There is definitely something in marriage called “Marital Deafness”: it is when, after a couple has been together for a while, they grow to block out the sound of each others’ voices.
Oh, sure, some couples search and search for a physical answer to why one spouse, (or both when it gets really bad), cannot seem to hear the other’s voice.
The answer, Marital Deafness, often seems unlikely, or even like some sort of mystical mumbo jumbo, but it’s true; and it has everything to do with the loss of what I call Emotional Credibility.
Emotional Credibility is simply trusting + liking the other person. The particular brand of trust I’m talking about here is what I call microtrust, meaning trusting someone with one’s heart.
Once we lose the microtrust, we no longer really like having the other person around that much, nor do we really want to hear what they have to say, since it’s usually either hurtful or frustrating to us, or, perhaps, just plain judgmental or wrong.
We conclude that the person really isn’t going to hear us or listen to our heart, but, instead, that they are going to make some sort of Comment–no real listening to or validation of what we are saying, just a comment of some sort: perhaps a comparison with themselves or their own situation, an opinion, a quick fix, a judgement, a criticism, etc.
Slowly, over time, in order to protect our hearts from these people–often spouses–we subconsciously block out the sound of their voice and we don’t really hear them anymore: i.e., Marital Deafness.
What can you do to rebuild the Emotional Credibility in your marriage and to cure Marital Deafness? (Here’s a hint: LVAC.)
Anthony Ferraioli, M.D.
Author, Don’t Get Married! Unless You Understand a Few Things First