When it comes to improving the communication in your relationship, there is no better habit than to seek first to understand, then to be understood. This habit comes from Stephen Covey’s best-seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Covey said that most people don’t listen to understand but only listen with the intent to reply. There is a big difference in the way we listen when we are trying to understand the other person versus when we are waiting for the person to stop talking so we can respond. We run the risk of carrying on monologues instead of dialogues. It is a true gift to be fully present to another person and let them know you fully understand what has just been said.
When you get really good at this habit – after listening to someone and wanting them to know that you really understood them – you repeat what you heard them say in words better than they could explain it to you. Remember it’s a habit and will take time and practice, practice, practice to get good at it!