Attention Assessment


How often do you give your spouse your individual, undivided, and unlimited attention? How are these three types of attention-giving different?

Let the wise listen and add to their learning. Proverbs 1:5, NIV

I (David) completed a painful assessment the other day. I started to ask myself how I was doing at meeting Teresa's need for attention, more specifically, her need for me to listen. I started to consider this question: Do I give Teresa individual, undivided, and unlimited attention?

Take a moment to do your own personal assessment in different areas of attention. The results may surprise you.

Individual Attention: Do I purposefully talk and listen to him or her when we are alone? Just being in the house by ourselves doesn't count. In order to give individual attention, I must actively pursue a conversation with my spouse—when no one else is around—and be a willing participant.

Undivided Attention: Do I give my spouse undivided attention? Do I make an effort to try to talk with him or her away from any potential interruptions? Do I concentrate on the conversation, or do I daydream or disengage? Do I dominate the conversation or encourage my spouse to talk about his or her day?

Unlimited Attention: Does my spouse sense my patience and will­ingness to give plenty of time to discuss difficult subjects, or do I give off signals that I just want to "get to the point"? Does my spouse know that I am available to listen to him or her without giving advice or criticism? Does listening to my spouse include a caring heart and loving attitude?

After doing such an assessment, I was sobered by the results. I realized that there were improvements that needed to be made in my life.

What changes can you make today in how you communicate with your spouse, specifically in how you listen to him or her?

God, may You prick my heart every time I am tempted to be slack in listening to my spouse.

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