I overheard a very interesting conversation between a husband and wife this week. Husband was recounting how he had come home and told Wife about something that had happened at work. Wife reacted disdainfully to the details of the story. And then Husband said something that was very interesting to me.
He said, “I didn’t want you to react to the story, I wanted you to listen to me.”
DING DING. Folks, we have a winner. Lesson for the week, here we come!
How many times has Devo come home and told me something from his day and I immediately blaaahhhh all over the story? (Um, let’s not answer that one, okay?)
What if, when Devo comes home and tells me all about this meeting or that situation, he’s not really asking my opinion on the story? (<gasp> Doesn’t he want my opinion? I have lots to spare and share.)
What if he’s asking me to listen to him, to the things he’s not saying about himself and how he relates to the story?
Spurred on by these thoughts, this week I’ve been trying to block out the details of the stories and listen instead to Devo himself and dadgummit, it’s hard! I prefer listening to tales of parochial malfunction and being indignant and self-righteous! I enjoy listening to tales of woe and offering solutions! I want to listen to stories about people with problems and play psychologist!
As I’ve persevered in shutting my mouth and opening my ears, the experience has boiled down to one thought/question from this week’s Marital Resolution on Active Listening: