In Chapter five, "Listening is the solution," the authors instruct men to learn better listening skills:
-Give her your full physical attention.
-Giver her your full mental attention.
-Listen for the right thing - how she feels about the problem.
-Acknowledge and affirm her feelings about the problem.
As we said earlier, when men are faced with a problem with emotional dimensions, we turn task oriented. Put emotions in one box, objective circumstances in another, then ignore the emotion box in order to nail a solution.I wrote previously on this topic in Validate batshit crazy? Surly you jest. So I won't spend a lot of time on what awful advice this is. However, when we as women get on a "I need to talk about my feelings" conversation, the truth is there is no end in sight. Once that that ball starts rolling, without logical input, our brains (hamster) will continue to spin out of control. This does not release us of negative emotions, in fact it piles on and leaves us with more extreme emotions than we started with.
But this sets us up for big trouble. We're busy trying to filter out a wife's feelings because we think they get in the way of solving the real problem - instead of holding the key to the real problem. We think that she's getting "too emotional" and it is clouding her thinking - never realizing that for most women, not only are their feelings the main point, but they're probably also perfectly capable of analytical thought and strong emotions at the same time. They just need to have their feelings listened to in order to "get somewhere." [...]
What she needed was a hug, and for me to hear and acknowledge her feelings. [...]
1. Acknowledge what her feeling is: "You felt disappointed." [...]
2. Affirm and sympathize with her feelings, even if you disagree with her thoughts.
A fool vents all his feelings,But a wise man holds them back. Proverbs 29:11
The most egregious advice this book offers so far is the following:
WARNING: DON'T TRY THESE AT HOME!"How not to listen."There's nothing more dismaying to a guy than when he's sincerely trying to win (to be loving and helpful), but he only commits an error. She gets hurt or angry or both. Suddenly, the man is the problem. Some collected coaching advice: In the heat of an inning, never...-tell her she's overreacting,-question her version of the facts,-wonder aloud about the time of the month,-ask her to quit crying, or-offer spiritual correction ("Are you sure you're not just envious?") (emphasis mine)
In other words, if a wife is talking about her feelings and it is clear that they are rooted in sin (coveting, false witness), a husband should keep his mouth shut and allow her to follow on down the insatiable, destructive road right to the devourer?
How about this:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. Proverbs12:15
These authors completely ignore what Ephesians has to say about a husband's responsibilities in marriage.
Here's my advice to wives:
First off pray to God that your husband will hold you to integrity. Ask God to give you a desire for wisdom and truth. Ask God to help you see where you are in sin and repent. Thank God for a husband that will correct you. That is love, that will bring you emotional security.
If you are in need of venting your negative feelings and emotions, write them down and then bring them to the Word - and repent of all that are sinful. Respect your husband; he is not an emotional tampon there to absorb your tireless rants and blather, especially when you are being a covetous, complaining, gossiping twit. When you do talk with your husband about your feelings, honor God by respecting His commands for your husband. If that means you need to be called out on irrational and sinful talk, hit your knees in thanksgiving that you are married to a man who cares for your soul.