Patience Listens

26 Jan

“Henry and his wife live in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Last week while listening to the radio, they heard the announcer say, “We are going to have 12 inches to 18 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the even numbered side of the street, so the snow plow can get through.”

Henry’s wife went out and moved her car.

A few days later while they were eating breakfast, the radio announcer said, “We are expecting 16 inches to 20 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the odd numbered side of the street, so the snow plow can get through.”

Henry’s wife went out and moved her car again.

The next week, they were having breakfast again when the radio announcer said, “We are expecting 18 to 24 inches of snow today. You must park…” ~ and then the electric power went out.

Henry’s wife was very upset, and with a worried look on her face she said, “Honey, I don’t know what to do. Which side of the street do I need to park on so the plow can get through?”

With great love and patience, Henry said, “Honey, why don’t you just leave it in the garage this time?” *

Love Listens pillowHas your spouse ever been that patient with one of your blunders? (Or was the patient one you?)

Patience is one of the characteristics of love (see I Corinthians 13:4a). For me (Dawn) as a married woman, “patience” includes my hubby Bob’s willingness to listen to me. Pam and her husband Bill understand this, too.

In their book, Marriage in the Whirlwind, the Farrels tell about a marriage discovery that included both patience and listening. Bill, a one-task-at-a-time fixer, struggled with Pam’s seemingly endless stream of ideas. “She pumps out ideas like sunshine,” Bill said, and she “uses new ideas to relieve stress.” But as Bill listened to her overwhelming list of ideas, Bill struggled, thinking Pam expected him to act on every one.

“Do you think I should take every idea you share with me seriously?” Bill asked Pam.

“Well, of course I do,” Pam responded indignantly.

“No, what I mean is, should I think that I need to act on every idea you bring up, or are some of your ideas just for discussion?”

“Oh, a lot of the ideas I bring up are just for discussion.”

“So you don’t feel the need to carry out all those ideas you bring up?”

“Of course not! I could never do all those things.”

“Then why do you bring them up?”

“It’s the only way I can get them off my mind. When I freely talk about my ideas, the ones I need to act on keep coming up. The ones I need t let go of just go away.”

Bill says that’s when “the light went on.” He realized that he didn’t have to feel responsible for every idea Pam came up with.

What I love about this story is: (1) Bill’s patience with Pam, and (2) His careful questions and then listening ear to get to the truth.

“Looking for a way out of the miscommunication whirlwind? Try listening,” say the Farrels.

The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen” (James 1:19). That takes patience, because most of us are too quick to speak; but what a blessing when we heed the scripture’s advice.

* adapted from “Parking for Blonde,” http://www.tensionnot.com/jokes/blonde_jokes/parking_blonde

** Bill and Pam Farrel, Marriage in the Whirlwind (InterVarsity Press, 1996) pp. 30-31

“Love Listens” pillow offered on Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/listing/21391952/love-listens-scented-decor

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