Many of us don’t have a problem with talking, but listening comes as a challenge. Becky Harling explains how listening can help us build stronger relationships and deeper connections with our loved ones.

“God has wired our brains with these neurotransmitters called ‘mirror neurons.’ In other words, let’s say we are out for a cup of coffee and you begin opening up about a problem you’re having, maybe with your teenage daughter.”

“As I’m empathizing, as I’m feeling that with you, and as I’m really imagining what that feels like, both of those neurotransmitters in our brains are stimulated. As a result, there’s a stronger connection, a stronger friendship, and a stronger bond that builds between us. It ends up being mutually beneficial.”

Listening shows people that we truly care about them and affirms the fact that their story matters. Becky reflects on an experience she shared with her husband, Steve, while visiting his hometown in Nigeria for the very first time since he was a child.

“One of the most remarkable parts of the journey was when we drove onto the campus of the boarding school where Steve was dropped off at age six or seven. I’ve never seen what I saw that day; he literally buckled over with sobs as he began to remember being dropped off as a little boy.”

“Later that afternoon, we talked; he talked and I listened. He began to pour out his heart about what it was like to grow up as this little kid in Africa and what that did as far as shaping his faith.”

Becky was intentional to create this space to hear Steve’s story and really listen to him. As a result, their hearts became more connected.

“One of the suggestions I have is creating at least fifteen minutes a day to listen to the story of your husband or your wife’s day at work, listen to the stories of your kids when they come home from school, or listen to the stories of your neighbors, co-workers or friends.”

By creating space in our day to hear the stories of other people, we are honoring God’s design for our relationships and building better communication skills overall.

How listening improves relationships


Becky Harling is a gifted communicator with a passion for seeing the Bible enthrall women’s hearts. For nearly thirty years, Becky has presented the Word of God to women both nationally and internationally, combining keen biblical insight with her compelling life story and the journeys of other women. She is author of How to Listen So People Will Talk: Build Stronger Communication and Deeper Connections.

Leave a comment