21 May 2012

in which I pretend to know something [part II]

Here's my second piece of marriage advice: listen to him. I don't just mean after a conversation, as in "consider his words carefully and heed his advice" (though that's good counsel too). I mean during a conversation, as in "wait for him to speak, instead of rampaging along with your own torrent of words."
Conversations #3
{image credit: Udit Kulshretha}

This is a huge challenge for me; I didn't even realize that it was an issue until at least halfway through our first year of marriage.

My conversation is a verbal juggernaut, speeding along its track without consideration for what the other person may have to say. Jared is much slower to speak than I (and is also much more polite). Unless I consciously pause, rein in my tongue, and wait for him to say something, he will rarely butt in, and I will mistakenly assume that he has nothing to contribute to the conversation.

Furthermore, I-- like most women I know-- process ideas by talking about them; I will happily discuss something that I haven't yet fully sorted out, because by means of that discussion I will gain further clarity. A lot of men, on the other hand, process ideas mentally and only talk about it afterwards, once they have a good foundation to build on. Thus, Jared prefers to muse quietly for a while before he speaks.

This used to drive me crazy (confession: sometimes it still does). As a talkative woman accustomed to interacting with other talkative women, I expect people to respond immediately to what I say. None of this quiet reflection nonsense. When my husband doesn't respond, when he is silent, I can think that he wasn't listening. False! I just need to give him time to collect his thoughts.

If I hadn't done this I would have missed at least half of the wise things that Jared has said in the past several years.

So ladies, exercise some self-control. You might be surprised at what you hear. :)

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