Listen Closely

Wouldn't it be great if people would tell us how they are feeling? It would be so easy to understand our family and close friends if we knew what was going on and didn't have to read into actions or guess at motivations.

What if they did tell you, but you were too busy getting dinner ready or picking up the family room or checking text messages to catch it? Last Christmas, my beloved mother-in-law and favorite husband stayed up to talk late into the night, and something we'd been missing for at least the seventeen years I'd been in the family became evident--beloved mother-in-law's love language is receiving gifts.*

Eight years ago, we quit exchanging adult gifts at Christmas, and beloved mother-in-law was not properly consulted, but is so kind she silently accepted it. However, she kept bringing us "a little something" at the holidays, and we never had a gift to give her. I was so busy getting the bedrooms situated, meals planned, reservations made, and other details for the annual holiday visit, that I never saw what should have been so obvious.

Last Christmas, as favorite husband listened to his sweet mother say how much those Christmas presents meant, we realized it was time to start showering beloved mother-in-law with gifts. I first found Hammock Pack, and we sent six months of their fabulous boxes of fun. Next, we sent a Faithbox--another monthly gift delivery service, this one with a Christian theme. Since we won't be together till after Christmas this year, we also sent a care package for her to open in a couple days to know we are thinking of her and SEE her.

This example isn't about how great favorite husband and I are. In fact, I feel guilty that it took us so long to realize what we'd been missing. But, what if favorite husband hadn't stayed up talking with his mama that night? What if he'd been so consumed with thoughts about his always busy end of year time at work that he wasn't listening closely enough?

There's a chance that you will learn something really valuable about one of your favorite people in the next couple weeks. Listen closely when someone you love is speaking. And remember, once you know something, you are responsible for that information, so use it wisely.


*If you don't know the Love Languages, check it out here. It could dramatically change some of your relationships.