“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
The ability to listen well is harder than it seems. You may recall this old party game: A girl whispers to the boy next to her a sentence such as “Three cows crossed the road to drink from the stream.” The boy then whispers the sentence to another boy sitting next to him, and on the message goes in a circle. By the time the sentence gets back to the person who started it, it’s transformed into “Trees grow crusty toadstools to think about steam.”
Communication between husband and wife can become equally muddled unless we follow the scriptural wisdom offered in James 1:19: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Author‐counselors Chuck and Barb Snyder recommend a “quick listening” technique based on this verse. Following a disagreement, a husband and wife sit down together and fully explain their feelings about the issue. The catch is that the other spouse can’t interrupt. Partners may try this and still disagree, but by giving their opinion and listening to their mate’s, they’ll increase their chances of understanding each other . . . and of staying best friends.
Just between us . . .
• Do you sometimes feel that you tell me one thing and I hear something else?
• Do either of us tend to interrupt before the other can fully express himself or herself?
• If we tried “quick listening” after all our disagreements, how might it change our marriage?
Father, we want to put Your truths about listening, speaking, and controlling anger to work in our marriage. We ask You to give us Your grace and strength. Help us to stick with it—and help us to notice the good results! Amen.
• “Quick Listening,” in Incompatibility: Still Grounds for a Great Marriage by Chuck and Barb Snyder (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 1999).
This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.