I sometimes wonder how often we husbands hear our wives, and how often we listen to them. Believe it or not, these are not the same things. How often to we just hear them talking and nod our heads or say, “yes dear”. How often are we absorbed in what we are doing, consumed in where our focus is, and miss listening to our wives and instead we just hear them. In John 4:7-10
7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
Here Jesus not only hears the woman, but listens to her. He saw that she did not come to the well with the other women. He saw that she came in the heat of the day when she knew no others would be at the well. He listens to what her heart is crying out for. He takes the time to listen to not only the words she speaks but understands what she is really asking for.
I don’t claim that we men can listen and know what is on the heart of our wives all the time, but I do believe if we take the time to know our wives, we can learn them. I try to listen to my wife. I don’t just listen to her words, but I listen to her tone, her body language, and the pauses she makes while she is processing what is going on in her head before she can speak it. There are times I know what is going on before she does. Before she has had time to process the emotional side and get to the root of the issue. Sometimes I will offer up what I feel is going on, and sometimes I just give her time to process it all. I don’t have to prove to her that I know what she is thinking, but being aware helps me to prepare for when she is able to talk to me about it. In Mark 10:46-52 we see…
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Now, of course Jesus could see that the man was blind, it would be difficult not to, but Jesus asked the man “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus let Bartimaeus ask for what he needed.
I don’t have to “fix” every problem my wife has. I don’t have to tell her what her thoughts are or tell her what to do. However, I can help her to understand what she is feeling and dealing with. I can support her and give her my own perspective about the situation that she is upset about. I can speak truth to her, love her and care for her. I can take the time to stop what I am doing and “listen” to her. I can give her security in knowing that I will not judge her and I will always be there for her and that I will do my best to understand what she is telling me. Deeper than just the words, but to understand what is there that she can’t communicate.
It takes time, it takes forever, but each moment we spend with our focus and attention on our wives, is one moment closer to being able to be what God intended husbands to be.