Intimacy exists in a relationship when each person learns there are always two perspectives in the relationship, and they continually seek to understand the other’s view through the practice of active or reflective listening. We build on that universal need all people have to feel heard and understood. To adopt this form of listening, begin by practicing the following:
Listen, then summarize and repeat what you have heard the other say.
Periodically stop to clarify and reflect, or speak back, what you have heard.
Without this structured listening method, couples often spend time preparing a response to what is being said instead of listening for the other’s perspective. Acknowledge there are two views in your relationship, and actively listen to each other. With practice, you will cultivate a new intimacy that meets each of your needs to be heard and understood.
Patti Hatton, MA, LPC