As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I enjoy driving for Lyft and Uber. I enjoy the freedom of scheduling my own hours, listening to music and sports radio all day long (without driving Karen crazy) and talking with my rider’s. Being able to hear and understand some of my customers though was difficult at times because I’m completely deaf in my right ear. Karen may call my disability, “Selective Hearing Disorder” but I really have a hard time hearing people who talk to me from the right of me, especially in the car. All the road noise will pummel my good left ear while drowning out the words spoken by anyone in the passenger seat.
I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy hearing aids. They aren’t normal hearing aids though. Sound coming from my right side is captured by a transmitter in my right ear and transmitted over to a hearing aid in my left ear by a wireless signal. Hallelujah, the deaf can hear…at least that’s what I thought until this morning.
Most mornings, Karen and I have been getting up at 7:00 to go swimming in our community pool before I take off driving for Uber and Lyft. This morning I woke up a little before seven. Karen was sound asleep so I decided to let her rest while I powered up the computer, opened up EveryDollar (our monthly budgeting tool) https://www.everydollar.com/ and did some much needed tweaking.
Karen joined me at the computer around 8:30. She was disappointed I hadn’t woken her at seven to go swimming. She asked what I had been doing so I told her I was working on our budget. The following is the short version of the conversation that ensued.
DISCLAIMER…The following conversation is presented to only state the facts, not as a vehicle to pass judgement or take sides.
Terry: I was working on EveryDollar.
Karen: When are you planning on actually doing it?
SIDE NOTE: I had actually began EveryDollar in February but temporarily stopped in May because of all the craziness from the move to our new home. I had told Karen numerous times I would resume the budget beginning June 1st.
Terry: I’ve told you numerous times I’d start June 1st.
Karen: I don’t remember you telling me that.
Terry, while vigorously scratching his head in frustration: I’ve told you at least five times.
Karen: When I’m in this much pain from my neck you know I don’t retain things.
Terry: You seem very irritable this morning.
Karen: It’s not just the pain I’m trying to deal with today. Yesterday was four years since Mom died, I’m adjusting to living here without a car and….
Terry: What does that have to do with EveryDollar?
Karen answers with tears welling up in her eyes: Sometimes you need hearing aids for your heart instead of your ears.
Our marriage is like a powerful train chugging down tracks laid by our communication to each other. Once in a while, like this morning, those tracks we lay are full of defects and our train derails. When that happens, we both have to dig deep into our tool chests to begin repairing the damage done to our relationship.
What tools do you ask? That’s a good question. Let me tell you. Our tool chest is the Bible and every tool needed to repair a damaged relationship can be found inside.
1. The first tool is actually a lubricant for the prevention of a breakdown and is found in Ephesians 4:29. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”
2. The second tool is listening. We don’t listen when we concentrate on a snarky rebuttal or interrupt. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening — that is his folly and his shame.”
3. The next tool is to share a response which is sincere and proper. I may have heard what Karen said, but my heart had tuned her out. I ignored the advice of Galatians 6:2. “Share in each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Romans 12:15 gives further insight. “Be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep.”
4. The final tool is a sincere apology. James 5:16 says to, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” And don’t wait to make amends. “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27
So the next time your marriage train begins to wobble on poorly laid tracks of communication, grab your Bible and take out these tools before your locomotive derails.