Last night I came across this quote in John Maxwell’s new book, Leadership Gold: Lessons I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Leading and it got me thinking about a great application to marriage. Here’s what he wrote:
“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (p.7)
One of the most common problems I see in marriage counseling is where either or both spouses feel like his spouse doesn’t care what he thinks or she thinks he doesn’t care what she thinks. Neither feels heard. One of the easiest way to show somebody you care is to listen to him or her. If people don’t feel heard or if they think their opinions are being poopooed, scoffed, mocked, ignored or debated it creates a spirit of anger that can quickly escalate into a huge mess. When anger is in the mix all bets are off on a helpful conclusion. Anger doesn’t breed understanding. It breeds more anger. More scoffing, more not listening, more hurt, more discontent, more doubt. As the Bible says, The anger of man does not fulfill the righteousness of God.
We just want to be heard! Why won’t he listen to me? She ignores everything I say! Let’s take the statement above by John Maxwell and apply it to this area of marriage: if I want to be heard….I need to listen! If I want to be heard, I need to show my spouse I care. He’s more likely to listen if he thinks I care. This goes back to the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.
But what do we do instead? You want your spouse to yell at you? Yell at them! That’s the ticket! I’ve never met a spouse yet who wanted his spouse to yell at them. Curiously, most tell me they want their spouses’ opinion, just not with venom. Serve your opinion up with some ice cream and chocolate cake.
So here’s a thought on top of John Maxwell’s thought: What can I do today to show my husband or wife today that I care? An unexpected phone call? A pleasant text or email? A well timed hug? Ask about his day? Find out what concerned her today? Flirt with her a tad? Pat him on the butt? A little tease? Sit with him on the couch? If he knows you care, he’ll care what you think. It’s a win-win.