So how many times has your spouse been talking to you and about 10 words in, you are already starting to rehearse what you are going to say next? In fact, sometimes you will get so good at rehearsing that you will actually rehearse several responses in advance! So I will say x, then she will say y, and then I will finish it by saying z!
When you rehearse what you are going to say before your spouse has finished saying what they want to say, there is no way you could possibly be listening to them, much less active listening. As well, rehearsing will often cause you to actually but in and cut off your spouse before they can even finish what they were saying.
Of all of the listening blockers that I will detail for you, rehearsing is the easiest one for your spouse to catch you doing because you will be very quick to not let them finish their thought. As well, if they ask you to repeat what they just said, you will often not be able to because you have not been focusing on what they are saying, but instead you have been forming your retort to what they were trying to say.
Rehearsing is incredibly disrespectful and it shows the insecurity of the person doing it. It often happens during a time when your spouse is trying to share something with you that they are upset about and you know that is coming, and you do not want to hear it, so like a lawyer, you start forming your defense and stop listening to anything they are saying.
Just ask yourself this – do you enjoy it when your spouse cuts you off and does not let you finish your thoughts? How does that make you feel? Do you feel loved and respected when that happens?
Of course your don’t! No one does! Active listening is about the farthest thing from rehearsing that you can get.
So the next time you or your spouse fall into the Rehearsing trap, be sure to gently remind them that you do not feel like you are being heard because they are too busy rehearsing their responses to you. Before long, you will realize when you are doing this and will learn to ask your spouse to repeat what they were saying because you were too busy rehearsing.
Pastor Brad Komgenick