The art of listening and hearing is a challenge for many marriages. Brad shared in, “Is Your Wife Elevator Music,” that he has struggled at times with being an active listener. Now, we try very hard to turn off all the noise going on around us, so that we can share our lives and hearts with one another. We turn off the TV, I-Phone, computer and even our kiddos! (Yes we’ve had off switches installed in them)
All of these things vie for your attention and seek to take your focus away from your spouse! Brad has always been a great listener since he spends much of his days listening to others, as counselor he needs to see and hear what people are saying. That being said, he has also gone above and beyond in the last two years to shut out distractions and give me his undivided attention! It makes me feel so loved, shows me what I have to say important and that I am a priority in his life!
The distractions may be different for wives but we still need to learn to turn them off. We as wives tend to let things such as the phone, our kids, work, email, drown out our husbands when they need and want to talk to us! Easy suggestions are, let the phone ring, ask the kids to play outside or in their rooms (this is one of those no choice times), walk away from your work or computer. Find another quiet space to talk and let your hubby know that you really want to hear what he has to say. If that isn’t immediately possible make sure to suggest waiting for a quieter time!
Finding ways to show your hubby that what he has to say is important to you is essential it what helps him not feel like the Invisible Man!! For men being listened to is one of the keys to feeling respected and our husbands need to feel that respect!
1. How good of a listener are you when your hubby comes home from work and wants to share his day?
Just as we are finally ready to have adult conversations and share about our hectic day, our hubby’s also need to decompress and transition from their work day. This can be a very challenging changeover time for many couples. In order for our husband’s to make the transition from work to home that we so desire we need to be an outlet and encouragement for them.
Many men need a place to decompress, to vent, even if they had a positive day! I know that Brad appreciates when he is able to share briefly about his day before we get into our evening activities. Sometimes this is only 5 or 10 minutes. Usually we have this conversation while one of us is finishing up dinner, other times we will steal away to our bedroom for 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes helps him to have a better outlook on the rest of the evening. We usually find time later in the evening when the kids are in bed, or occupied with after dinner activities to talk further or in more detail, especially if something significant has occurred.
I know that some hubby’s tend to be less talkative about their work, but I think that might be a result of their wives not taking the time to engage them about their day. I know we get very busy and wrapped up in feeding the family and getting ready for evening activities, but often we don’t realize what a positive influence on our marriages it would be if we took time to encourage our husbands to share their day. Even if your hubby doesn’t want to share the ins and outs of what he is doing it is still important for you to ask. I know maybe that hits close to home for some of you, but if listening equals respect for men, not giving them the opportunity can start of a day with a feeling invisible.
2. How good of a listener are you when your husband shares his desire for sexual intimacy with you?
Ya, I know I always bring it around to sex, but that is because this is such an important area of marriage and this is where I think a lot of husbands feel most invisible. When your husband asks for sex and intimacy, in verbal or non verbal ways, how you listen and respond helps them feel respected or feel like the invisible man. This is often the root of communication for men; if your communication about sex improves other areas of communication will improve too. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true! So make it a goal to listen to your husband when he makes his sexual desires known, and do everything you can to meet them! (for more on this check out Sex: The Art of Offering More)
Listening = Respect
For men being listened to is one of the keys to feeling respected. Our husband’s need to feel respected! Listening to them shows we see them, that they are not the invisible man! I encourage you wives to think about practical ways you can let your hubby know you desire to listen to them.