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  • Elizabeth Billingsley

Just Listen, Yes and No


Hello everyone!

Another week closer to Christmas. I, for one, am excited about Christmas weekend and my after Christmas/New Year's trip to Memphis to see friends and family. I hope you have some fun things as well as rest planned for you holidays as well.

I wanted to take some time to go over some new insight from one last old blog I wrote before I got married. The title of this blog at the time was Just Listen. I'll explain the Yes and No in the title in a bit.

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Just Listen

One of the best things you can do for your husband is to listen. He needs you to be his sounding board for the good times and the bad times. Just the listening ear of his best friend can be the best medicine for him. Listen to his thoughts, feelings and dreams. When you listen, you validate him and you show him that you trully love him, you love who he is as a person and as your partner.

When you listen to your mate, you are an informed partner. You don’t have any surprises and the two of you can work together in unison on anything that may come your way. When you listen, you’re not talking and missing something. I have found that when my mouth is in gear, I always miss something and it’s usually something important. Ladies, when you don’t listen, a little misunderstanding can grow to a big misunderstanding in no time and can cause a lot of unecessary backtracking. If your husband doesn’t feel valued enough by you for you to listen to him, he will shut down and just stop talking.

I challenge all of you to be his best friend by listening, being his sounding board and valuing him enough to hear him out, no matter if it’s a good situation or a bad situation. Don’t dismiss him or discount what he says, you might miss something important and you will hurt him – that’s just not worth it ladies. Your marriage will grow and become stronger when both of you listening and engaged in the communication in your marriage.

Proverbs 18:13; To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.

James 1:19; My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…

Until next time,

Elizabeth

New insight in 2016:

I still believe listening is very valuable in a marriage relationship or in any relationship for that matter. Listening shows the other person you care and when we listen to others we understand what is going on and we tend to be on the "same page" so to speak.

Now allow me to elaborate on what listening is not, to better explain the Yes and No of the title of this blog.

Listening is a normal part of conversation. However, I'm going to give you permission to not listen to certain things in your conversations. I'm even giving you permission to walk away from the conversation if necessary.

First, no one has the right to tell you that you have to listen to them if they are berating you or saying hurtful things to you or teasing you inappropriately. Second, never feel obligated to stand (or sit) and listen to someone purposely embarrass you or embarrass someone else. And last but not least, you don't have to sit (or stand) and listen to someone run other people down behind their backs and you certainly don't have to agree with the person who is doing that.

My late husband would "hold me hostage" in a way to listen to his excuses (his lack of wanting to take responsibility) and many times, his berating for more than a hour on more than one occasion. This was "listening" to him yet he never really listened or even heard me half the time. I'd like to make another confession to you as well. Many of my early blogs were simply me regurgitating what he told me because he told me so much that I was wrong, I believed it. I believe I was at fault. I think a part of me even believed I was a bad person. I believed I had to listen to that garbage and that is what is was, garbage and lies. Garbage and lies told by his other dark self. Garbage and lies he had most likely been told growing up.

I am here to tell you you don't have to listen to anyone lie about you or to you. You do not have to be "held hostage." I allowed this to happen in our home and I will never allow it again. This is not "listening" this is verbal and emotional abuse as well manipulation and control. I will warn you an abuser will blur those lines and try to convince you otherwise. I was convinced for a long time. It wasn't until after he died and I learned some new things about him that I began to realize exactly what had been going on and why I did some of the things I had done, including my blogging at the time.

Listening in a relationship should be mutually beneficial and not one sided. Listening should be helpful to both people, bring clarity and bring them closer together, not push them apart or make one seem better or smarter than the other. Yes there may be conversations we all have to have that may not be pleasant but neither person should ever be made to feel like they are less than the other even in a difficult conversation.

Pay attention to what you are hearing. Listen to always understand and listen to clarify. Listen to what is good. Give no ear or attention to evil words and remove yourself from unhealthy conversations.

Listening differently,

Elizabeth


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