Loving the woman in your life follows the same principle of the old county-fair raffle rules: must be present to win.
Dungy, Tony; Nathan Whitaker (2011-02-21). Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance (Kindle Location 627). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Being in the same room and being present are two different things. Two people can be in the same room, at the same table, and even in the same bed, and be miles apart. You can even have a conversation with someone and not hear a word they said. And, sometimes, you can repeat every word and forgot to listen to their heart.
Over the last few months, I’ve really been working on being present with my bride. I know that sounds vague, so here are a few things I’ve tried:
- Put away the electric gadgets when we are spending time together. My wife hates it when I bring my boss along on a date via my cellphone.
- Listen to what she is saying without formulating my next point before she finishes her sentence.
- Pause after she is done talking; consider what she said; ask a followup or clarifying question.
- Volunteer to have conversations I typically shy away from, like the budget, or mowing the lawn.
- Ask her about her priorities in life and the things she is passionate about. When I find articles or videos about these things, I file them away for later conversations.
I also pray before dates, typically along the lines of, “Lord, help me know more about this woman you have placed in my life. Let me learn more of her today that will help me fall deeper in love with her before we brush our teeth tonight.” He has been so faithful to answer that prayer. In fact, I usually learn there are depths to my wife that I hadn’t discovered yet. She gets more intriguing the more I listen for her heart.
We’ve been married almost 17 years. Learning the difference between being in the room and being present is what will allow us to enjoy the next 17 years together.
photo by Leo Reynolds