Some ways to show your spouse you are listening are…
- Look at your spouse when (s)he is talking. Don’t watch TV, close your eyes, or look off into the distance. Don’t text; don’t check your e-mails, and don’t look at other people.
- Pretend you are not married to this person, and just listen as if you have no idea what (s)he might say.
- Pretend you are on a date with this person, and be interested in what (s)he says.
- Lean forward when (s)he is talking.
- Say “hmm” and tilt your head to show that (s)he has said something that you hadn’t thought of before, and that you find interesting.
- Mention a day or so later something your spouse said. Say, “You know, I was thinking about what you said the other day about…, and …”. This lets your spouse know that you are holding what (s)he says in mind and are not dismissing it as soon as possible. It shows you think (s)he is worth listening to. Then, add to the conversation.
- Laugh at his/her jokes.
If you need a break from listening, say something like “My darling, I do want to hear what you have to say, but my brain is just done for the day. Could we possibly talk about this tomorrow? Would that be ok?”