Welcome to part 6 of my 10 part posting about Listening Blockers. Wow! I have been overwhelmed by how many of you have emailed me to tell me about how these blockers have played a part in your marriages. Several people knew that these things were happening, but they did not have a name for them or a real understanding of why they were happening.
I truly love it and it does my heart good when you, the reader, let me know what you think about my posts. I have a very real need to help people who are hurting and that is at the heart of why I write on this blog just about every day. I know what it is like to suffer through heartaches, disappointments, sorrows, judgments, and bad emotions. I also know what it is like to be able to help people over come these things and get back to living the life, and having the marriages, that God intended for you to have from the beginning. It is always my hope that these posts will be helpful to even one person who reads them.
It is also my hope that if you do find these posts helpful, that you might find it in your heart to spread the word about them and pass the links on to others who may need the information as much as you do! You know, Jesus started out with a group of 12 simple men. Two thousand years later, the Bible is just about everywhere and Jesus never spent a dime on advertisement! I believe we can do the same for each other by passing on helpful counseling information to others who need it. Ok I’ll step down from my soapbox now, but I did want to say a heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you who take the time to either comment or to email me with your comments and even your critiques. Now onto Listening Blocker #6 – Advising.
#6 – Advising
So you get home from a long day at work but it was also a really good day because you worked out a problem with a co-worker that you have been having for a very long time. You can’t wait to share your day with your spouse. So they arrive home and you begin to explain to them the expert way in which you worked out this issue with your co-worker. Unfortunately, right in the middle of your explanation, your spouse cuts you off and begins to offer advice on how you should be handling situations like this.
Kind of takes the helium right out of the balloon doesn’t it? Why yes it does!! Your partners urge to fix everything and have answers for every issue deafens them to your need to simply be heard. Now that you feel unheard, you also can easily begin to feel unloved if this keeps happening to you every time you talk with your spouse.
Men, by nature, have an innate need to fix things, especially for those we love. We often do not have the foggiest idea that most of the time our wives do not want us to fix things, they just want to share their lives with us. Since sharing our lives is not something that comes natural to men, we default to fixing mode very easily. Now there are women who do this just as much, but if you do the math, men lead in being fixers and advisers by a very wide margin.
Luckily there is a very easy fix for this blocker and my wife taught it to me very early on in our marriage. She will often start conversations by saying, “Brad, I do not need you to fix anything at all here. I just want to share a frustration at work with you.” Let me tell you, this is a world changer! I am now free to stop thinking about ways to fix things while she is talking and instead I can actively listen to her! She gets what she desperately needs – to be heard – and I can just sit and listen attentively and then share in her day with her.
I will do the very same thing with my wife so that we are always clear in what we are looking to get out of a conversation. I promise you, this works every time! I cannot tell you how many couples put this very thing to great use in their own marriages and how it has changed their marriages and their communication.
Always start every conversation with your spouse by letting them know what your hoping to get from your conversations from them and you can almost guarantee you will get that every time!
I hope you have a very safe, fun, and blessed weekend, and I’ll see you back tomorrow night for Listening Blocker #7.
Pastor Brad Komgenick