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.
HOW TO LEAD A WOMAN WITH WORDS
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 3x5 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.”
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,