But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. JAMES 1:19
I was reading the paper one day and came across an excerpt from a book called The Mistress' Survival Manual, written by the founder of Mistresses Anonymous. (Now, I didn't read this book. Honest. I simply read an article that mentioned it.) One of the quotes in the excerpt spoke volumes about a great need in today's marriages. The author, who had spent her whole adult life engaged in adultery,
said, "Many people think a mistress is a shapely young woman who wears flimsy negligees and lounges on satin sheets. But more likely than not, she's just an extremely good listener."
How many affairs have begun when one hurting person turned to another, sharing his or her disappointments with someone who was eager and motivated to listen to his or her problems? A woman wrote to us recently, telling how she had merely been talking with a young single man at church about a girl he was interested in dating. When the conversation turned to her marriage, she knew she shouldn't go there—she shouldn't tell him how unhappy she was. But pretty soon they were spending more time together, talking on the phone, wishing they could be together even when they weren't.
"Every time I meet someone new who takes the time to listen and spend time with me," she says, "I find myself drawn to him. Maybe I'll get out of this one friendship on time, but what about the next person who comes around? Please pray for me."
One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is the promise to be a good listener—tearing ourselves away from all our distractions and preoccupations, just to listen. To listen and understand. I can almost guarantee that your spouse needs you to be "an extremely good listener."
Talk honestly about the way you listen (or don't listen) to each other. Share ways you both can encourage and sharpen your listening skills.
Pray for your ability to listen and really hear what your spouse is saying.