The Discipline of Marriage
We’re done now with the excerpts from A Man’s Guide to Disciplines. If I had included a “13th discipline,” it would have been one that I made up: The Discipline of Marriage. Here is something I wrote a few years ago that hasn’t made it into a book yet….
She was reading to him from a magazine article — the whole article. He asked her, “What’s the point?”
“I have to read you the whole thing for you to understand.”
“Are you sure you can’t summarize it for me?”
With that she leaped up and ran into the bedroom. Oh boy, now you’ve gone and done it, he thought to himself. After thinking it over, he picked up his guitar, went into the bedroom, and began to serenade her. He never mentioned his indiscretion. After a couple of minutes a smile broke out on her face. They had reconnected.
We are killing each other slowly. Instead of ministering to each other we press each other into our own expectations. There are three things we can do to develop better communication: Stop, Look, and Listen.
Stop what you are doing. Put down the stupid newspaper. Turn off that idiotic television for ten minutes. We don’t communicate because we don’t connect. To stop means that you make each other a time priority. Choices must be made. Whatever interferes with developing a more intimate relationship must be identified. Is it a lack of interest? That’s selfish. Is it an outside activity? That’s selfish. Is it phone work for the church? That’s selfish. This is a ten point deposit into your spouse’s Emotional Bank Account.
When I am speaking to an audience they look at me. What do you think I would do if no one looked at me? I’ll tell you what — I’m out of there! There is no way I would be able to carry on if I was completely ignored. It is no different in our relationship with each other. Look directly at your mate when he/she is talking to you. Nothing sends a stronger signal that you care. Conversely, nothing shouts “I don’t care” louder than not looking. This is a twenty point deposit into your spouse’s Emotional Bank Account.
Many people need to “talk out” their troubles, but does anyone really care? I process problems best by talking through them with another person. Fortunately for me, my wife, Patsy, has the gift of listening. So she is my #1 confidant and friend. What a blessing she is to me. I return the favor when she needs to talk. This is a thirty point deposit into your spouse’s Emotional Bank Account.
Stop, Look, and Listen. Sounds simple, right? That’s good, because it’s easy to remember. But it takes discipline to pull it off.
Suggestions for How to Use This Article
With your spouse or fiancé, discuss these questions….
- Do I stop to connect with you when you have something on your mind? (both answer)
- Do I look at you when you’re talking to me? (both answer)
- Do I listen to you when you are trying to “talk out” a problem? (both answer)
- Consider asking yourself at the end of the day for a month, “Today, did I stop, look, and listen to the degree that my spouse knows I really care?”
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.