How listening impacts people

Research has shown that people who listen make you feel more significant as a person. The effect also lasts after you have left their presence.

What about in the context of marriage?

When your spouse leaves your presence after being listened to they feel boosted. You actually boost three aspects of their self-esteem:

  1. They feel significant. They begin to believe, “I matter”.

  2. They feel a great sense of worth. They realise, “My perspective is worth hearing”.

  3. They feel more secure. They begin to feel, “I am loved and prioritised. There is no competition with work, sport or children”.

To truly listen to another person you have to demonstrate curiosity. One of the ways of doing so is asking them questions you’ve never asked before. Sometimes though, we just don’t know what questions to ask.

In episode 7 of Saving Our Marriage on SABC3 the couples used Questions that matter cards as a tool.

The best part. It was straightforward for them even though they had never done this exercise before.

In the show I set out “Questions that matter” cards and asked the couples to pick a set relevant to their situation. The questions facilitated a powerful time.

One couple picked “Emotional Awareness” for the situation they were facing.

Do you like who you are becoming?

If you continue feeling this way what are the possible consequences?

What can you do about it?

Another couple selected “When they are blaming someone else and not taking ownership”. Here the questions were different:

How do you think you might have contributed to the situation?

What could you have done differently?

If you had been in their shoes what would you have appreciated?

The cards gave them questions they needed. It helped them experience for themselves how easy it can be to positively impact the emotional state of another person by truly listening.