How You Tune Out Your Spouse - and Why

Posted on September 11, 2013

I’m pretty sure my wife asked me to do something this morning. I think it’s important and I know if I don’t do it I will miss a deadline or an appointment or a mortgage payment. Or maybe not. I honestly don’t know, and the reason is simple: it was my wife who was doing the talking—and it’s not her fault that I wasn’t listening.

Spouses have always had a funny way of both hearing and not hearing each other. On the one hand, the person you married is the person with whom you conduct the most intimate business of your life, and on a day to day, moment to moment basis, you must always be in communication. On the other hand, that constant stream of talk can become something of a hum—the conversational equivalent of the buzz of a fan or the thrum of an air conditioner that you hear so much you stop hearing at all. At least that’s the faintly scientific excuse I, and I suspect a lot of other husbands and wives, inwardly make when we’re caught not listening. Now, that excuse has gone from faintly to very scientific, thanks to a study just published in the journal Psychological Science.

Maddening as an oblivious husband can be to a wife—or vice versa—there is something adaptive about such selective hearing. The brain can take in only so much input at any one time, and it must constantly make decisions about what is urgent and what can slide.

Click on the link below to read the full article


Category(s):Relationships & Marriage

Source material from Time


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