I’m impressed that Job listened to the words of his wife. He pondered them, he considered them, he turned them over in his mind. He neither misunderstood nor ignored her. He heard what she said, and he didn’t interrupt her as she said it. That places Job in a unique category among husbands, quite frankly.
Men, I’ve found that most of us are not hard of hearing; we’re hard of listening. Our wives frequently have the most important things to say that we will hear that day, but for some strange reason, we have formed the habit of mentally turning off their counsel.
Let me add here, when you do respond, always tell her the truth. If what she says is wise and squares with what you know to be truth—if it is helpful—then say so. And thank her. If it is not, say that. Job disagreed and said so. His response after hearing her was, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.”
Job detected in his wife a snag of bitterness, some disillusionment; so he said to her, in effect, “This is advice I cannot and will not act on. It isn’t wise. It’s wrong counsel, and I can’t accept it.”
In the four decades I’ve been dealing with folks who are married, I find one of the most difficult things to get couples to do is say the truth to each other. Admit when we’ve done wrong rather than skirt it or rationalize around it or excuse it—just say, “I was wrong.” Or if we hear our mates say something we know is not wise, or we detect a questionable motive, we tend not to say the hard thing. How much better to respond, “You know, honey, I realize you’ve got my good at heart, but I honestly have to say that I don’t agree with it. I think it is unwise for you to suggest that.” In the long haul, your marriage will be healthier if you will allow truth to prevail, especially if it’s truth spoken in love. Listen well, and always speak the truth wrapped in loving care.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.