Keeping up with the Maintenance - Part 3

March 11, 2016, 12:00 am


Listening to the Problem

I purchased my first car when I was seventeen. It was a 1967 Ford Galaxy and it certainly came with its share of mechanical issues. Fortunately, my parents had a friend who was a mechanic. His name was Ebert. Ebert had a unique way of diagnosing problems with my car by listening to it. He could listen to the engine run and know that my car needed a tune up. He would have me put my foot on the brake pedal to determine if my brakes needed to be replaced.

Just as Ebert could tell what my car needed by listening to it, we can do the same for our marriage. The biblical Book of James reminds us that we should be quick to listen. Being a willing listener is a good attribute to employ in the marital relationship. Many spouses really are not very good listeners. It is not unusual for me to have a couple in my office who are struggling yet one of them doesn’t even have a clue that anything is wrong in the relationship. The person who feels there is a problem will often say to their spouse,  “I been trying to tell you for months that we have problems but you don’t listen to me.”  When a marriage gets to this point, it can be hard to make any significant headway.

It is important to work at listening to your spouse. We listen with more than just our ears. Responding to what your husband or wife says to you lets them know they have value to you. Imagine if they tuned you out the way you tune them out. Focus your attention on your spouse when they are talking to you.  Don’t look at a screen. Look at them. Make eye contact when the two of you are having a conversation.

It is important to follow through on the things they request of you. Don’t put it off when you promise to do something for your spouse.  Things put off tend to become forgotten. Forgetting can imply to your spouse that what they wanted is not important enough to you. Who wants to be in a relationship where they feel little value?  

The key is to actively and intentionally listen to your spouse. Hear the words. Focus in on what they are saying. Check yourself to make sure you are listening to them. Are you listening to your spouse? Do you know how they really feel about the marriage? Why don’t you ask them? Are you afraid of what they may have to say?

Talk to you next week.

Tom  

Posted by The Chaplain's Corner at 12:00 am
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