A young man who had recently lost his father was asked by a friend,
“What were your father’s last words before he died?“
“My father didn’t have any last words,” the son replied. “Mother was with him right up ’til the end!”
We laugh at a cute little story like that, but the sad truth is, that scenario is lived out in many, many marriages.
I remember once when we were on vacation, a woman and her husband were seated near me as I read at the poolside. The husband’s phone rang, and based on his (loud) conversation, he was talking to one of their adult children. The entire time this man was on the phone, his wife was telling him something he needed to say to their child. It was almost hilarious. The poor guy could hardly express his own thoughts into words because his wife was feeding him lines the whole time he was on the phone. I’m guilty of doing that on a bit of a smaller scale, but it’s still wrong.
Why is it wrong to talk over our husband, or talk for him? I believe it’s the respect issue that comes into play.
How is respect shown when we remind him what to say, correct what he just said, or talk for him when he’s being talked to? The truth is, we are showing disrespect instead!
Respect is seen when we:
- Give our husband a place of honor. In conversation, that place is to be still while he’s talking. We shouldn’t correct, interrupt, or answer for him. He is not our son – he is our husband.
- Wait for him to answer – even if it seems like he’s NEVER going to come up with what he’s wanting to say. Many times he doesn’t speak because we are impatient and jump in too quickly. I’ve watched a man literally forming the words and begin to answer, but never be able to say his thoughts because the wife couldn’t wait that long!
- Wait for him to finish talking with the other person before we share our thoughts or question. If he’s talking to someone else, we wait, then perhaps motion that we would like to add a thought or question, then wait for him to let us know when he’s able to listen.
- Think long and hard about the need to correct him – even later. Unless it’s a serious faux pas that he needs to go back and make right, does it really matter that he said it was three years ago when he built the barn out back, but you know it was four years ago?! Ask if it’s something you can just let go of, and if it is, then do it!
- Learn to listen. Be quiet and listen. Nod. Smile. If he’s telling his infamous joke again, let him have his moment of glory and don’t spoil it by exclaiming your disgust or disapproval.
Many husbands that don’t talk in marriage learned not to bother after years of disrespect from their wife. Show your husband honor in conversation and let him have the last words!