Welcome back for part 3 of my 10 part series on Listening Blockers. Tonight we will be focusing on Filtering.
#3 – FILTERING
Filtering is another listening blocker that is very common among couples who have been married for many years. This is because in order to filter, you need to know some subtle cues that your spouse will say to you before you can use it. Newly weds just have not been together long enough for this to take place unless that dates quite some time before they were married.
So what is FILTERING? Filtering is when you listen to some things but not others. You may listen for signs that your spouse is angry or sad or anxious and then you begin to tune out when you sense that your partner is okay and that you are not expected to respond to any emotional trouble.
So this is not the worst blocker there is because at least the spouse IS listening for when their spouse is experiencing emotional issues. The problem is that the rest of the time, the spouse is checking out on all other communication with their spouse! This leaves them feeling lonely. Not only that, but it trains your spouse that if they want you to respond to them, they need to be talking about emotional issues with you, so they will make them up just to engage their spouse!!
There is also filtering that EXCLUDES things you do not want to hear. For example, your ears might work fine until your spouse starts talking about your drinking, your mother-in-law, or their desire to move out of state. When these topics come up, you tune out and go silent.
We need to ensure that we turn off our filters immediately if we intend to have loving communication with our spouses. We have to be engaged with our spouses even when they are talking about things that we either do not want to hear, or that we do not want to address. In fact, we need to be addressing anything in our marriages that our spouses are bothered enough to want to talk to us about.
Clear communication, where each person says exactly what is on their mind, and the other spouse listens and repeats back what they think they are hearing is the best kind of communication to have, and the only type of communication that can heal.
So the next time you start to filter out what your spouse is saying to you, remember that you are training them to only talk with you about emotional issues and soon they will make things up just to get you to respond. As well, how would you feel if your spouse was filtering out things that were important to you?
Okay, 3 down, 7 more to go. Did you even realize that there were so many different kinds of ways to sabotage your communications with your spouse? Trust me when I tell you that I picked the top ten out of about 1,000 different ways that couples have trouble communicating in.
Great and loving communication is the one thing that is always present in long lasting marriages today. Couples who learn to communicate well and to keep God first in their marriages are couples that will stand the test of time. It is my hope that by shedding light on these communication troubles that you might be able to spot some of these in your own marriage and be able to stop them.
See you back tomorrow for Listening Blocker #4.
Pastor Brad Komgenick