THE BEST COMMUNICATION TOOL!
You cannot understand your mate’s heart without getting into their mind. And the only way to do that is to have healthy communication. ~ Angie Craft, Love Recon
One of the most fundamental communication skills is reflective listening, sometimes called mirroring. This tool will prevent many arguments, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings.
It sounds simple, but it’s challenging when you are in an emotional or frustrated state of mind. You have to set aside your feelings, perception, and opinions to mirror someone. You cannot defend or try to set the record straight.
Mirroring is repeating back to them what you heard them say without judgment or “correction.” Listen for the “feeling” words. It is as simple as saying, “What I heard you say….” If your mate repeats themselves over and over, the chances are that they are not feeling heard or validated for their views or feelings. Mirroring will help them to know that they have been heard. You don’t have to agree with your spouse, but it is essential that you validate them by mirroring their thoughts and feelings.
Steps in Reflective Listening (Mirroring)
- The listener listens and seeks to understand the speaker’s ideas, thoughts, and feelings. The listener focuses on what the speaker is saying and pays close attention to what they are feeling. The listener is listening to learn and understand all about the speaker’s perspective. The listener must not sabotage the process by interrupting, getting defensive, or planning a rebuttal.
- The speaker then clearly expresses their thoughts and feelings. The speaker must not sabotage the process by overloading the listener with too much information and too many feelings.
- The listener then repeats back what the speaker said using their words. It is essential to use their words so that they feel heard and validated. Do not paraphrase or summarize what you think they said. Instead, speak their words back to them, especially the feeling words. Confirm with a question such as, “Did I get it?”
- The speaker confirms to the listener, “You got it,” or gently tells them what they missed. You certainly don’t want to say something like, “No, you idiot! Don’t you ever listen? This is exactly our problem.” Instead, respond with something like: “Well, you got most of it, but I also wanted you to hear_________.”
Validating your mate’s perspective or feelings is extremely important as well. To do this, include phrases such as, “I can understand why you would feel that way” or “I haven’t thought about it like that before.” Validation is not agreement. It does not mean that you deny your feelings or perspective. It lets your mate know that you value them and their feelings and perspective. Validation = Valuing.
Now that you know what mirroring is, why not practice it with your partner?
Reflective Listening (Mirroring)
- Listener: Listens to Speaker
- Speaker: Clearly expresses their thoughts and feelings (Doesn’t overload!)
- Listener: Repeats using their words and asks, “Did I get it?”
- Speaker: “You got it!” or gently respond with corrections
- Listener: Say something to validate your partner
Each of you will share about a meaningful time that you experienced together as a couple and how it made you feel. It could be a vacation or a trip. It could simply be a “magical,” unplanned moment, but it vividly lives in your memory as special to you. Be sure to express how it made you feel. You also will each share what you want most for your relationship. Follow the bullet points above in your conversation as you fill in the blanks and discuss these two statements.
Decide who is “A” and who is “B.” Discuss these two topics.
A: “A time that we shared that was meaningful to me was… and it made me feel…”
B: “What I heard you say… and it made you feel… Did I get it?”
A:” You got it! OR Most of it, but I also wanted you to hear….”
B: “Thank you for sharing that moment. I’m so glad that it made you feel …”, etc.
B: “A time that we shared that was meaningful to me was… and it made me feel…”
A: “What I heard you say… and it made you feel… Did I get it?”
B: “You got it! OR Most of it, but I also wanted you to hear….”
A: “Thank you for sharing that moment. I’m so glad that it made you feel … “, etc.
A: “What I want most for our relationship is… and if we had that, I would feel….”
B: “What I heard you say… and if we had that you would feel… Did I get it?”
A: “You got it! OR Most of it, but I also wanted you to hear….”
B: “I understand what you want, and I realize why it’s important to you.”
B: What I want most for our relationship is… and if we had that, I would feel…
A: What I heard you say… and if we had that you would feel… Did I get it?
B: You got it! OR Most of it, but I also wanted you to hear….”
A: “I understand what you want, and I realize why it’s important to you.”
Reflective Listening is your go-to tool anytime you have difficulty understanding each other or are engaging in conflict. Use it and you will be amazed how it diffuses the emotions and allows you to move forward to resolve the issue. If you have difficulty using this or any relationship-building tool, Love Recon Seminars and Recon Coaching can help.
We offer four-day marriage help seminars, marriage retreats, two-day marriage intensives, and in-person and online relationship coaching.