Hey, nobody said marriage was easy. But we've come across one seriously helpful tip from an unlikely source, Manhattan-based divorce attorney, Cari Rincker. The secret to keeping your marriage together? Active listening. No seriously, Rincker says that listening is essential to maintaining a "healthy, fulfilling relationship." Want to up your listening game in your marriage? Here are three ways to practice active listening.
1. Ask them, "How does that make you feel?"
Asking this question not only shows that you're paying attention, but it also demonstrates that you genuinely care and want to understand where they're coming from. As Kate Murphy, author of You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters, told us, listening is "not just keeping your mouth shut and waiting for the other person to stop speaking."
2. Ask Yourself "What Am I Learning About My Spouse?"
Listening isn't always easy—it takes effort, and when we're tired after a long day of work, it can feel like a drag to really provide a listening ear to your partner. But one exercise we love that keeps us engaged while listening is asking ourselves (in our head), "What did I just learn from my partner?" For one, it's kinda exciting to learn new things about the person you've been with for so long. And keeping track of these learnings will help you connect better to what you're partner is actually saying.
3. Pay attention to non-verbal cues
According to Harvard Business Review, about 80 percent of what people communicate comes from facial expressions and body language. So, the next time you listen to your partner talk about their long day at work, take note of the little things, like their posture, hand gestures and perspiration. We know it sounds weird, but trust us—it'll give you an even better understanding of what they're trying to communicate.