Active Listening and Effective Communication: Part 1

Active Listening and Effective Communication

Active listening is a set of techniques designed to slow down hostility and anxiety in the present moment. It introduces something that’s often lost when a marriage falls apart—the willingness to respectfully listen to one another. Active listening defuses reactivity and ongoing power struggles. It includes joining, curiosity, mirroring, clarification, and two additional called “sticking to the problem at hand” and “ striking when the iron is cold”. Active listening presupposes that you feel safe and that your ex is open to compromise.

Joining- Joining occurs when you remind your ex that the two of you are “in this together” for the sake of the kids. In the heat of an argument, this statement can defuse the tension and get you back on track.

“Michael relax, I want to remind you that we’re in this together.”
“Rachel, I know you worry about the children. I do, too.”

By reinforcing the idea that the two of you are working together, it eliminates the potential power struggle and makes you equals in this difficult time. Sometimes this can be done as a concession in which you relinquish control of a situation, and other times it can be done as an assertion in which you bring yourself up to an equal level of power as your ex. Joining also helps to define the goals you both have, whether they be to reach a separation point or to make sure your kids come out of this process the best way they can.


  1. Hey, that’s powferul. Thanks for the news.

    • I’ve @boone09660 I’ve been through two as well. One when I was three and one when I was trehtien. This video was right when it said how each age group would be affected. I’m sixteen now, and my anger, fear of separation or losing someone, being fearful of my own relationships, angry outbursts, etc. ruined the best thing that has ever happened to me And now it’s too late. I dated my best friend of two years for five months and it ended horribly because I was such a night mare I miss Bethany

  2. Hi,Firstly, I have been separated from my hbsuand for nearly 10 years. It was a very abusive relationship and it took me years to finally get him out of my life. Many times I wanted to file for divorce but feared facing him, so I just left it as I had no intention of ever getting married again. Now I am with a wonderful partner and we want to get married. I’m not sure if my ex has gotten the divorce, is there anyway I can find out? If I’m still legally married, are there steps I can take without having to pay a fortune to track him down? I recently had 3 surgeries on my knee and I’m looking at not being able to work for another year as I need more surgery and my partner is my carer so money is tight. I know that in America you have to prove reasonable steps were taken to find the other party ie: article in the paper etc etc, I’m not sure if that’s the case in Australia. His electoral role address is the same as when we got married so I know he’s not there.Also, my partner has a 6yo son who he never gets to see. He has come to terms with this and has agreed to let his ex’s new hbsuand adopt him once they marry. Since he was 2 his paternity was in question as she had an affair the same day the donor sperm was inseminated through IUI(he was left infertile after botched surgery). She advised him that she got a DNA test done but refuses to give him a copy of the results. He is paying child support for his son but finds it hard to believe he’s his if she refuses to show him the results. Does he have a right to see them and how would that be done. Thank you for any advice you can provide on these matters.

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