you are asking yourself why, there are a lot of answers and no one answer is any more right or true than any other.  The psychology of why they might say or do something without emphasizing the importance can have a lot of meanings or reasons.  An example could be, maybe they are trying to downplay the importance because of a bad experience in their past.  They are attempting to manage their expectations because they have been let down so many times that they are attempting to protect themselves from the disappointment of not getting what they want.  Perhaps they are embarrassed about liking something so rather than outright saying it, they jokingly or sarcastically comment about something.     

It is important that you take notice.  These are opportunities that are being gifted to you.  No matter how small.  Opportunities to show that you were listening.  Showing up with that exact shirt on Valentine’s Day, their birthday, or Christmas.  Randomly whipping out a pair of game tickets and surprising them before dinner.  It doesn’t matter.  The message they receive is clear and of immeasurable value.  You love them.  You care.  You care about what they want and what they have to say.  Most importantly, you are listening to them and they matter.  What they say matters.

Don’t be afraid to write these things down either.  It is so easy nowadays to keep track of things.  If a mental note isn’t enough, take out your phone and type it in.  Listening isn’t just about having a good memory.  It is showing that you were there, in that moment with them.  You were involved with what was happening and participating in a way that shows their importance to you.  It is ok to admit that writing it down will help you remember.  Love is all about going the extra distance in order to ensure that your significant other knows how important they are.  Make the effort.  Do whatever it takes.

Listen.  Learn.  Remember.  No matter how big or small.  There are few things in a relationship that matter more than listening.  No matter how many times you say “I love you.”  No matter how much you think or know you mean it.  The words don’t possess nearly as much value unless they are accompanied by the actions that demonstrate they are more than just words.  Your actions show that you were listening. Listening matters.

Takeaways:

  1. Keep notes
  2. Make eye contact
  3. Ask questions
  4. Be present
  5. Take action

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