Couples Clinic: How to Get Him to Hear You
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Couples Clinic: How to Get Him to Hear You

Try this exercise to improve your communication with your mate.

If it seems like your husband never quite grasps the argument you're trying to make, whether it be about disciplining the kids or taking out the trash, the following exercise can help. Yes, it may seem artificial at first. But it can help you get into a habit of listening and really hearing what each other is saying. Here's how:

You: Tell your husband you need to talk. Stop what you're doing and look him in the eye. Describe what you're feeling using "I" statements, such as "I feel...I believe...I think..." -- words that convey your emotional experience, not something your partner is doing wrong. For instance, "I feel angry when you don't consult me before punishing our daughter."

Him: Without interrupting, judging or criticizing say... "What I hear you saying is..." Then repeat verbatim what your wife has said. No paraphrasing -- you risk missing or misinterpreting something she needs you to hear.

You: If your husband has left something out, clarify your needs again and have him repeat it back to you as many times as it takes until he gets it right.

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