I'm a doer, a fixer, a problem solver. I'm always processing information to take action. I have to go through a series of steps to temporarily mute the "fixer" in me.
My active duty wife cjanges positions from time to time. It's all good. Each position change has been a level up or promotion of sorts. I have noticed that with the position shanges, she has more in-depth interaction with people. Of course, I'm just an observer when it comes to her military career. But I find it fascinating how she moves in and handles whatever comes her way. She makes it look so easy!
Listening Starts With Paying Attention
But there are times when I can tell by looking at her that it is not so easy. My wife's personality is the polar opposite of mine. So, when she starts acting like me, responding like me, moving likeme, I know something is VERY wrong.
Sometimes, I feel like my mother named me Taurus to point me to Bull-like qualities I exhibit. I'm a loner. I'm territorial. I'm stand-off-ish. (Is that a word?) I'm observant. Taurus the Bull, standing alone on my hill, by my tree, watching you watching me. ANyway...
I have learned that paying attention to details is something that I do without really thinking about it. So, when my wife comes home frustrated from work, I know before she tells me in words.
Listening Is Not Fixing
I'm a fixer, remember? I can't count the times I forgot to mute my "fixer" proccessor.
I don't like it when my wife is frustrated - especially, when she is frustrated with me. It's just an open door to bad thoughts and feelings. So, it's natural for me to want to close that door because I don't want any of the bad stuff impacting me.
Problem: Jumping past where she is at to what you want.
My wife's frustration is her frustration, regardless of the cause. The frustration is in HER realm, not mine. It's not right to for me to immediately move into MY realm. Active listening forces me to stay in HER realm and find out what she is thinking and feeling.
Listening Is Intentional
I listen to her. I stop what I'm doing, face her and listen while she tells her story. The details of the story are important because they let me know just how frustrated she is. Usually, the more detailed the story, the more frustrated she is.
Details: Don't skip them!
Find Something To Laugh About
After listening, I laugh. Of course, I don't laugh AT her, or give her the impression that I am laughing at her telling her story. I laugh to get her to laugh along with me.
Most of the time, there is something I can pull from the story to get her to laugh about. It might be one of the details she told me in the story.
Laughing always redirects the emotions. Finding something to laugh about is vital. If nothing else, we both walk away with a good laugh.
I'm a "fixer" but I don't try to "fix her" or anything in her realm.
Today as a Male Military Spouse, I learned to Listen and Laugh.
Taurus James is the 2016 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year from Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Taurus is a 20-year civilian male military spouse and stay-at-home-dad. He is also a minister and composer of Moody instruMental Music. Taurus is a professional IT Consultant and Web Developer, and he built and maintains the Machospouse.com website for free. Find out more about Taurus through his blog: