Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Are You Listening to Me?"

Like an unexpected wake-up call, you've probably heard these words before. They're usually uttered when you're engrossed in an important task like watching baseball, football or hockey, or are concentrating on a demanding task like driving the car, washing the car, or thinking about driving or washing the car. No matter what you're doing, when you hear them you have to stop and take notice. If you don't, trouble surely waits.

It typically plays out something like this:

She: "What are you watching?"

He: "Football."

She: (She shakes her head at how guys can find interest in a game where men spend the afternoon running into each other.) "That's nice. What do you suggest we do for my mother's birthday?"

He: "Whatever." (This is followed by shouts directed at the TV concerning the replacement officials.)

She: "I was thinking we could fly her into town to stay with us for a week or two."

He: "Whatever. Sounds good." (This is followed by comments about the coach's sanity, especially for calling a draw play on third down and 15.)

She: "Good, I'll call her now."

Perhaps, you can see where this is heading.

It's a good thing to build conversation skills with your spouse. Here are a few tips on improving your communication:

1. Take a few minutes in the morning and evening to speak with your loved one. Those few minutes can lead to unexpected and important results.

2. Engage in an after-work debrief. Spend some time reconnecting with the home front.

3. Silence the TV at dinner time. Eliminating this distraction can empower communication around the dinner table. It may be deathly quiet for a while, but this is where your considerable powers of communication take over.

4. Kiss and Hug. A daily kiss and hug creates a great connection and makes for a friendly wife.

5. Pray together. This can be jump started with some Bible reading first. Tapping into a written or audio devotion you both enjoy works well too; plus it gives you and the missus something to center your attention on.

Wives can be tremendous conversationalists, possessing vital knowledge on occasion. Rather than reluctantly hearing her out, embrace the idea -- and her. You just might find out something you didn't know -- like when you can expect to see your mother-in-law next.

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