I think one of my love languages is attention. I dunno, maybe I just like being the center of attention. 😉
Sometimes I wonder if I’m as good at GIVING attention, if I return the favor and treat my family with the attention that I desire in order to feel loved. If I’m honest – I don’t.
I let too many things compete for my attention: husband, kids, housework, homeschool, internet, tv, books, telephone, self-imposed deadlines… I spend too much time mult-tasking my attention-giving and not enough time giving my full attention to anything.
Many years ago, I felt convicted about being on the phone with friends – and staying on the phone – when my husband got home from work. Not that talking on the phone with my friends is BAD.. it ISN’T.. but I was missing an opportunity to show my husband that I was available to pay attention to him and be present with him. I developed a habit of hanging up when I heard him pull in – not to be deceitful but to be attentive and available. (Or, at the very least, acknowledging him and telling him I would be off the phone in a few minutes.) I don’t know if he ever realized it or ever thought “Wow, she’s getting off the phone for me,” but I do know that I wasn’t putting him in a position to feel neglected and ignored.
This is such a small piece of the puzzle, though, a drop in the bucket. When I first wrote my “list” at the beginning of the year I was thinking about both motherhood and wifery. I am so guilty of getting caught up in To Do lists, blogging schedules, chatting with online friends, even reading a book or reading my bible can pull my attention away from my children when they need me, have something to show me, or just need a minute of my time. I’ve been making more of an effort to put things down, stop what I’m doing and give my full attention to my family instead of making them share my attention with a tv show or a phone call or whatever.
But now I want to focus especially on marriage. My husband is not a needy attention kind of person. But that does not mean that I don’t need to make an effort to be attentive to his needs. Sometimes the ways that I can show him that I’m paying attention are indirect ways like making sure the sock drawer is full and the iced tea pitcher in the fridge doesn’t run empty. Other times, though, my husband DOES turn to me for attention, to share a funny story or share something on his heart — and then I especially need to put things down and listen up. My husband shouldn’t feel like he has to compete for my attention, right? In fact, next to God, he should have the biggest part of my attention.
Everyone is different, with different love languages and needs, but all of our husbands needs our attention in some way or another. I bet if you took a few minutes, you could come up with a list of some small ways that your husband feels like you’re paying attention to his needs and desires, and some small changes that you can make to meet them better. And if you thought for a few more minutes, you can probably list some big things, too.
If you’re not sure, ask him! No, really. It doesn’t have to be all weird. Just ask, “if you could pick three things that I could do to make you feel more loved, what would they be?” Yes, there’s a good chance that ONE of those three answers would be the same for all of our men. (There’s a reason for that! Paying attention to THOSE needs is a really good way to make our men feel loved and attended to.) And how do you think I learned that my husband wants his sock drawer and tea pitcher full? I asked for three things several years ago and was surprised at the simple answers I got in return. =)
So the question I pose to you today is this: are you paying attention to your husband? Does he FEEL like it? What are some small changes you can make to give him your full attention more often, and be more attentive to his needs overall?
I know that I need to put the laptop down more often, that I need to sit quietly more often (and listen if he talks and be quiet with him if not,) and that I still need to do a better job with the laundry and the tea. My prayer is that God will show me how to be more attentive and recognize opportunities to focus on my family instead of all the external stuff. I want to be a wife and mom that soaks it all in instead of letting it all pass by.
If you want to write a post for Marriage Monday, the guidelines are simple: Write a positive and encouraging post about marriage and link it here using your direct URL. Today’s word is “Attentive.” Next week’s word is “Bold.” God bless~
P.S. I’m also “guest posting” today over at my husband’s blog. =)