Every cell phone user has experienced it at some point, and one company has built an entire advertising campaign around it: While you are speaking to a spouse, a business contact, or a friend, the connection breaks—only you don’t know it immediately. You continue to talk until you sense something is wrong and finally ask, “Are you still there?”
Dead silence or a static screech provide the answer—yes indeed, the person on the other end is gone. And then you wonder, Just how much of what I said wasn’t heard?
How often does this type of thing happen in your marriage? One of you is talking, but no one is there on the other end of the conversation. Listening is not as easy as talking for most of us! When Job told his friends, “Listen carefully to my speech, and to my declaration with your ears,” he said it out of deep frustration (13:17). Remember that attentive listening encourages and blesses the speaker.
So the Bible urges us, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). If you want the tension level in your marriage to decrease, then learn to become a better listener.