Every husband has, at one time or another been accused of having selective hearing. Call it tuning out, turning off, or ignoring; it can be very easy to mentally check out and totally miss what is going on around you. What does this have to do with a nagging wife? Actually the two issues are very closely linked.
Every second of every day our brains make decisions on what to listen to and what to ignore. Our brains tune out the normal sounds that we hear all the time. Without even alerting us our brains decide, “No, I don’t need to listen to that elevator music” or “Nope I don’t care about the AC turning on.” So while we do actually hear those sounds our brains automatically ignore them, we don’t listen.
The Nagging Wife Problem
This brain habit could be very problematic to your marriage if you are not careful. Marriage needs to be based on communication, everyday communication, important communication, the mundane and the essential. But if you selectively tune out to the everyday sound of your wife’s voice you will are create the very nagging problem you so dislike.
Pump Up The Volume
Every wife has a volume knob with settings Low, Medium, High and Nag. No, you cannot turn it down automatically anytime you want. However, you can very easily turn it up! When I mentally check out from home, when I’m consumed by other thoughts I am sending my wife the message to turn up the volume. This is a natural response when trying to get someone’s attention.
Tune In and Turn It Down
Hearing and listening are two different actions. Hearing is the biological act of our ears picking up the sound. While listening is something we wear! Yes you heard me right; you wear listening as if it was that ugly fishing hat your grandpa used to wear. You take it out and put it on at will.
I used to be a pretty poor listener. I had a bad habit of hearing what Kate was saying while continuing to listen to whatever I was doing (watching TV, surfing online, or reading). I would give the obligatory “uh ha” and “ok love” type of responses, but I never really listened to what she was saying. Yes I heard her, yes I took in the information, but I was not devoting my brain to our conversation, I was not listening to her.
I was showing Kate by my actions that I didn’t really want to talk, that I didn’t care about whatever she was saying. Of course when she turned up the volume on me (which I totally deserved) I would immediately baulk and say, “No of course I care!” but as we all know actions speak louder than words.
A few years ago I made a conscious decision to force myself to do one of two things when I would hear Kate’s voice. Either, I would ask Kate to hold that thought for a minute until I could reach a stopping point and give her my attention. Or, I would stop whatever I was doing, look at Kate and put on my listening hat!
Stop Nagging in Its Tracks
Next time you find yourself upset because you feel your wife is nagging you, do a quick hat check. Have you been listening? Have you been tuned in or only giving her selective husband hearing? If you can recognize that you have not been checked in enough then what is happening isn’t nagging, it is screaming for attention. You have the power to turn down the volume.
As you are going through your day think about what you are hearing and what you are choosing to listen to. Make a conscious effort to put on that old fishing listening hat when your wife speaks today.
It is easy to complain about nagging, are there other ways that you have discovered change this pattern in your marriage?