Am I Really Listening?


No. I wasn’t listening at all.

The question was simple.  “Where do you want to go for dinner?”

It seems like a very simple and easy question.  But not in our house.  My husband and I have very similar tastes at times, and then we don’t.  They’re really far apart.  Throw in a gluten-allergy, and dining out is relegated to a few restaurants with tiny menus.

For example, I have been to barbecue restaurants that don’t even serve barbecue on the gluten-free menu.  What was the point of going to the restaurant again?!?  But I digress.

“You pick,” I said. “Choose where you would like to go for dinner.”

Fazoli’s Restaurant was his choice.  I was fine with that.  Taco Bell is on the left of this place and Five-Guys Burgers is on the right.

I thought he heard the voice in my head that had it all figured out. I connected the dots really quickly surely he did the same!

No. He didn’t.  He really thought we would all go to Fazoli’s, not take the kids and get takeout at Taco Bell for the kids, and Five Guys for me (because there aren’t gluten-free options at Fazoli’s)

With a sigh, and a slump of his shoulders he looked at me and said, “This is why I don’t pick places.”

My heart sank, and I realized in just a moment that I really hadn’t been listening at all.  I heard Fazoli’s AND my plan.  I quickly saw that I couldn’t enjoy the meal as well at once place and chose another place just for me.

I chose my choice…when I gave the choice to him.

I didn’t listen.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.  Bryant McGill

The lessons I learned through this really aren’t new or life-shattering. They’re simple lessons, but ones I need to repeat more often

Repeat back what you heard

A very simple tactic to make sure what you heard is correct.  Since I was communicating with my husband via text, I should have simply stated, “Ok, Fazoli’s it is.”  That would have been so much easier and we both would know what the plan was.

A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided. Tony Robbins

Or, I could have talked to him and let him know that Fazoli’s was fine.  By having this simple conversation, then we both would have been ok with the choice.

Listen without preconceived plans.

Type-A personalities, Planners, OCD-type people will struggle with this one. We always have a plan and a backup plan (and possibly a 3rd backup option just to be safe). Don’t do it.  If you have given the option to someone else, then you must trust their choice.

Try very hard to not do your plan IN ADDITION to their plan…it may look good to you. Work out nicely (possibly even for the better), but that is not the issue at hand.  You must learn to stop planning and being in charge if someone else is.

3 Ways to see if you're really listening - Repeat back, Listen without preconceived thoughts, and keep your word. Doing these 3 will make your marriage much happier! Click To Tweet

Keep your word

Accepting someone else’s plan is hard especially if you can see yours is better.  Remember, if you are going to be a person who is trustworthy and honest in the relationship, you must be honest with your words.  Including simple ones like “You choose where we go to dinner.”

Strong marriages are not made in the big decisions of life, such as, buying a new home or planning for a fun vacation. They are made in the little decisions of everyday life. Learning to trust your spouse with a simple decision like dinner will help build your home into a strong one. And then when the really hard decisions come, you know you can trust your spouse and the decision becomes easier.

Call to Action

The next time you are asked a simple, boring question like, “What do you want for dinner.” Remember, once you make a decision, then keep it.  Even if the answer is not your choice, allow someone else to be in control. You will find that having one less plan or back-up plan to use will be a wonderful freeing moment for you!

2 thoughts on “Am I Really Listening?”

  1. Hi Johanna,
    What a great post. You are so right about giving someone the choice and then taking it back to what you wanted anyway. Why ask the question if you’re (not you personally. LOL) just going to do what you decided already.

    So many little things like this are minor but can grow after a while and cause lots of problems later on.

    This is all good information if I ever decide to get into another relationship.

    P.S. In fact, this could apply to any kind of a relationship, friends, etc.

    Thank you again.

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