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1. You don’t really listen.

Most people love to think of themselves as great listeners.

We go through our days thoroughly convinced that we have got the Golden Ear and that any friend or compatriot, especially our spouse, can come to us at any given moment and confide in us, or seek our advice, or just simply ask us to lend them an ear, and we will do that and be really, really good at it, too.

That is such a bunch of bull, though.

Most of us lie to ourselves from the day we are born until the day we die about listening. See, I really believe that we are pre-programmed, as flawed humans, to constantly put our own needs and wants and desires so far out in front of anyone else’s that many of us, maybe even most of us, literally create a wall of white noise when someone else begins talking to us. Especially when it comes to the hearing the voices most familiar to us.

Oh sure, we may be listening, alright, but are we really ever listening listening? Or are we just waiting for them to stop moving their lips so that we can speak? After all, we have so many ideas and thoughts about what it is they are saying, and beyond that, we have other thoughts and ideas about stuff that they aren’t even talking about which we are also literally itching to share.

True listening, tried and true unadulterated hearing and processing another person’s words, is one of the most rarefied gifts that any person within a marriage can ever give themselves, and their partners. It isn’t easy, I am finding out. Still, with each passing day, with each passing conversation with my own wife, I have begun to understand a harsh truth: I have been stone cold deaf for eons.

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Things that Are Messing Up Your Marriage  was originally published on