Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Quick to Hear - Slow to Speak

This you know, my beloved brethren, but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. James 1:19

Joe White
It is becoming a little clearer to me why communication problems exist in marriage.  Take the following great advice from Joe White, former football coach, noted author and lecturer, on how a husband should approach his wife when it is obvious she has had a bad day:

 The gift of warmth in a marriage conversation says, “I hear you. I understand.  My shoulder is soft and available.

The gift of empathy says, “I feel your pain.  I’m hurting for you.  I’m hurting with you.  My heart is filled with care.”

The gift of unconditional regard says, “I am safe for you to unload on.  I will love you and accept you no matter what.”
Then the clincher:

“By the way, leave your ‘fix it’ skills at the office!”

If “normal” men are from Mars, Joe must be from Pluto.  First of all nothing is obvious to the typical man, particularly in the arena of emotions.  Secondly most men don’t easily exude warmth and empathy and even less likely under stressful conditions.  Lastly most of us men are wired with “fix it” skills, fixing things is what we do.  To tell a man to leave his fix it skills at the office would be like telling a woman to go shopping without her purse.  Finally can’t you just see a six foot two man with a deep booming voice who has exhibited some anger issues in the past, announcing to his five foot two wife that he is safe haven, a place for her to come and unload.

 The reality is that whether or not it is difficult for a man to be nurturing it is a skill worth developing. Women, more than men, connect relationally.  For many women the best form of connecting is talking.  And for all of us the most satisfying conversation is when the person we are talking to is truly listening to what is being said.  
Listening goes beyond the spoken word.  It may be even more important to hear what is not being said.  Your wife’s tone of voice and her body language may send an entirely different message than her literal words convey.

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