Every morning Ray and I (Nancy) come downstairs to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper together. I read the Life section first, solve word puzzles, look at the television guide, and read some of the cartoon strips. As the morning progresses, we switch sections.
I recently read a cartoon where a dad is talking to his son about how to impress women. The father tells him that he needs to ask women questions about what interests them and then listen very carefully to the answers. After a long pause, the son replies with amazement that this crazy approach might just work.
This week I went to a well-known bookstore that has twelve hundred branches throughout the world, thirty-five thousand employees, and a customer base of thirty million. I was using its computer to locate material on the way men’s brains are wired for listening. Halfway through my search, a young man who worked there asked if he could help me. I told him I was looking for a book I thought was titled Men Don’t Listen Well.
He stared blankly, then said after a moment, “I’m sorry. I forgot what you said. What did you say?”
I couldn’t stop laughing. Without even a smile on his face, he asked me again to tell him the title of the book—which made me laugh even more.
Perhaps, as a wife, you sometimes feel like the hitchhiker in this story:
Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. Since the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car. Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the woman. The old woman just sat in silence, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a white bag on the seat next to Sally.
“What is in the bag?” the old woman asked.
Sally looked down at the white bag and said, “It’s a box of chocolates. I got it for my husband.”
The woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said, “Good trade.”
Many of us have had those days when such a trade might seem at least slightly tempting. But there’s something far better,and that is becoming what God intended us to be within the marriage relationship. Trading our old habits for godly ones is always a good trade.
We’re assuming—because you’ve picked up this book—that your own communication process with your husband could benefit from some improved relational tools. It’s our goal to provide you with those tools. Understanding your husband’s brain in all his strengths and diversity also helps you to not take it personally when you two get your conversational and emotional wires crossed.
Between us, we’ve been married for seventy-five years. We’re still learning, and we only wish we’d been more eager to learn in our early years (rather than trying to instruct our husbands on how they should change). One thing we’ve learned over the years is that change is always just a decision away. And we wish we’d made the decision much earlier to better understand our husbands.
We hope you won’t wait as long as we did. We hope you’ll begin soon—as in today.
If you’re willing to learn, we believe this book will change not only you as a wife, but the entire landscape of your life as well. Yes, that’s a tall promise. But we’ve come to see that tall promises have a way of coming true when God is involved.
Excerpted from How to Get Your Husband to Listen to You by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby. Copyright © 2008 by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.