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.