LETTERS TO MY SON: words part two

Dear Matt,

In my last letter to you I wrote about words. I wanted you to get a glimpse into the minds of women in general before I started to get specific about the kind of woman I think may be best suited to come alongside you.

And women are all about words.

Men have the opportunity to help both women who talk too much and women who can’t seem to coherently spit it out by leading with words.

You, my dear son, were born talking. I remember sitting beside you as I taught you how to read, amazed that you could learn with your mouth wide open and working furiously! You learned to read by talking!

You have a constant need to communicate and you have a compelling need to be communicated with. Just like your dad.

So I want you to take a look at how your dad led me instead of rejecting me because I wasn’t very good at this whole talking/contributing/asking/answering thing that makes up communication. Because the woman you’re hoping and praying for might not be good at talking like you are. But that doesn’t mean she can’t learn with a little help from a good man leading.


1.  Look her in the eye.

A woman’s eyes will tell you massive amounts of information about who she is and what she’s feeling at any given moment. Is she nervous? Her eyes will flit all over the place. Bored? They’ll go dull. Fascinated? They’ll fix on your face and nod along with her head. Flirty? She’ll be looking to see who else is looking. Sympathetic? They’ll brim with tears and soften in pools of understanding.

2.  Focus on her.

If you have even the slightest inclination that this girl might be worth knowing, turn off your cell phone, ignore your goofy friends, don’t say hi to every passerby, and give her your undivided attention. See her. Think. Listen.

3.  Choose what to talk about.

Instead of just responding to her, be the one to guide meaningful conversation. That doesn’t mean you have to be brilliant or know everything about anything. Just be purposeful.

4.  Pace the conversation.

Be alert to when its time to switch subjects, when to ask questions, when to say more and when to say less. But don’t just let conversations die. That leaves a woman feeling like a failure. We’re too relational to just shrug our shoulders and walk away.

5.  Initiate conversation.

As in walk up to a woman and actually use words to bring her close. If she’s a beautiful woman, don’t allow yourself to be terrified of her because of her loveliness. Some beautiful women who are not flirty get shunned just because of fear. Or treated with bluster and bravado… just talk to her.

6.  Ask questions that require thoughtful response.

Instead of “How was your day?” ask “What was the highlight of your day?” Find out who she is, what her dreams are, how she plans to live her faith.

7.  Use a date to enter her world of words.

Men can have a meaningful “talk” sitting side by side as they wrestle fish into their boat. Without a word. But women need  words. If you take her to a movie just be sure that you plan to talk about the movie afterwards. Don’t just drive her home and leave her bereft of those words she craves.

8.  Never, ever, ever make fun of anything she says. Ever.

Don’t use sarcasm with women unless the twinkle in your eye is so huge and so obvious she absolutely cannot miss it. Be careful about teasing… make sure it is fond and funny— and that it makes her look good.

9.  Affirm her with words.

This, my son, is huge. A verbally affectionate man is a rarity. I don’t know why, but I suspect that men are so accustomed to using words as a means of conquering their world that somewhere in there they loose touch with the immense need every woman has to be embraced and brought close with words.

Your dad has loved me with affectionate words for over three decades. And that way of loving me has changed me and grown me and set me free of all that uptight angst I used to be so bound up with.

10. Give her the Word.

After our first date kept us up late into the night talking, your dad scribbled down two Bible verses onto 3×5 cards and sent them with a short note in the mail.

Yep, stamps and the mailbox and all that old-fashioned stuff.

And when I got that envelope with his name in one corner and mine in the middle, my whole self responded. I could barely steady my hands to open it up.

That he’d taken the time and made the effort to communicate back to me what we’d been talking about… I just can’t tell you what that did for my respect for him.

And I still have those verses tucked into my heart:

I Samuel 16:9

…for God sees not as man sees,

for man looks at the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks at the heart.”


Jeremiah 9:23

Thus says the Lord,

“Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom,

and let not the mighty man boast of his might,

let not a rich man boast of his riches;

but let him who boasts boast of this,

 that he understands and knows Me,

that I am the Lord

who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;

for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.


May you be wise as you lead with your words, my son.

I love you,




May 14, 2012
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11 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Sara Baker

    Thank You!!!
    I’ve loved both the letters that you’ve written to your son so far! As a talker I really appreciated someone speaking to men out there about how to lead with words, because we don’t always want to talk, we just hate the thought of an awkward silence! I love reading your blog and all the words of wisdom you have! Its such a blessing

  2. Sara, You are so right- “we just hate the thought of an awkward silence!” That’s true both for talkative women and quiet ones. Those silences seem to signal something wrong to us… God bless, Diane

  3. Cyndi Guidry

    These words to Matthew are PRICELESS, feminine wisdom that all boys becoming men need! Thank you so much for sharing these intimate glimpses into your lives. You’re blessing so many young women and future men.

    • Cyndi,
      See your boys emerge into manhood is one of the joys of my life. You have poured everything into those men of yours… and it shows! Love, Diane

  4. Sarah Nelson

    I’m definitely one of the non-talkative types of girls which is great since I married such a talkative man. That being said, all of these things really resonate with me and I am blessed to have a husband that does a great job of leading me in conversations. #2 and #8 are so true for me. The worst thing ever (dramatic much?) is finally feeling safe enough to open my mouth only to have the person I’m talking to let their eyes wander or make fun of something I said. Those are both REALLY effective in getting me to shut up 🙂

    • We could all use some lessons in listening! It takes courage for most of us to open up and it takes only a hint of meanness (even well intended) to make us clam up.
      I’m so glad Ian has you for all the listening you do! And I love being married to a talkative man- its so relaxing to be able to just follow along.

  5. Ris


    Thank you so much for these letters! They are such a blessing and a confirmation of what women are able to have in a relationship that is constantly looking to Christ. So often we justify things men do that we are in a relationship with, or chalk it up to our imperfect humanity. And while I will fail in many areas of a relationship and he will fail in many areas as well. There are just some things that are unable to be looked past and these letters give me confirmation that waiting for one that truly adores you in all your imperfection, is not only worth it but is possible. The world tries so desperately to tell us otherwise and tell us to just accept that we will never truly be in a marriage that thrives, even with the Lord. But these confirm to me that patience and trust in the Lord is all I need. And to continue to work on those things that could someday affect my husband in a negative way and continue to learn from the goodness of the Lord.

    And a specific thank you to adding the part about sarcasm. Sometimes “I’m only kidding.” Does not heal the huge insecurity that just blossomed in your heart.

  6. Scott

    As always thanks for sharing with us your letters and time. Unfortunately I don’t know the best way to say this but, “10. Give her the Word.” is stylized differently than the other points. That aside, I look forward to more letters of wisdom.

  7. Pingback: Letters to a son | the brook and river meet

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