Don’t Just Hear Your Spouse, Listen
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger… - James 1:1-19 (ESV)
Listening can be tough. Oh sure, we hear all day long. We hear our spouses talking about their day, we hear our children telling that fifteen-minute-long story from school, we hear our pastor giving a sermon, we hear our friend venting about their recent breakup… but are we really listening?
My spouse is the first to admit how who struggles to listen if he’s doing anything else. If he’s reading an article, involved in a TV show, cooking dinner, paying bills, or mentally engaged in another activity, it’s not the best time for me to approach him with a deep spiritual thought or a frustrated vent about my day. But when he’s focused on me, he can truly hear me—and wants to! It’s all about commitment and what we’re putting our attention—aka our priorities—on.
In that same vein, we are to listen to the Lord. How many times are we guilty of reading our Bible, replacing it on the dresser, and then realizing we didn’t absorb a single verse? We weren’t “listening” as we read. James 1:22 (NIV) “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Listening without obeying isn’t truly listening, either.
We apply this concept to our marriage by being slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to hear—not only the Lord, but our spouse. As our husband/wife, they deserve the most attention and the most respect of any other being on this planet. Unfortunately, our spouses are who generally tend to get our leftovers.
This week, make an effort to sit down and focus on your spouse when they talk. Put down your phone, set aside the remote control, turn away from the computer, or tell the kids you’ll be there in a minute. If it’s something that can’t wait, make sure your spouse understands you want to give them your full attention and will do your best to be available soon.
Try to make that same effort toward focusing on your daily Bible reading and taking something with you to “listen to” in your mind during the day. The Bible calls that meditating. The funny thing is, when we get better at listening to the Lord, our marriages thrive. It’s a win-win cycle.
In marriage, one of our deepest needs is to feel heard by the person who loves us the most. But it’s impossible for our spouses to feel heard when we’re constantly taking over the conversation, shifting it to us, or interrupting them. Resist the urge to interrupt, open your ears, close your mouth, and reap the benefits of listening to your spouse. You’ll both be blessed!
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over sixteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her drummer of a hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Visit her and see a list of books at http://www.betsystamant.com./
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