One of my worst habits, if you ask my husband, is that I don’t listen. Instead I wait to talk, which means that while he is talking, I am thinking about something else, usually what I want to say next, probably a refutation of what he just said. I have to say, guilty as charged.
There are several things in play in this situation. The first, I am ashamed to say, is many times, depending on the subject we are discussing, I am not receptive of his opinion because I think he is giving an anger-driven, reactive response to the situation. My husband struggles with his temper, and often speaks harshly to those who have offended him. I know that his input would be received differently if he would speak calmly and not as if he is attacking the other person, but the only person we can change is us. I cannot change his actions, but I can change my reactions, changing the dynamic of the interaction.
Another factor is that, as a woman, I am thinking about how to “fix” whatever is wrong, so I am thinking of what to do. Other times, especially when he is talking about work and the specifics of building a piece of machinery, and I have no clue what he is talking about, I am thinking of something completely different while I wait for the tale to be over so I can be on to whatever I was doing, or was planning on doing, and not listening at all. That is rude of me.
Is this the right attitude for a biblical or any wife? I think not. We know the Bible says that husband and wife are joined together as one flesh.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31
However, we are still separate in our Christian walk. Wives must separate themselves from their husbands in obedience to the Lord. Just because a husband does not obey, there is no excuse for a wife to be disobedient. God addresses this very clearly in 1 Peter 3:1:
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
God can use your obedience to change your husband’s heart. And the Holy Spirit is the one Who helps you and reminds you of how to act and what to do and say. But you have to listen.
The Holy Spirit is our helper sent by God the Father upon the ascension of Jesus to be our helper and lead us into all truth.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. John 14:26-27
Lately God has been working on my heart and moving me in a direction that leads around a bend to a place I cannot see. I have been walking with Him a little while, so I trust Him enough to go where He leads, just like Abraham.
One of the things He has whispered to me is “Do what the Holy Spirit says; don’t resist.”
So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” Hebrew 3:7-11
One of the things the Holy Spirit is speaking to me in relation to my husband is to be quiet. This is a step up from the past when God was constantly telling me to “shut up.” But I was a new believer and needed more direct, forceful communication. Now I hear His voice in the whisper more readily.
So I am trying to listen more closely. I stop what I am doing; I give him my whole attention. If I find my mind wandering, I bring it back. Sometimes I don’t even say anything, but I have to become more trained in this area to overcome my natural inclination to be “smart,” and/or knowledgeable. I often say, in response to my recent personal revelation, that I don’t know everything–I just think I do.
So, thank You, God, for the Holy Spirit and may I always hear and obey His voice.
How do you need to listen to the Spirit and what habits would He have you change?
Very thoughtful article, Sonya. Great insights, and the comparison in the natural to how you react to your husband is striking.
Thank you. I certainly have a long way to go since my brain is screaming WAIT! but my mouth is fully engaged while my brain is till in neutral! Case in point. He was out of town for 4 or 5 days and the night he came back, he came right in and said, “The trash in the kitchen stinks.” My mouth, which should have remained fully closed awaiting instructions from my brain, popped open and said, “You just got here and that’s all you have to say?” *heavy sigh* Later in the evening I shared with him my intention to work on my communication with him and be a better listener and asked him to help me by letting me know (in a nice way) when I am missing the mark. So last night I said to him, “Sorry about what I said about the trash. What I was supposed to say was, Okay, I will take it out tomorrow. But my mouth got ahead of my brain again! I just need more practice!