This week, I wanted to touch on something that I have been hinting out the past couple weeks. One of the things that I feel give my wife and I a successful marriage is that we communicate with each other. Communication, true communication is back and forth. It is listening, and then responding. You cannot respond properly if you haven’t listened to everything that is being said.
Now let’s be honest, the women in our lives will use words that we don’t understand and will say things in ways that we have to really pay attention. Listen to her words, watch her actions, listen to her voice. Does this look ok? and Does this LOOK ok? and How do I look? are not the same question, and an answer with the word fine, does not mean the same either. It comes down to knowing the question that was asked versus the question you think was asked. My wife had a co-worker at one time that would always answer that they thought they heard in the most intellectual way possible. A simple question about the time could turn into a story about Swiss watch makers, and 15 minutes later you still didn’t know what time it was.
It comes down also to sometimes she is just going to need you to listen. Sometimes you just need your spouse to listen to you. I have always struggled with trying to find the answer or resolution half way through the story. I’m planning my response not as a rebuttal to conversation, but as a way to work something out. Guys STOP do this. There are going to be things that we can’t fix. There are going to be things that are going out that you don’t want a certain level of detail on. When you are there as the ear to listen, the hand to hold, and the shoulder to support, sometimes that is all they need. They don’t always need you to fix it. Be there, be present, be a listener. Some times they do want you to take action, just not always right then.
The other factor into all of this is vocabulary. I included the definition of the work hear as well as listen, but I’ve been very careful not to use hear in this. Hearing is only receiving the sounds, we hear the keys of the keyboard, we hear cars outside, we hear someone at the door. We listen to music, we listen to our children, families, and spouses. You also know over time what the proper vocabulary is for whatever mood you are both in. As time goes on you learn when to just shut up and let them vent or stew. Just make sure that you are there for all parts of the communication process.
Take this week, and again as I have said before, put the phone away, put down the game controller, put the computer away, wrap your arms around your loved one. Ask them about their day, and be truly interested.