Tonight we are going to deal with Listening Blocker #4 – Judging. This blocker is another one that all too common among couples who have been married for longer periods of time. Again, once we get to know each other better, it becomes easier to fall into this blocker.
#4 – Judging
Judging means that you have stopped listening to your spouse because of some negative judgment, or that you only listen for the purpose of assigning blame and putting negative labels on your partner.
If you think that your partner is acting stupid, or lazy, or angry, then you just stop listening all together. Or you listen only to gather fresh evidence of your partner’s stupidity, laziness, or anger.
For example, Tony thought Kara was an egomaniac, so he seldom listened when she talked about herself. This negative judgment kept Tony from really getting to know who Kara was.
Judging stops communication in its tracks. One spouse has preconceived notions of how the other spouse “acts all the time” so they either shut down totally or they only listen to hear things that will prove their preconceived notions to be true. There is simply no way for the person who is judging to have any real, honest communication with the other spouse.
To the spouse getting judged, they often tell me that they feel like they are living with an attorney who is always looking to prove their point. Judging causes a lot of anger to occur in a lot of marriages because it simply does not allow for communication to occur at any reasonable level. The person judging will also cut the other person off as soon as they feel they have the evidence they need to prove their point.
If you find yourself judging your spouse before they have even spoke, then I’m afraid to tell you that it is time to seek counseling. Why do I say that? Well it takes a long time for judging to start, but when it does, it always comes with heated emotions behind it, and unfortunately, almost all of your conversations with your spouse end poorly, so there is very little chance of you both ever agreeing on anything.
If you recognize that judging is taking place in your marriage, then I encourage you to seek immediate help. Judging can be stopped with the right communication tools for sure, so I hope you will seek out the help you need.
Tomorrow night we will be half way done as we tackle Listening Blocker #5. See you back here tomorrow evening!
Pastor Brad Komgenick