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07 Nov '11

Listening to our spouse

Posted by T.J. Addington in decision making, marriage, The Holy Spirit
There have been a number of key decision points in my marriage where I have been ready to do something and Mary Ann expressed significant reservations. Those reservations kept me from moving ahead until we were both on the same page and were a great gift to me. In fact, I believe that spouses who don't carefully listen to one another on major decisions are not only foolish but potentially failing to listen to the Holy Spirit. I won't say that I was not sometimes irritated by her reluctance to agree with me but I will say she was invariably right and I would have paid dumb tax had I not listened.


Not listening is foolish because there are few people who know us better than our spouse! They know our strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, dark sides and all that makes up who we are. Furthermore, two people engaged in a decision is far better then one, especially when both have to live with the consequences. When I have an especially contentious issue at work or with an individual I will always talk it over with Mary Ann and will listen carefully to her counsel and usually my response is better for it.


But there is another factor that we often forget. As believers, we live with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The question is whether we are listening to the Holy Spirit in our busyness. My observation is that Mary Ann, like many women, are more reflective than many men and hear the whispers of the Spirit better than many men. Those whispers, however, are whispers from God who has our best interests in mind - always. Thus when our spouse indicates reservations it may just be that it is not them speaking but the Holy Spirit through them. 


All married couples face significant issues together. The simple practice of praying about these issues together, talking about them and listening carefully to one another on all of them can lead to better decisions, wiser actions and most of all the best shot at hearing the Holy Spirit in the process. We ignore the reflections of our spouse to our peril and may even miss the direction of the Holy Spirit in the process.