The art of listening – Part 1

The following is my reflections on what the John and Julie Gottman call The Art of Listening in their new books, Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. This blog is a several part series on the 7 areas mentioned in the book and how couples can improve their communication by listening.

Be attentive

Too often when we enter an argument with our spouse, we aren’t typically paying attention. It’s true! Think about your last argument with your spouse, where you really paying attention? If your honest with yourself, the answer will likely be “no.”

One of the best ways to be attentive during an argument is simply being attentive and paying attention. That’s it! Being attentive and paying attention means turning off the tv and setting your phone aside. Being attentive can also be shown in your behaviors such as making eye contact and nodding your head.

When you spouse has focus on the tv or phone, the attention is very clearly and obviously not on the other person. How do you think that makes your spouse feel? They likely feel hurt and unimportant.

If your boss constantly reviewed their phone during an important conversation or kept getting distracted by the computer and email, you would likely feel hurt and unimportant. Why would we do the same to our spouses?

It’s important to remember that listening involves more than just passive listening. Listening is a highly developed skill that requires intensive focus and concentration.

As you move forward into your next next argument with your spouse, remember that step one requires your attention and that means… put the focus on the conversation and remove the distractions like tv and phones.


I believe that you deserve more than ok. Ready to make an appointment? Contact me today.

Remember, no great misery goes unnoticed, if you are struggling with your mental health, be sure to reach out to a qualified mental health professional. If you are considering suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, call 9-1-1, or visit the closest emergency room.

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Jeff Simms Licensed Professional Counselor


Jeff Simms is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Counselor in private practice in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Jeff works with adults that want to get better dealing with their anxiety, depression, PTSD, and marriage.

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