It is an art to know when to listen and when to speak. And when we do speak, that it is worth listening to….
The Wife Desired by Father Leo J. Kinsella, 1950’s
As most of us grow older and become less active physically, one of our greatest sources of entertainment is intelligent conversation. We derive satisfaction from the discussion of current events, of problems affecting our daily lives, and of sundry subjects of mutual interest.
Too little stress is given today in educational circles to the art of conversation. I believe that there are a number of reasons for this lack of interest on the part of educators. A group of high school girls at recess time usually presents the same picture. All are talking; none are listening. Promote talking? Teachers naturally lift an eyebrow if one suggests more conversation at their school. Yet ninety-nine per cent of all this talk is just chitchat….
Real conversation is an art. Like any other art it must be cultivated and practiced. The voice is an important phase of personality. Often the voice alone gives the cue to personality and character of a girl.A petulant, or frivolous, or frigid, or nagging young lady frequently rings a bell of warning in her voice to interested young men who have ears to hear as well as to catch dirt.
Likewise, a warmhearted and generous woman refined and cultured with a well developed personality can tell others of her accomplishments simply by speaking a few sentences. “The flute and the psaltery make a sweet melody, but a pleasant tongue is above them both.” Ecclesiaticus 40, 21.
Perhaps by this time some find their thoughts wandering from the work at hand–namely, self-appraisal and consideration of how to advance toward the goal of the ideal and desired wife. Maybe some are asking by now why they should strive to become this paragon of a girl.
Too many young men are too stupid anyway to see and appreciate in a girl all the qualities of the ideal wife. Isn’t a girl lucky for that! A girl can thank God that these imbeciles are not attracted to her. One of these cigarette sucking simpletons might rush her off her feet, and then see with what she would be stuck the rest of her life.
It does seem that neurotics attract each other for marriage. I suppose it is one more bit of evidence of the old proverb, “Birds of a feather flock together.” So the girls who develop their personalities and acquire the other features of the ideal wife have a much better chance of attracting their counterpart, the ideal husband. Again, let that all-interesting ideal husband take care of himself for a while. Let us get back to our “netting.”
Conversation is not a one way street. It connotes the ability to listen as well as to talk. Some people make a good audience. They stimulate conversation purely by the manner of their attention. They are alive, and thus they register. Because they are interested they are interesting. They bring out the best in others.
A clever girl can do wonders by the way she listens with animation to her boyfriend. The boyfriend or the husband is only human. There will be times when he is going to want to tell “all about it.” He is loquacious for a change. Then for heaven’s sake, let the wife give him the stage. Or, perhaps, he is taciturn and yearns for quiet. The wise wife senses these various moods of her husband.
I remember a case in which the wife hauled her husband down to the Chancery. Her major complaint was that her husband would not talk things over with her, would not confide in her. “He just never talks with me.” This poor woman talked “like a blue streak” for an hour and a half. A number of times I tried to break in. At each failure I got a knowing look from the husband as much as if to say, “Know how you feel. For years I’ve been trying to get a word in edgewise.”
There is a theory of counseling based on letting the estranged husband and wife talk themselves into their own solution of the problems vexing their marital happiness. There are enthusiasts of this school of thought who maintain that they can solve any case by just letting them talk.
I wish they had been in on the case just mentioned. I finally had to run from her one day later on, when she came down alone to see me. I could not take any more than two hours of it. I imagine that she is still talking, whether at her husband or not I do not know. How he could stand it, I do not know either.
While at school a girl should “make hay while the sun shines.” It is then that she can acquire and develop ability at conversation. As she learns to swim, to play tennis, to figure skate, and to sing, she can talk with interest and intelligence about these things.
If she knows nothing about music, a girl will have to be pretty clever to be able to “get away with” talking about music. On the other hand, as she develops her personality by learning to do various things, she should acquire facility in conversing about these things.
If she reads good literature, she opens another tremendous potential for conversation. True, she must practice, and school affords that opportunity not only in the classroom, but even during moments of recreation. Practice on your girl friends? Why not? They do on you!
