LISTENING, FOOTBALL AND THE DAY MY WIFE SHOULD HAVE KNOCKED ME OUT

ListenIn the 10 years that I’ve been married, there have been many lessons learned.  Many of those lessons have needed reinforcing…over and over and over….I’m a slow learner apparently.

If I could pull one of the many truths out of the marriage hat, it would be this: SOMETIMES, IT’S BETTER TO SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND LISTEN VS. SAYING ANYTHING AT ALL.

You see, as a male, I want to fix things.  I want to solve all of my wife’s issues and settle every one of her nerves.  I have a desire to be this vending machine….pop in a problem quarter and I’ll spit out a can of wisdom.  In a perfect world, it works…..in a realistic world, not so much.

Sometimes, a listening ear and a silent mouth are the best gifts to offer.  To allow my heart to be absorbent, like a sponge, to my wife’s care’s, concerns and passions.

It’s one thing to just be present….it’s another thing to show empathy.  To make eye contact, nod the head in understanding and turn the football off for a bit.

I’m really not one to talk.  As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the day that my oldest son was born.  My poor wife was being a soldier in that hospital room.  Pushing, sweating, groaning, being more of a man than I could ever be.  We had football on in the background to keep things calm and relaxed.  My wife asked me for ice chips or something and I didn’t hear her.  I was watching football (oh you stupid man).  “PAUL, I NEED ICE CHIPS!” suddenly jolted me from my trance and I quickly grabbed some for her.  The nurse swiftly shut the TV off to avoid my wife knocking me out.  It’s funny looking back, but at the time, I wasn’t present in spirit, only in body.

As a guy, being emotionally available and identifying with feelings is tough because we’re not wired that way.  It’s certainly good to give it a valiant effort though and it takes practice.

When it comes down to it, I don’t need to have all of the answers.  I just need to be there.  To be available.

I’ve discovered that sometimes, what’s most necessary are 2 arms, readily available for a bear hug, always.

God Bless,

Paul

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