Thursday, 16 February 2012

Q & A - A Lesson for Husbands (and maybe wives)

In a recent posting Dr. Bob Snyder, author of Lessons Learned on the Journey, posed the question “Why ask a question when I have the answer?” Unfortunately this could be the theme song of most of us husbands. When it appears our wife is having a dilemma we ride in on our white horse with the bottom line answer. Often she just wants to process what she is thinking about. She is not looking for an answer. Some well phrased questions would often be more helpful.

Dr. Bob writes, “In discussions, I too often desire to share "my abundant knowledge," give inspiring advice or workable solutions rather than asking questions — questions that will genuinely clarify and shed light on the issues of the discussion.

Jesus often asked questions. His questions were shaped by His divine love and particular knowledge of each person. They cut through the clutter and respectfully addressed the real issues that people had. For instance, when an expert in the law tested Jesus by asking,

Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus responded, What is written in the Law? How do you read it? (Luke 10:26 NIV)

Yet when a rich young ruler came to Jesus with a similar question,

Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Jesus responded with a different question, Why do you ask me about what is good? (Matthew 19:16-17 NIV)
So perhaps my contributions to conversations would be enhanced by not only asking more questions, but also asking the right questions. That requires God's guidance. He may also guide me at times away from words and into silence and quiet prayer. But that requires immense humility and that is for another Lesson.”
The next time your wife seems perplexed ask her if she would just like to talk about the issue at hand or if in fact she is seeking some solution. You might be amazed at how much better the conversation will go and neither of you will be frustrated.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Not Enough Time

Happy Valentines Day!
I was sent a story of a man who received a new guitar as a gift. It was something this man had always wanted -- he had hoped he could learn to play the guitar at some point in his life. So with the encouragement of his wife and children, he started spending about 20 minutes each evening learning chords and picking out notes. Funny what 20 minutes a night can do. Before long, he had worked up to playing a few simple songs. His family was getting a big kick out of it, singing along as he began playing things they could actually recognize. How fun! A new, learned skill was bringing music (and sometimes laughter) into his home. He’ll never be another Jimi Hendrix but he has the joy of accomplishment and added pleasure to his life.

The schedules of the average American couple are crazy. If you throw a two wage earner family and kids into the mix you have chaos. So the suggestion that you carve out some time, even for something you think is important, is met with a look of disdain and disbelief. But as a wise man once said, “we can always find the time for something we truly want to do badly enough.”

Ironically that same morning I received a blog about how damaging an emotional affair can be. The blog talked about how they get started and offered a little advice on how to prevent one from getting started.

Assume the guitar playing enthusiast had to chose between learning the guitar instead of watching ESPN, or reading the latest addition of Field and Stream or something else that was equally entertaining but mindless. I’m sure he doesn’t regret the trade-off.

If we were to apply the same principle to our marriages what benefit might we reap? If we were to take the same 20 minutes a day taken by our guitarist and used it to take a walk with our husband/wife; to brainstorm the next gift idea for our mate; to plan a romantic evening for our spouse; to make a list of all the things that we appreciate about the person we are married to; to consider how we might make life more enjoyable or easier for our loved one; or just spent the time in meaningful conversation wouldn’t that enhance our relationship.

Twenty minutes a week spent on thinking of ways to improve our marriage would eliminate the possibility of most emotional affairs before they ever got started and create some beautiful music in your home that would rival the best of guitar players.