He Listened Too Well …

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)

It has been said many times that when it comes to hearing, especially from one’s spouse, men have something known as ‘selective hearing.’ Now I’m not really sure if I heard this statement correctly, but I do realize that there are times in any relationship when someone is tuning out someone else as they are talking.

As far as men having ‘selective hearing’, it has also been asserted that women have the uncanny ability to hear everything.  So … what we have here is a failure to communicate!

Preachers are always hoping that the audience or class is going to be giving them their undivided attention as they plan their lesson.  And after services or the class they are generally encouraged by the favorable comments that are made.

A number of years ago this writer was presenting a morning lesson to the local congregation about husbands and wives with emphasis being placed on the value of communication, the place of courtesy and kindness and the real demonstrations of love.  The following incident took place that same evening:

The couple came into services that evening and she was obviously hobbling and having difficulty getting to her regular seat in the auditorium.  Making my way to the couple that had become very dear friends of ours … greeting others on the way back to them … I finally arrived to their row and asked with great concern what had happened to her between the morning service and the evening service.

She looked up to me with a serious look and boldly spoke these words:  “Thanks Bill … thanks a lot!”  I replied in complete surprise with “thanks for what?  Is everything alright?” And she spoke the words that will never be forgotten by this writer.  “My husband has not opened the car door and closed for me in years.  After your lesson this morning he did, but he almost cut my legs off before I could get them in the car! So … thanks a lot Bill!”

Well … there you have it!  Here is living proof that men do hear and they do act upon what they have heard!  You see … this loving husband was just trying to take the lesson to heart.  He listened too well to part of the sermon and missed the part about not making changes without thinking about them first!

Come to think of it … I suppose this incident could underscore that men do have selective hearing!  May we all strive (men and women, young, middle-aged and the more mature) to be better listeners and better communicators in every relationship, but most especially when it comes to hearing God’s will for us.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”     Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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