His biggest fan

SONY DSC

As I lovingly watched my husband playing catch in the floor with our granddaughter last night, it was like Déjà vu.  Wasn’t it just yesterday, instead of over 20 years ago that he sat doing the same thing with her mother?  One of my favorite things about my husband is unconditional the love he has always shown to his girls; daughters and granddaughters.

Today we celebrate 23 years as one and although we have been through many things, they have only served to strengthen us.  It isn’t really what you go through though, that will ultimately either make you or break you; it’s how you handle what you go through.  As you “partner” through things, making sure to communicate, you find your love and respect for each other grows.

As life happens, we are often tempted to take one of several different roles.  At times we put on our long black robe and become judge, doling out opinions of guilt or innocence, and deciding what sentence we will impose.  At other times we wear the disguise of investigator, seeking and searching for clues and facts to settle our rabid curiosity or to put our insecurities to rest.

We all think we are attorneys sometimes and we take much pride and care in arguing our case, we dwell on the offense and prepare exhaustively to defend ourselves.  It’s not always worth it; pick your battles.

Maybe (usually in our younger years) we put on a warden or police uniform and make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be at all times, dogging our charges to ensure their behavior meets our expectations, enforcing our rules.  We all like to play comedian at times and tease each other but don’t demean each other in front of others.  You shouldn’t do it anyway, but in front of people is especially cruel.  What begins as teasing or joking can become a habit of insulting and degrading each other.  Shelter each other as best you can and keep your problems to yourself within reason.  Build each other up, don’t tear down.

None of the aforementioned roles serve to strengthen when played out in a marriage; as a matter of fact they tear down and destroy.

On the positive side, we can be teachers, learning from and sharing with each other along the way.   We can put on a white coat as we nurture one another back to health.   Some of us don’t mind at all donning our waitress uniform and apron as we dazzle our beloved with delicious dishes.   Our male counterparts seem to enjoy the greasy old mechanics uniform as they try to “fix” everything, when sometimes we don’t need to be fixed, just heard (but hey, as least they are trying).

I find I am happiest when I am just intent on being his best friend, his lover and his biggest fan, praising his accomplishments and forgiving his failures.  There is a lot to be said about that old saying, “if you treat him like a king, he’ll treat you like a queen.”  Are there exceptions?  Do some marriages fail no matter what you do?  Yes and yes.

Am I saying things are always perfect?  Absolutely not, and they won’t be this side of heaven. Do I have it all figured out?  Nope, but I’m working towards it.  I do know from years of experience if I keep my focus on God and practice the kind of love He has shown to me; He will keep me in perfect peace.

 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Can you really hear me?

English: Noblemen conversing.

English: Noblemen conversing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Chinese proverb says, ““To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation”.

Why is it then, that when someone needs to talk to us, we automatically assume we have to have an immediate response to everything they say?  Now, obviously, in a normal conversation, more than one person is speaking, thus the term conversation.

But, what about those instances when a friend or family member comes to you and shares something personal or intimate?  Why don’t we realize that we don’t always have the answers and that there are times when silence truly is golden?  Often people just need to vent or even just hear themselves say something out loud.  There is nothing more frustrating than when you just want to share something and the person you are conversing with has to have solutions to everything.   Sometimes they are truly just trying to help, but often I think we are just so sure of ourselves and prideful that we think we really do have all the answers.

The art of conversation is grossly lacking in our modern times, largely due to the rapid increase in technology in recent years.  Doesn’t it seem like we talk more in different arenas, but we actually say less?  Abbreviated words and slang don’t seem to hold the same meaning as some of the older words did.

However, I think the area most in need to an overhaul as we communicate with one another, is the ability to listen.  How often do you feel like you are competing with a cell phone?  The most atrocious example of this is when I see parents doing this to their children.  When your children want to speak with you, listen.   There is a time for work and a time for them.  When it’s their time, give them your full attention.  I can assure you that when they have left the nest you will regret every moment you missed or neglected.

Personally, I want to be more aware of this lack of common courtesy for others, mainly in the “listening” department, and remember to check myself in conversations to assure that I am attentive.  Can I be blatantly honest here?  I know how often I find myself preparing what I am going to say before the other person is finished with what they are saying.  I feel myself almost rushing them in my head, so that I can speak.  That must mean I think what I am going to say is more important or offers more in some way.  God help me to change this!

When I do challenge myself to be silent more often and just sit back and listen, I learn so much more about my fellow-man.  This is a necessity if I’m sincere about my efforts to put others first, to honor others before myself and to learn more of their plight, that I might find a way to help.  Hmm…something else to ponder if you will.  Blessings!

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