I had an important lunch with a friend today that had potential career-implications (not necessarily job-changing, but career-trajectory).
You listened to me mull, discuss, talk out, babble, ramble, and hem and haw.
You listened to me self-deprecatingly talk about my skills and track record and laugh self-consciously.
You generally just listened.
Thanks for that. I needed it.
I feel like I need to sit on this dare for a while.
Love seeks to understand. There are moments when it seems like I really need to share more than I do, but in the end, I need to create safe space for you to speak your heart and your mind.
I don’t need to be passive sharing my heart with you. Or my fears or stresses or even failings.
But this dare isn’t about my working through that particular issue. This dare is about you. It’s about my understanding and seeking to understand and being a student of you.
And why is that important? Because you are important. You are precious. You are a gift. You are worth hearing and listening to. You are wise. You have important things to say. Plus I just plain love you. And I’m called to hear you and listen to you.
If husbands love wives like Christ loves the church and He hears our prayers, how much more should I become better at hearing your heart?
I’m scared at what I might hear sometimes, but that’s a ‘me’ problem. 🙂
So… until I have the dinner that is called for in this dare (I’m supposed to cook for you, and I’m sure you won’t remember when this dinner took place because my goal is that you don’t see this blog until 5/14/2015 (our 10 year anniversary).
My goal.. my desire to make good on this dare, as I mostly laid out yesterday:
- Ask you questions: Good questions and not just one, but follow up questions. I’m not gonna let you wiggle off the hook. Not that you’re a worm that I’m going fishing with, but you get the picture.
- Listen to you: I’m not going to cut you off. I’m not going to go after a distraction.
- Pray: See God for better understanding if I don’t get it or if something you says touches something off in me.
- NOT solve problems unless you ask me to: I’m going to hold my tongue as long as possible in the solution area. There’ll be plenty of time for that later.
The point of understanding
You’ve suggested before that you, in the past, didn’t think your words or opinion mattered. Your emotions might get cut off. You might not feel totally heard or validated.
I want you to feel the complete opposite with me. Period.
I’ve been freaking manic at and about work lately. I’ve been working my fanny off to produce more and more. It’s almost gotten to the point of obsession. I know as exciting as my industry is (wink wink), I’m not sure how much you love to hear a 35 minute monologue every night.
But you’re being extremely sweet and understanding and kind. I appreciate it a lot and I think you understand why I’m on this kick. My goal: provide for our family, allow our kids to do little things like swimming lessons, soccer, a little music class here or there, hire a babysitter, go on a date, etc.
Sure, retirement, but mostly, right now, I want to give us some breathing room. I know all I can do is my best and trust God with the rest, but while I’m a little wrapped around the axle, thanks for being in my corner.
You’re a precious gift. And it’s almost Mother’s Day! And you’re an awesome mom!
Lately, I’ve felt like you and I are starting to head to a deeper level in our marriage. With anything, to bust through any kind of plateau, there are some difficulties.
I just sense from you and I’ve felt it in me, that we’re growing individually and that we are heading toward wanting to have greater depth in our communication. I feel we’re more willing to have healthy disagreements. We’re more willing to confront each other and call each other on our crap.
Getting along and having some sweet times are awesome, but digging in and making each other better and better people is the stuff that influencing marriages are made of. And since we were married, I think we wanted to have a marriage that was such that we’d be able to positively influence other couples and families.
I want to do that with you. You’re an incredible woman.
Sometimes one of the biggest motivators to love you is because you need it. There’s often nothing tangible I can do or any gem of wisdom I can give to you when you’re in a funk. Just know that I’m totally in your corner. The result is that my attempts at being loving aren’t helpful in the moment. It’s best if I do nothing but listen. You can reprimand me if I try to dumb down your difficult moments with quick and assinine solutions.
I don’t know if you “feel’ the love, whatever that means in those moments, but please know that I’m thinking about you, praying for you, hoping for you that the day gets better, your heart is encouraged, etc. I apologize when I get exasperated at those times. That’s a “me” problem. If there is an issue that we need to talk about later, then I need to have the balls to bring it up, but in those moments, you need to know that I’m with you. I love you. Never forget that I’m there. More than that, don’t forget the presence of God with you in each and every one of your moments. He’s right there.
So… one of the reasons I love you is because you need the love from this fallen dude. We all need it sometimes, and I’ve been given the opportunity to be the one to provide it for you.
Yesterday, I had a crappy day at work. No major blow ups (although one might be coming). Nothing really to do about it but whine and then refocus and on to the next right action on something else at work.
I had the opportunity to talk to my wife and lay it all out. She really listened. And it really helped. She empathized perfectly. She listened, she clarified, she got angry where she needed to (thanks, sweetie). One of my biggest problems has been forgetting she kicks butt as a listener. Heck, my mom (that’s right, my wife’s mother in law) took her to lunch and unloaded a trunk full of baggage (if, Mom, you ever read this–I’m taking a shot at being witty. All I know is that you shared with her and she told me she was really honored that you trusted her. She made no smart aleck comment about baggage. You know me and know that it is my job to be a smart ass).
I have this huge gift of a wife who will listen to me gripe or share my stuff. We guys get in a lot of trouble when we stuff and forget that our wives just might be willing to listen to us (obviously it’s a good idea if we listen back).
For your sweet listening skills, I love you, sweetie.