March 7, 2008

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

How to get your husband to listen to you

Shirley Vogler MeisterEver since Adam and Eve, men and women have interacted poorly because of different listening abilities.

A good example of poor communications is when phonetics Professor Henry Higgins, in the musical My Fair Lady, tried to turn a poor young peasant woman, Eliza Doolittle, into a proper English lady acceptable in high society.

“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” he asked his fellow linguist friend, Colonel Pickering, who helped him understand.

Recently, just about the time I was wishing I could see that musical again, I was also wondering why my husband and I are often on different wave lengths despite good efforts to communicate with each other.

Then, serendipitously, a book came along that enlightened me. How to Get Your Husband to Listen to You: Understanding How Men Communicate was written by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby.

These Nebraskan wives and mothers host a weekly radio program called “Lifewalk” in Omaha, and they have co-authored two other books titled How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You and The Politically Incorrect Wife, which was a Gold Medallion Award finalist.

I reluctantly began reading the “listening” book. After all, I had already heard and read so much advice about marriage through the years. What could these women have to offer that is new? Well, I found out! Never before have I been led to write anything about this subject—not even a letter.

The basic problem between men and women is that the two sexes react, listen and communicate differently. Why can’t a woman be more like a man—or a man more like a woman? Because that’s how God made us: We are “wired” differently.

The back cover of the Cobb-Grisby book promises to “help your husband value what you say and how you say it, understand what your husband really wants [not what you think], rebuild love and respect in your marriage, become a wife whose husband wants her insights, strengthen communication in marriage through communication with God, and give your husband the desire to listen to your needs, your words and your heart.”

Initially, after reading that, I was leery. However, the suggestions move gently yet candidly forward with insights that I had not considered before.

What is even more amazing is how the authors share a deep sorrow that occurred during the writing of their book. The husband of one of the authors became ill and died during the week the book was finished. The couples’ Christian faith shines throughout, and how his illness and death was handled is perfect testimony to Christian love.

The wisdom in this book could help any male-female relationships during engagement and marriage, in the workplace or within friendships.

For information on Multnomah Books, log on to or Internet booksellers.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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