“I was sitting in the living room looking at my phone when my wife, Mel, asked me a question, and when I looked up, she was obviously irritated. Turns out she’d asked me the same question twice already and I’d responded ‘sure’ to a non-yes or no question.
She was asking me about a weekend trip we were planning, and yet there I was, only half listening, screwing around on Facebook. Why? I don’t know. It’d been a long day at work, and the kids were in bed and I wanted a mental break, I suppose. I honestly don’t know why it can be so hard for me to listen sometimes.
But honestly, none of that really mattered, because in that moment, I was ignoring my wife of 14 years, mother of my children, and the person I love most in the world.
There are times that I’m not a good listener. Each time Mel gives me the same frustrated look that seems to say, ‘Put down your stupid phone and listen to what I have to say.’
And what would I be doing if I did exactly that?
I once read that the greatest communication skill is being an effective listener. One of the most beneficial things to a marriage is really listening, regardless of what your partner has to say. Listening is one of the highest forms of validation.
And yet, although I know all of this, I still struggle to put down the distractions and really listen to my wife. And I always play it off like I was listening. But this time, as I looked at my wife, her lips drawn to a tight line, right hand on her hip, I realized that saying I was listening when I wasn’t, was a dick move.
So I put my phone down and I tried a different approach. ‘I’m sorry,’ I said.
Then I got up and sat next to her at the table, both of us looking at weekend locations, my full attention on what she was saying. And once it was all said and done, I realized by paying attention what I was really saying was ‘You matter’ and ‘I love you.’”
This story was written by Clint Edwards from No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog and author of I’m Sorry…Love, Your Husband. His new book can be found here. Follow Clint on Instagram here. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.
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