“Keep talking. I’m listening.” Have you ever said that to someone as you busied yourself with a task or three? Well, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve said it . . .
Because Stacy’s my name and multitasking’s my game. At least it used to be. There was a time I prided myself on being able to do several things at one time. Like many of you I’ve tried to talk on the phone, eat, listen to music, and think about what I’m doing this weekend—all while driving!
While certain roles and seasons of our life may require a fair amount of multitasking (i.e. parents of small children), there’s a lot of research that says multitasking is actually counterproductive. That’s one of the reasons I’m choosing to let go of my multitasking ways. My type-a personality drives me to be super productive and if multitasking hinders that then adios!
But the real reason I’m changing is because multitasking damages relationships. Unfortunately, I had to learn that lesson the hard way. I’m so thankful that when Jennifer shared 25 Ways to Show Respect to Your Husband she listed this as #3:
Pay Attention: Look in his eyes and listen when he talks to you.
Gift #3 Pay Attention
As my husband celebrates his 50th birthday this month I want to give him the gift he (and every husband) wants most: respect. To show him my respect he’ll have my undivided attention as often as possible.
Wives, remember when you made “googly eyes” at each other? I do and hopefully, you can, too! Now I’m not suggesting that you start that again (although maybe we should) but I am suggesting that making and maintaining eye contact with your husband when he’s talking to you is really important.
I started this post with “Keep talking. I’m listening”. You know, sometimes it’s necessary and okay to respond that way. For example, when I’m cooking dinner and he’s sitting at the table talking about his day or when we’re trying to get out the door to church and he remembers a story he wants to share. But if I’m always doing something (multitasking) while he’s talking, it communicates a lack of interest and more importantly, a lack of respect.
We all have a need to be noticed, especially by those we love the most. Husbands are no different. Remember all the silly little things he did before you were married to get your attention? Maybe he still does them. Maybe not. Either way, husbands aren’t likely to come right out and ask for it, but they want you, more than anyone else, to notice and pay attention to them. And I don’t know about you, but I want to be the one giving my husband all the attention he needs and wants!
My mind can think, my heart can feel, and my words can say, “I respect you”. But showing him respect by giving him my undivided attention as often as I can is a priceless gift.
Can I confess to you that this isn’t easy for me? My sweet man often describes me as “a fast moving train”. He means that in the most loving way, really. I get stuff done and he depends on me. But I need to remember that our life isn’t just about what we can do for one another; it’s also about being together. So I make a conscious effort every day to stop doing, just be with him, and pay attention. Merriam-Webster defines pay attention as: to listen and try to understand. Wives, when we give our husband the gift of our attention we create space to listen to his words and understand his heart.
Here are a couple of things that help me pay attention when we’re together and they might help you, too.
- Put away your phone. Turn it off if possible. (Even if he doesn’t!)
- Relax. Smile. Turn toward him and even lean in if you can. Body language is a powerful communicator.
I know Happily-Ever-After takes two–a husband and wife–to become a reality; but, I’m going to do everything in my power to do my part. Showing him respect by giving him my undivided attention as often as possible is a great place to start.
If you missed the previous posts where I shared the first two ways to show respect to your husband click here to read.