Susan and I went on a trip with our good friends a few weeks ago. We’re really close with this couple and candidly share with one another things that we see that need to change or be corrected in each other’s lives. After Jay observed me interacting with Susan for a couple of days, he said to me, “I notice that when you and Susan talk, you interrupt her a lot. That’s not very respectful.” “Uh, thanks,” I hesitantly said. I then paused and thought for a minute. I realized he was right. I got out my pad of paper so I could dig a bit more deeply into this and use it to better my marriage…and to share with you!
Here is the essence of what Jay shared with me. When you respect your wife, you…
- Don’t interrupt her. Cutting her off while she’s speaking, even unintentionally, shows that you care more about what you want to say than what she is saying. Also, when you interrupt her when she is doing something, you’re really just saying, “My time and what I want is more important than what you are doing.”
- Value her words. And when you value her thoughts and opinions, you are valuing her as a person and her position as your wife. That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything she says, it just means that you’ll bend over backwards to hear her viewpoint.
- Listen more. A good listener does less talking. A good listener repeats back and validates what the other person says. A good listener makes eye contact and has welcoming facial expressions.
- Ask her “How can I better respect you?” After she answers, thank her for sharing and then do your best to do it!
I learned a lot from my friend Jay that day. I’ve got some work to do in this area and am up to the challenge. Of course, these points apply to both husbands and wives, and in any relationship.
What have you learned about how you can better respect your spouse? Please share your comments with me.