The essential strategies that promote peaceful living between partners under normal circumstances are beautifully summarized in this morning’s NYTimes – in the context of coping with the stresses of the current pandemic.
Celeste Headlee, who has worked as an NPR and Public Radio host for decades, knows the ingredients of a great conversation: honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. Author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (2017), Headlee notes that most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, but rather to reply — a dynamic that is clearly evident in many dysfunctional relationships.
Many years ago I attended a powerful and memorable Reflective Listening workshop. The participants were asked to listen carefully as volunteers related a story about something in their lives the found disturbing or confusing. During the first stage of the exercise, the participants were instructed to warm-up their “listening muscles” by listening without any response or reaction whatsoever.