Aug 26, 2010

Rule #12: Follow His Lead

"Occasionally, your husband's mind may be far too pre-occupied...[and] he mumbles one-word responses to your questions while perusing the newspaper or watching his favorite television program. Don't take it personally. Sometimes, saying, "I love you," means saying nothing at all."

My husband tries, he really does. He makes it a point to listen to me and others very attentively. He's a good listener--ask anyone who knows him.

There IS a line, though. I've crossed it many times. Mostly it's after he's put in 10-12 hours of hard physical labor, played with our son, fixed something around the house and is finally ready to fall asleep on a soft pillow. All of a sudden I'm awake and ready to talk! I'm chattering away in the dark and he's really trying to answer me.

Then, I hear the snore. I used to get upset and grumble to myself. He'd "start" awake and say, "I was listening, I was listening!" That was many years ago. It finally occurred to me that it wasn't Husband who was doing it wrong!

Now I've learned to "read" how his day has gone before filling him in on everything I've been thinking and doing. Sometimes that means that I don't get to share that day (or night). That's okay. There will come an opportunity. I've learned that it's definitely nicer to have his attention when I need to share. He is with me and I'm with him as we truly discuss things.

I've been working with my son on this, too. He's quite the talker and expects an audience when Daddy gets home. There's a way to do this right, though, and I'm training him to be aware of the "give and take" of conversation.

A sign of maturity (and of love) is knowing when to speak and when to wait--and being patient in the waiting.

12 comments:

lexi said...

I am glad I am not the only one in the wrong...I do that ALL the time. Patience is not my strong suit.

Roxanne said...

Lexi--The sad thing is that they're trying so HARD to listen and be attentive!

(I'm glad I'm not the only one, too...)

Packrat said...

I have been guilty of both directions. My husband is a talker; unfortunately, I tend to tune him out. Actually, wouldn't it be nice if this "rule" worked both ways?

Lorie B said...

I have had tolearn this one, the hard way. For a long time I would get mad at hubster for 'not listening'. Truth was, he was just plain tired. I have found that I call my mom or a girlfriend a couple of times a week and I am better. It is just the adult conversation I crave. I also talk with him about anything important right after his 'clean up' shower after work. He is relaxed, but awake then.

Thanks for this series, Roxanne. God has been hitting me in several areas with this message about being a 'good wife'. Including blog posts, phone calls, conversations with friends, and (heaven help me) a sermon series....you think I need to take the hint, LOL.

Jeannie said...

Your blog just keeps on getting better with the passage of time.:) Here I've been married 37 years and just realized how many times I've said to my hubby 'did you hear what I said?' and not so nicely either!! I need to practice reading him more and not taking him for granted. Good post!

Anonymous said...

It's nice to hear some marital advice from someone who has and still is happy married and who has been married so long (respectively). I am a newly wed and it's nice to get some input especially in a world where women that are 22, like I, are still considered and act like little girls. It's refreshing to hear some loving seriousness when it comes to marriage. Thank you!
Meagan

Roxanne said...

Packrat--You're not the only ones! My pastor and his wife are like you described. She jokes about how he's ready to give her every detail of a service he preached in another county when he gets in late after she's been asleep for an hour!

Good natured teasing is always in order!

Roxanne said...

LoriB--It's really just being aware (first!) and then timing things appropriately, isn't it? It's not that DH doesn't WANT to listen, but it certainly helps to consider the conditions.

I'm glad this series is useful to you. I know that it's hitting ME squarely where it needs to!

Roxanne said...

Jeannie--Thank you for your kind words. They made me smile!

It is SO easy to take our spouses (both ways) for granted, isn't it? It takes definite effort to guard ourselves against that (or stop ourselves after falling into the habit).

Congratulations on your 37 years. Marriage can be and should be an ongoing process. There's ALWAYS something new to learn!

Roxanne said...

Meagan--Congratulations on your marriage! My husband and I were 21 when we got married, and, yes, we WERE just youngin's!

Too many women think the wedding is the ultimate goal. No, it's just the beginning of the REAL part of marriage.

I'm glad that you're encouraged by what you've read to create a strong marriage. Having that mindset is the beginning of making that happen.

And lots of forgiveness for when the other spouse is self-centered LOL!

Trixie said...

Hi Roxanne,

This is totally off topic, but I just saw the update that Earl is expected to hit in your neck of the woods. I'm thinking of you guys and praying everything will be okay.

Okay, back on topic --

One of the things I try to do every night when my hubby comes home is to meet him outside. I help him unload his truck and listen to him tell me about his day. I can tell that unloading the truck is just a front.What he really wants is the company and the attention -- to know that how his day went is important to me.

There are a lot of times I want to unload something on him then, but it is definately NOT the time. He's so tired and just wants a listening ear. I could get all riley and think "well, what if I want a listening ear!?". Eh, I don't seem to need it like he does and I chose to do this as an act of love for him. He does lots of other things for me when I really need him.

Roxanne said...

Trixie--Thank you for praying for our area! It appears that your prayers were effective--that storm has just fizzled out!

Give and take. Being aware of someone else's needs being met so that they're "refueled" and ready to move on. Those are acts of love.

Marriage is such an intricate relationship!

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