6 tips to practicing active listening

muslim marriage advice
muslim marriage advice

By: Nicole Aliya Rahim
Written: for Nikah.ca

An effective way to reduce tension in interpersonal relationships is to practice active listening. Fortunately, active listening is a skill, and like many other skills, it is achieved through practice. Active Listening is a skill that couples should begin to practice before getting married.
When caught in the middle of a heated discussion, it can become difficult to apply these skills. Muslim premarital counsellors advise that daily practice is beneficial and can lay the groundwork for creating good communication in marriage.

The necessity for couples to give each other undivided attention

Naturally, right before you get married, your focus is on getting married. You are focused on that person, your partner to-be. You spend time getting to each other by speaking, seeing each other and essentially giving one another complete and total attention. You are giving your partner all of the wonderful components of active listening, without even knowing it. After marriage your focus may change, and as the hustle and bustle of daily challenges arise, the necessity for giving and receiving undivided attention will be far more important.
Here are 6 useful tips to help practice active listening:

(1) Quality over quantity - being in the same physical space with each other does not mean that you are giving each other needed attention. Attention comes in varying intensities and it may sometimes be better to give your partner small amounts of high quality attention, than attention where you are also distracted with work, the internet and/or household chores.

(2) Eye contact - Make eye contact with your spouse as an effort to show that you are truly interested in what they are saying, this gesture indicates appreciation and respect for each other’s feelings and ideas.

(3) Restating – paraphrase what you feel your spouse has said. This is a vital skill that not only demonstrates that you have heard what the other person has said, but that you were listening intently and you understand what has been relayed to you.

(4) Provide encouraging statements – provide some signals to show you are listening to them:

a. Nod your head,
b. Say “umm hmm”
c. Say “ok” or “yes” or a statement of agreement (if you agree)

(5) Body language – pretend you are meeting someone very important, how would you stand? How would you speak and what would your tone be like? If you really want to make your partner feel heard, practice these tips, put in the work and you will see the results in the way it makes him / her feel.

(6) Resist distractions – if you are in your home surroundings, there will be ample things to distract you. Set yourself up for success. To prevent sidetracking, either plan to spend this quality time elsewhere or remove any distractions from the vicinity. This is the same for your mental processing, redirect your wandering thoughts back to the conversation and give it value.

These tips are intended to be proactive behavioural strategies to practice before and after your nikah and walima. If any crisis situations develop or crisis management is needed, visit a marriage counsellor or qualified Imam that provides counseling in your area. 

Nicole Aliya Rahim, MA. BCBA

Wedding First Year of Marriage
Life Skills Premarital Counseling
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