“One of the most urgent human needs is to be heard.”
When we’re in a tough situation, the last thing we want to do is listen to our spouse. We tense up, distance ourselves emotionally, and try to get the last word. But God calls us to honor them by engaging and letting them open up. There is power in giving someone the opportunity to be heard. This can be practiced with every relationship but particularly in marriage.
Author Deb DeArmond writes about this in her book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last. She and her husband had been married a very short time when he pointed something out to her about the power of giving someone “air time.” He shared that he first felt attracted to her because she had listened to him. He told her,
“You were interested in what I was thinking about. You wanted to know my opinion and how I felt about things.”
Forty years later, it’s still one of his strongest needs.
“I recognize he needs to be heard; I cannot cut him off. He’s an engineer. He thinks long and intricately about things – he’s a process guy. He said to me once, ‘You think faster than I do. You talk faster than I do. And if you want to win you’re on a roll… but if you want a solution we can both really support, we need to slow this down a little bit and come to a solution we can both live with.”
It can be easy to run our spouse over in conversation, but that doesn’t build intimacy. Deb urges spouses, especially wives, to draw out their spouse by asking questions and listening well. Ask,
We’re struggling – what are your thoughts about it?
What’s in your heart?
What would you like to see happen?
What needs to change in our relationship?
This is not just a natural issue but a spiritual one, as Deb points out. “Open the dialogue, because as soon as the dialogue stops we start listening to the wrong voices.” Shutting down communication can give Satan a foothold to work against us and start to unravel a relationship.