What Did You Say?

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The truth is, careful listening feels so much like love that most of us can hardly tell the difference.

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning.”  Proverbs 1:5

Men may use less speech than women, but both sexes have been accused of not using their sense of hearing. “You never told me that” is a common household refrain. I (JCD) am reminded of the night my father was preaching at an open-tent service. During his sermon, an alley cat decided to take a nap on the platform. My father, who was 6'4", took a step backward and planted his heel squarely on the poor creature’s tail. The cat went crazy, scratching and clawing to free himself. But Dad, intent on his message, didn’t notice. He later said he thought the screech came from the brakes of automobiles at a nearby stop sign. When my father finally moved his foot, the cat took off like a Saturn rocket.

This story illustrates the communication problem many couples face.

For example, a wife “screams” for attention and intimacy but feels that he doesn’t even notice. It’s not that he can’t hear her; it’s that he’s thinking about something else or is completely misinterpreting her signals. This situation can easily be improved by simply “tuning in” to the station on which your mate is broadcasting. The truth is that careful listening feels so much like love that most of us can hardly tell the difference.

Just between us . . .

• When we tell each other something that doesn’t get through, who is to blame—the “sender,” the “receiver,” or both?

• What have you wanted to say, but didn’t because you couldn’t get my attention?

• How could learning to listen better to each other help us listen better to God?

Dear God, teach us the wisdom and grace of listening. Help us to pay attention to each word as though we were listening to You. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

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