Take Time To Listen
Ramblings from Connor’s dad – Years ago Kris and I were in our first small group Bible study with Andy and Sandra Stanley. We drew great encouragement from them and the other four couples with whom we spent time. We discussed our struggles, and how to grow closer to each other and to God.
Andy wanted us to go through a book called The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman. We did, and it dramatically improved our marriage, and our parenting. We learned that everyone communicates and feels love in one of 5 ways. Through that process I learned how inadequate I had been as a husband to Kris. I learned that I am Physical Touch and Acts of Service. Which means I like to hold hands, and will be glad to wash her car for her. Unfortunately, I found out Kris is Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. Which means she needs good one-on-one time talking where she has my attention, and, she needs to hear me affirm her with words. My idea up to that point was sitting on a couch with my arm around her and watching a movie. If we went to a restaurant with a TV, I would eat and watch the game. That is NOT what Kris needed, to feel loved. I found out she would prefer to sit on the couch and talk…without the TV on. I found out that when we went to a restaurant, she actually wanted me to look at her…not the TV, and talk.
Those things did not come naturally to me. I did not change my behavior, without changing my habits. Now when we go to a restaurant with a TV, I sit with my back to it…and look my best friend in the eyes and carry on a conversation, a quality conversation. We do watch TV, but we typically schedule at least an hour in the evening where she has me to herself. The conversation is two way, sharing the events of our day, be they frustrations or victories, and our dreams for tomorrow. We started this in our first year of marriage. I can tell you that 20+ years later, she is easily my best friend. BUT, it did not come without some changes I made.
We have carried what we know about the Love Languages, and used it with our kids, too. Connor is Physical Touch (so he and I get along great:), Lacy is like her mom-Quality Time, and Evan is Words of Affirmation. We have great relationships with all three, because we have learned to speak their love language. Both of us have modified our behavior with each one to love them in the way they feel loved.
Ummm, I wonder what God’s language is? I am guessing Quality Time and Words of Affirmation, are high on the list when it comes to our quiet time. What would our relationship with God look like, if we were as deliberate in changing our behavior and habits with Him?….
He said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Other seed fell on the rock; when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture. Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times what was sown.” (Luke 8:5-8)