Early on in my marriage, I realized that my wife and I spoke different languages. When she elbowed me in the middle of the night and said, “Did you hear the baby?” she wasn’t looking for a “yes” or “no” answer. She was saying, “Please, I haven’t slept in four days, would you get out of bed immediately and change him? Then take him to work with you.”
When she said, “Phil, you are really manly,” she wasn’t complimenting my testosterone levels. She was saying, “Phil, you smell like the north end of a southbound moose. Please have a shower.”
When she says, “You’re wearing that in public?” it’s not a question. It’s a commandment to go back into the bedroom and change my shirt. Now.
When we’re driving past a tea house and she says, “Would you like some tea?” this isn’t a question either. She loves tea. She wants me to pull over and get her some. I think she should say, “I want tea. Pull over now. Or shall I grab the wheel?” This I understand perfectly well.
When she says, “I’ll be ready in five minutes,” I’m learning that she really means is, “I’ll be ready in 30 minutes, maybe an hour… maybe next Tuesday. Make yourself a sandwich. Watch the game.”
When she says, “Do you know what day today is?” she’s saying, “Haloooo, it’s our wedding anniversary. Did you get me anything? I got you a dog house. You can sleep in it later.” No. She wouldn’t say that. But I’ve learned much about our language skills through the years.
We travelled some rough terrain early on, but slowly I learned to listen. To ask questions. To stop jumping to conclusions. To say, “That’s fascinating. Tell me more.” To pull over and get her some tea. I began learning her language. And she began learning mine.
When I said, “This casserole is very interesting,” she learned to take the recipe and light it on fire. Better yet, we learned the wisdom of Colossians 3: “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another…as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Let’s be gracious, kind, and put on love today. Here’s a start: When your wife says, “Does this dress make me look—” cut her off mid-sentence, say, “That dress makes you look fantastic.”
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