by Rick Warren
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19b NIV)
When you give your spouse your attention and focus, it’s like you give them a piece of your life. Those focused moments of intimate sharing are time you’ll never get back again. They are little pieces of your life. That’s why the most loving act you can show your spouse is to pay attention to him or her. It’s one of the most important ways you say, “I love you.”
The truth is, you fell in love by paying attention. You started paying attention to someone, and that person started paying attention to you. It’s that focused attention that’ll keep the romance alive after you say your nuptials, have kids, raise a family, dig deeper into your career, and grow old together.
You show you care by staying aware. To keep growing, you need to figure out how to keep paying attention to each other. If you don’t do that, your marriage will crumble.
One of the ways we let our attention fade in marriage is when we stop listening to one another. We assume we know what our spouses have said. We think we’ve heard them say it over and over and over. We start jumping over their words and thinking we know what they will say.
Why should you pay attention to your spouse? Consider these two important reasons:
- You love the person. When you give your attention, you’re showing love.
- Sometimes God speaks through your spouse. In fact, next to the Bible, it’s God’s favorite way to speak to you.
God gives us a great recipe in his Word for the kind of focused attention through listening that makes a marriage grow. James 1:19 says, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV). When you do the first two parts of that verse, the third one will be automatic. As you do this, you’ll keep your marriage growing and going.