By Ron & Ann Mainse
It’s been said that the first duty of love is to listen. For many who struggle in marriage, communication is one of the first things to break down.
As we know, listening is a big part of communication. But sometimes, especially after a conflict, the “silent treatment” kicks in and each of you is left guessing what the other one is thinking. As a result, your feelings get bottled up and the pressure on the cork increases. Taking the time to calmly talk – and carefully listen – goes a long way in releasing that pressure and demonstrating that you place a high priority on your marriage.
Professor of Marriage Counseling, Dr. David Augsburger, said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” That’s a pretty remarkable statement… and begs the question, “How can I be a better listener?”
For me (Ron), I have to make sure I’m giving focused attention. To be honest, this is something I’ve struggled with. Ann lovingly calls me a “multi-tasker wannabe.” It’s hard for me to focus on more than one thing at a time. So while she starts talking it’s easy for me to slip into “nodding my head mode” while my mind is a million miles away. You guys know what I’m talking about! And Ann usually doesn’t realize what I’m doing until I ask her a question about something she just said (and you can probably imagine her reaction to that!).
Consequently, I (Ann) have discovered that chattering along mindlessly, confident that he’s hanging on every word, simply doesn’t work. Because he’s not. And that’s ok. As I’m talking, I’ve learned to tune into him, make sure he’s engaged in the conversation, and quite often gently ask him, “Are you listening?” That one question usually jars him back to the present, and then I know he’s truly engaged in what I’m saying.
But if we’re totally honest with ourselves, we all have the ability to tune out. Like having a radio on in the background, we can hear voices but don’t really listen. At times like that, we have a choice to make. Because your spouse gives off the most important frequency around you, you need to choose to tune in!
Giving focused attention to your spouse is only one of many important lessons we’ve learned on this intricate dance called marriage.
Until next time, remember… closer to God means closer to each other.
With you in discovering marriage as God intended,
Ron & Ann
P.S. We’d love to hear some of YOUR communication tips or comments on this blog! Click on the "COMMENT" button below.