When I met my husband, Robert, he was working as a Deputy Sheriff in the jail. He described his job as a baby sitter to the bad guys. I didn’t feel I had any reason to worry about him while at work. Being a baby sitter seemed pretty easy and boring. Then a few years later he transferred to a street position, a traffic cop. Again, I didn’t think there was any reason to be alarmed or worried. I pictured Robert chasing down people for speeding, running red lights or other driving no-no’s like talking on the phone while driving.
Thankfully Robert didn’t come home often with these stories. I honestly couldn’t listen. It would frustrate Robert when I would continually try to change the topic or simply walk away. I would rather change a diaper or clean up puke than listen to his horrifying story. Yes, he was standing in front of me, so I knew the ending was fine, but I couldn’t handle hearing how he almost died. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the story out of my head and would become a basket case while he was at work, so I couldn’t let the stories into my head.
Unfortunately, this caused a lot of tension in our marriage. I was annoyed at him for telling me such awful things. Didn’t he know I could only handle hearing about sunshine and rainbows?! Robert thought I didn’t care about him because I wouldn’t listen to his stories.
Several years later, we found a counselor who helped us with our communication skills, or I should say lack of communication skills. Robert learned he did need to debrief after going through intense situations he sometimes faced at work. However, I wasn’t the person to do this with. It needed to be with someone at work, a fellow officer, who understood what he was going through. I learned how important it was to be a good listener. Robert wanted to share his day with me and I needed to let him. Most importantly, we both needed to take the others feelings into consideration and not be so selfish.
I’m not saying things are perfect all the time. I am saying that communicating, talking and listening, is much better than keeping your thoughts to yourself and letting your mind take over. A lonely mind can be a scary thing.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, help us to share our thoughts with others in a kind and respectful way, Amen