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Communication: Motivating your Husband to Listen

By: Dr. Gary Smalley

How? By using the "salt principle." Salt makes people thirsty, and the goal of this principle is to create thirst for constructive conversation in which both you and your husband can learn about each other's needs.

Simply stated, the principle is this:

Never communicate information you consider to be important without first creating a burning curiosity within the listener.

First, get your husband's attention with a statement or two that will make him want to hear more. Make this statement with enthusiasm. Arouse their curiosity and you've got their attention!

Faye was worried because Jack was too busy to spend time with their son Randy. Jack's work schedule kept him so busy that he spent very little time with Randy when he was home. Faye realized how much their son needed him, but Jack was usually too preoccupied to listen. Faye decided to give the "salt principle" a try, and here's how it went:

Faye: I heard some very discouraging news from school today about Randy.

Jack: Oh, no, what was it?

Faye: I don't know what we're going to do about it . . . I'm really worried.

Jack: Well, what is it?

Faye: Unless you can help out, it will probably end up costing us a lot of money.

Jack: Faye, what are you talking about?

Faye: Randy's teacher called and said Randy has a reading problem. Unless he gets special help, it could handicap him for the rest of his education.

Jack: What do you mean "special help"?

Faye: The teacher explained that if you or I didn't do something about it, we would probably have to pay a lot of money to have it corrected later. She said the longer it goes uncorrected, the worse it will become.

Jack: What can we do now?

Faye: Well, there's not too much I can do, but she did say there was something you could do.

Jack: What's that?

Faye: In fact, she said if you would do it consistently, it would provide just what he needs to whip the problem. I told her you were very busy and I didn't know if you could find the time. . .

Jack: I'll make the time . . . what is it?

Faye: She said that the basis of the problem involves motor skills. If you could do something like beginning to throw the football with him consistently, his hand/eye coordination would increase and she would be able to help him get his reading up to par.

Today, four years later, Jack still plays football with Randy. Jack not only enjoys their time together, but he also has the satisfaction of knowing that he has done something to help Randy in school that no one else could have done. All of this was a result of Faye's taking the time to creatively communicate a genuine need using the salt principle.

© Smalley Relationship Center. All rights reserved. This article was reprinted with permission. Please do not publish this article without direct consent from the author. iMom is not authorized to permit the reproduction of articles contributed to by non-staff authors.

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