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How fast do you think?

By Kate

Have you ever tried to listen to someone who talks at super speed? You're left wondering what hit you and certainly none the wiser. Or perhaps you get frustrated when someone takes half an hour to say something very simple and your mind's already running on ahead, planning next year's holiday or which numbers you're going to pick for the lottery.

We're all different and we all communicate in a slightly different way. To really communicate we've got to learn how to adjust to the other person's speed. This can cause real problems in marriage, if we don't spot the cause.

Get to know the way each other thinks, the pace of talking and listening that suits you and your partner. Are you a tortoise or a hare?

Remember that when you talk or listen you're offering a gift of yourself to your partner. Try to remember that you love them, and that it's worth the extra effort to slow down or speed up and "get to the point". Try to focus on them and silence the internal conversations going on inside your head. Try to get behind the words to the special person you love. Ask them to slow down if they're going too fast. Wait your turn and then try to feed back what you think you heard to make sure you've understood. That way your partner knows you've been listening and trying to understand them and they feel loved and valued.

Did you know? Many cultures in the Far East assume the responsibility for communication lies with the listener. They speak and it's up to you to understand. In the West we tend to expect more of the one who's speaking. Surely communication is about two people - it's up to them both to ensure the communication really works!

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