Friday, September 19, 2008

Part One A: Learn to Listen

There are two types of listening that I will talk about, the first one is basically giving someone your attention, and the second has to to with being teachable.

Have you ever noticed how everyone wants to be listened to at one time or another? When someone is upset, often the best thing to do is to just sit down and listen to them (at least, that seems to work really well in our family).
In fact, if someone doesn't get listened to enough, it will cause them to feel anxious and depressed.
For a man, the best thing is to have a wife that really listens to him and vice versa. For a child, the best thing is to have their parents listen to them. And no one wants a friend that won't listen to them.
You never know who you have blessed just by listening to them (or who you may be able to bless by listening to them).
If you're naturally a more talkative person this may come a little harder for you, but it's worth while.
Of course, the best place to practice this is at home, since most of us older siblings have multiple opportunities to listen in the course of a day. We can't listen intently to every interruption because we'd never get any work done, but learn to pick and choose. The most important time to listen is when someone is having a hard day.
This will not only prepare you to be a good wife, it will help you be a good mother as well.
Here are a few ideas to help you learn to listen.

1. Make eye contact. When someone starts talking to you, turn around or put down your book and make eye contact. If you are doing something active, like making supper, you won't be able to look at them the whole time, but if you make eye contact every few minutes it will reassure the person that you are listening to them.

2. Listen to one person a day. Pick one person in your family (preferably a sibling) and choose a time of day that is less hectic than other times, go and find them and ask them how they're doing, how their day went etc. And don't listen to the first sentence and then start telling them how you're doing. This is your time to LISTEN.

3. If you are in the middle of school work, just stop what you are doing for about ten seconds and look at the person. After a little while say something like, "Hey, you know what? I have to finish my school work. But thanks for coming in and saying hi! Maybe you can tell me about your Legos later!" (Of course, I sometimes announce that I will be working hard on something for an hour and cannot be interrupted. That way if someone comes in you can just say "Tell me about it later, ok?" or make sure that your door is locked... Note: This rarely keeps interruptions from happening.)

4. If someone is having a crisis and they come to you, don't ask them to tell you about it later. Take 10 minutes and listen to them.

5. If your brother tells you about how excited he is about a new tree house that he's going to build, don't tell him all the reasons why it won't work. Instead listen and be excited with him. If it doesn't work, he'll find out for himself. (From what I hear, this is especially important when you are a wife... so practice now!)

6. People will be able to tell when you are not really listening. You know how exasperating and slightly embarressing it is when you are talking to someone and they get a glazed over look in their eyes as they look out the window while they nod and say "Uh huh, mmm, how interesting"? Don't do that to others!

7. If someone asks your advice, make sure that you know what you are giving advice about. That goes for giving your opinion as well. Remember Proverbs 18:13 "He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him."

8. Ask your Dad how work went today and really listen to his answer. When you get married your husband will want to talk about work with you so you should start learning to listen to work related talk now. :-)

So start listening to your siblings now! You might be surprised at what you didn't know about the members of your family.
Good listening skills are key to being a good wife, but they are also key in every other relationship you will ever have.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Preparing to be a Good Wife Introduction

I am going to start writing a series of posts about different skills and character traits that we will need to have to be a true 'Help-meet' to our future husband. I'm not saying that if you don't have all of these traits that you cannot be a good wife, but I am saying that they will be helpful.
I will be writing about what the skills and traits are and how we can practice them every day with our family (but especially our brothers and fathers).
This series of posts will include things like Learning to Listen, Learning to Show Respect, Learning to Request, Learning to be Modest, Learning to be a Friend, Learn to follow a Routine, and things like that.
If you have an idea of something that you think would be good to talk about that is not on the list, let me know and I will try to add it to the list. (I would especially like any input from Moms on subjects that should be covered.) Obviously I'm not promising to post about any subjects... but I would like suggestions that fit into the theme of preparing to be a good wife. :-)

Now you might be wondering why you should have to change, I mean, after all people should like you just the way you are, right?
Well, let's get something straight. I am not saying that you have to change your PERSONALITY. Your personality is the beautiful way that God has chosen to allow you to be unique and different from everyone else.
What I am saying is that even though we might feel (for example) love and respect for our Dads or brothers, we might need to change the way we show it.
Every personality has strengths and weaknesses, and we all have flaws that we need to work on in order to become more like Jesus. Hopefully this series of posts will help point you in the right direction while still allowing you to be yourself.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This is just a short post (I may say more about this subject later), but I think that it is something important that we need to keep in our minds as we follow Christ.

Here is the deal... It is soooo important that we follow the laws and principles given in the Bible. If we are Christians I believe that we will naturally want to follow God's law. The FRUIT of the Spirit is what will come when the Spirit is in us.
But I look around and I see that people take general principles from the Bible and turn them into specific rules that are very oppressive, and then they will treat people that don't follow their specific rules as if they are not Christians or are in rebellion against God.
It is nearly impossible to be friends with people that are insistent that the people they know must follow THEIR rules or else they're not acceptable or not Christians.
But what since we are following Jesus, and since He is the only One that is perfect, we must look at what He says in Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
When we come to Him because we are 'heavy laden', He doesn't heap on more and more weight. His burden is easy and His burden is light.

Please don't hear me saying that we don't need to follow the Bible. WE NEED TO FOLLOW THE LAWS OF GOD. But if we are weighting others down with OUR rules than that is a problem.

If you feel yourself weighted down, depressed, or feeling trapped, think about whether you are actually under the Lord's yoke or your own. Remember, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (emphasis added)

So please think about it. If you have a friend that is under the oppression of man-made laws and rules, than pray for their release and show them the love of Christ. If you find that you have been being legalistic (I know, that is a very over-used word) than confess it to the Lord and pray that He will give you the joy and the love that is supposed to make us stand out from others. :-)