Friends have been defined as those between whom there need not be conversation. Husband and wife can spend a quiet evening at home with a minimum of conversation and be happy and content.
They are aware of each other’s presence, and that is enough. Yet intelligent conversation will add immeasurably to their lives. A dumb Dora may have her moments; but, if she cannot formulate two consecutive and coherent sentences, let us all pray for strength for that husband of hers.
You and I have the wonderful opportunity to leave behind a legacy – one of care and concern, one that reaches out to others, one of loveliness and holiness. Be a woman who cares about the kind of legacy you leave when you are called home. Follow God’s will in your life. Pattern your life after Our Lady and simply pass it on to those you come in contact with each day.
Excellent sermon! Father gives us tips on growing in virtue to make this a great Lent. How can we conquer vices & grow virtue?
March ~ Printable Traditional Catholic Daily Planner ~ Meal Menu/Homeschool Page ~ Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily Goals!
Wearing of the Green Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Available here.
Here is a marriage blueprint that every woman can follow. Happy marriages do not just happen, they are made. It takes three parties to make a good marriage; the husband, the wife, and the Lord. This book is concerned with helping the woman to become the wife desired and therefore loved that every man worth having wishes to find and keep.<P> This book sold over a quarter of a million copies shortly after its publication in 1951, and it was read by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It is a practical manual. It should be read by every woman considering entering the matrimonial state and also by those women who are already married.
We all have it . . . the desire, the longing for love. God meant for marriage to be beautiful, resilient . . . lovely, but this broken world can make it hard sometimes. 100 Ways to Love is a practical guide to find and live in the rich, fulfilling marriage God intended for husbands and wives. You can get beyond just living in the minimum of your relationship. Ladies, we have one shot at loving our man. We all have the capacity and capability to love him and to do it well. It’s time for our marriages to start thriving in love.
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I’ve been wanting to write to you for a long time to thank you for everything you post & for the tremendous book recommendations you share. Yours is my favorite blog & I share almost everything you post on Facebook. Recently I bought 2 books that you recommend – The Wife Desired & How to Raise Good Catholic Children. They are both beyond my expectations and have become 2 of my favorite books. Believe it or not, I am part of a Marian Cenacle with the FFI started by Fr. Stefano Manelli who wrote the book “Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love”, which you quote from. I’m wondering if you own the book “My Ideal” by Fr. Emile Neubert? If you do not & are willing to share your mailing address with me, I would love to send you a copy as a thank you. May God bless you & your beautiful family!
Thank you for your kind words, Brenda. And what a lovely gesture, I have not heard of the book and would like to read it. God bless you!
I have sent you an email with my address. ☺️
Very true, conversation versus chit chat…. I do love the quote above the grandmother in the picture, thank you!
P. S. cute apron, the colors are nice together.
It’s easy, if one is out going and one’s husband is quieter, to make the mistake of totally taking over conversation, even when company comes. I’ve noticed through the years that I would often (out of pure desire to ‘keep conversation going’) rob my husband of the chance to speak (even though he’s slower at conversation) when we had company. Over the years I could tell it wore him down. Recently I’ve been trying harder than ever to purposefully stay (politely) quieter when people come over, esp priests to dinner. Yes, I have so many thoughts and ideas and questions and I want to grow, but it wasn’t doing good to my husband. Well the other week, we had some company and I was very careful to focus on serving and minding the children and LETTING MY HUSBAND speak, and at one point he looked up and said “you go ahead and take over” wanting me to speak. That was so lovely a thing to hear for the first time! For almost 15 years I’ve controlled the conversation too much and it’s an eye opener. He commented later that he noticed the difference and I could tell he was grateful. I think I share this story go encourage all wives but esp young ones starting out to really LISTEN to your husband. Most men aren’t as loquacious as we women. But esp when company comes to call, encourage him to take the floor and try to recede…it’s so much more fulfilling! Thank you, Leane, another good article!
Excellent, thank you for sharing your testimony! ❤️
I meant to say “encourage him to take the floor while you recede .” Sorry for the spelling errors, Baby decided to get up just as I was typing! 🙂
Looking forward to seeing the Christmas pictures soon! 🙂