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Marital Moments

James 1:19 states, "Wherefore,  my brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak,  and slow to wrath."  This verse  boldly  declares that we  should be  listening more  than  we are  speaking.  No where is this more true  than in  our homes.  Both husbands  and wives  should  devoted  themselves to this important task.  I sincerely believer  that  most, if not all,  of our martial  problems  could be solved  if  only  we could  learn the  art of communication.  To often we think that  communication only involves  talking.  This could  not be further from the truth.   True communication is built upon  the twin pillars of  both talking and listening.   In this  Marital Moment,  I want  to begin  a  five part  series  on  the  principal  of listening.   "Listen Until You Understand  Completely  What  Is  Being  Said".   In  a  world filled with conflicting voices and  in a body  that is tainted  by a sin  nature  we  humans  struggle  to com- municate with  each other.  Thus  "misunderstanding" is at  the heart of  most family problems.  Therefore,  we  must  listen  with  rapt  attention to  our  partner  lest  we come short  in this  important  area.  Sadly  we often think  that our  way is  the only way.  Our answer is the  only answer. Our  words  are the  only  ones with  validity. Thus  we  fail  to  listen  completely  to  what our  spouse is  saying.  We don't com-prehend  their  words  because we  think  that we  are  superior  and  that  we  know best what should be done.  If  we would  understand our husband or  wife,  then  we must  lay aside our  preconceived  notions and  listen  carefully and  completely until we  grasp  with  total  clarity  what  is being said.   We  prejudge  their  talk,  assured that  we know  in  advance  what they  are going to say.  We  set and  look  them  in the eye  but we really  fail  to understand  completely.  We are  basically saying that, "You  have  my ear, but  not my mind  or my heart.  I have reserved these areas for myself.  When  you  stop  talking  then  I  will  resume with  the important commun-ication."   Not only must we lay aside  our preconceived  notions and listen carefully, but  we must  also love them  supremely to  understand  deeply.  When we  honestly love  our spouse  then  it  should  not  be  difficult to  listen  carefully  to  what  they have to say.   If  we  value them as a  person then we  must value  their communica- tion.  Understanding  the words and  meanings of our  husband  or  wife is  the most important  part of listening.  If  we can master  this vital part  of communication then we  can go  a long way  toward solving the  problems  that  confront  the home  on a daily basis.   Remember,  "Listen  until  you  understand  completely  what is being said".