Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I"m Not Listening . . . Humperdink, Humperdink, Humperdink

OK, so one of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. And many of you know there's this hilarious Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) scene where Max doesn't want to hear anything about Humperdink the king he formerly served.  So as Max's wife shouts "Humperdink, Humperdink, Humperdink," Max runs around with his hands over his ears saying, "I'm not listening."

Unfortunately there are many spouses who for all practical purposes act just like Max when their spouse tries to talk to them. There are lots of reasons why the listening is on hold, however. For some they're easily distracted. They don't intend to not listen but they can see a bird fly by and they are now thinking about something else.

Others try to multi-task all the time. They intend to listen but have a remote, newspaper or smart phone in one hand. They end up really showing disrespect to their spouse but feel like those other things can't wait or that they're simply talented enough to do both.

Some, however, don't want to hear what their spouse says because they feel inadequate to respond or simply don't want to face their own failure or wrongdoing.

However, if meaningful, effective and intimate conversation and communication will ever happen in a marriage spouses must let go of their belief that their worth is on the line during conflict.  When we're wrong we need to learn to face it. We won't be less of a person. We'll actually get stronger.

When our spouse needs us to hear them whether it's because of our mistake or merely their need for a listening ear we can go there and must. And if we're not very good at it we need to start practicing.  If we're a multi-tasker then we need to start by putting the other things aside and giving our mate some focused attention.

A few suggestions: turn off the TV, computer or other distractions that keep you from listening well.

Find regular time to focus on each other and hear the other person completely.

If we're easily distracted we need to enumerate those things that steal our attention and determine a way for them not to control us any more.  And if we thought we just didn't want to hear it well . . . decide for a change that it won't kill you. You'll survive and yes, your marriage will be even stronger. And your spouse will know that in you they truly have a friend and confidante.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. "...must let go of their belief that their worth is on the line during conflict." Very interesting concept and something I haven't thought of quite that way before.

    Thanks for the perspective.