Listening Before Giving
He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame. Proverbs 18:13, NIV
Over the years Teresa and I have learned that in order for couples to better demonstrate respect to one another, they need to discuss what that respect looks and sounds like. What communicates respect to one person may not communicate respect to his or her spouse. We encourage couples to discuss what actions and words convey respect for each spouse. We stress the importance of couples really listening to one another when they talk about respect. After all, listening is the first step toward conveying respect.
When we work with couples to get them to talk about respect, we use discussion starters such as: "My desire is to respect you, your roles, your decisions, and your leadership, so I'd appreciate it if you would let me know how I can better communicate respect to you," or "How can I better show you how much I value you and honor you as my spouse?"
We also help couples explore meaningful needs that enhance closeness when met. We do that by encouraging each to ask the question, When do I need my spouse? The couples then verbalize these needs this way: “It is very special to me when you ___________.”
As couples learn to listen better to one another, they find increased ability to hit the "target" with their giving. Husbands know exactly how to give their wives respect, and wives know how to show honor. Each is better equipped to esteem the other and less frustrated in his or her efforts to do so.
In what way will you demonstrate more willingness to listen to your spouse today?
Father, remind me often of the great worth of Your children, who are joint heirs with Christ. May my attitude and behavior be consistent with this divine calling.
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