Are You Listening to Me?
By Lisa Lakey
Two weeks prior, I told my husband we had been invited to a friend’s home for dinner.
“Sounds great,” he said. Unfortunately, it was apparently not great enough for him to remember.
When the day came, he strolled through the front door 30-minutes late and sweaty from an afternoon of golf.
“Do you even hear me when I talk?” I asked.
I wish that were a one-way question. But I’m guilty of the same thing. (My husband would say this is especially true with car-related issues.)
I bet you can relate. We are experts at “hearing” our spouses. The noise of their words hits our ears, but taking the time to focus in on their meaning is a totally different skill.
It requires a willingness to tune out extra distractions like phones, kids, TV, or even hunger (It’s hard for me to focus on anything when I need a snack).
Truth? I naturally tend to tune in to what interests me most … and tune out everything else.
But sometimes it goes even deeper. Resentment and unresolved conflict also seem to have a noise-cancelling effect when I’m listening to my husband.
If I know my husband is really hearing me, I feel loved, cherished, valued, and understood. It communicates that I deserve his attention and he desires to understand my heart.
And that sense of priority cuts both ways.
Listening is a practical, everyday way to place the needs of others above my own. God Himself listens to my cries when I pray to Him, as David reminds us in Psalm 18:6. Just as God listens to me, I long to listen to my spouse—beyond the sound waves hitting my ears.
The good stuff: Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19)
Action points: Turn off all distractions for an hour (except the kids, just put them to bed a bit early). Take turns listening to each other’s days, thoughts, rants, etc. Don’t interrupt, but practice really hearing each other.
Visit the FamilyLife® Website