When my wife and I went to our pastor for the required "pre-marriage" marriage counseling, he said something that I didn't believe, but that I now know is true.
He said: "Joey, every day, men & women have a certain amount of words they need to use. Joey, you have ten thousand words. Your wife, she has THIRTY thousand words. Now, during the day, you may use all ten thousand, and when you get home, you're all out of words. BUT: your BRIDE has only used TEN of her thirty thousand, and she has her words to spend. Let her spend them."
Now, you can debate the number all you want, the idea has proven to be pretty solid. When I get home, I'm ready to shut down. But that's not fair to my sweet bride. She has more words to share and she deserved to spend them.
I'm surrounded by friends who speak with great pride about their hunting prowess. How they can be quiet in the woods for hours, completely in tune with nature, listening for slight and subtle telling sounds. And that's pretty comical because when they get home, these skilled woodsmen become deaf & dumb to the glaring signs at home.
If I'm not being too selfish, I'll admit that I usually benefit from my wife's words. Sometimes they're about stuff I don't really understand, but if I listen, I pick up valuable gems. What makes her happy; what riles her up; things she likes, things she may really need. Her intuitive sense is usually pretty amazing. Not always, but often enough to be a valued resource. Most of all, she wants me to care, and I gotta tell you: that's fair.
I think our built-in default as humans is usually set to "selfish". We have a sinful nature. And for men, sometimes that also includes "compassion" (I'm looking in the mirror here).
So make plans now to be patient later with your spouse and/or loved ones. Decide now to set aside time to listen. Just listen. We can't fix everything, but we can show that we care.
And that is your encouraging word.
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