Discerning Reader reviewer Leslie Wiggins recently completed an interview with Nancy Cobb who co-authored How to Get Your Husband to Listen to You.
Discerning Reader: Would you please share a little bit about how God brought you to faith in Jesus?
NC: I gave up on God in my late 30's. I thought He was impossible to please, and I was doing everything I could do...in fact I was trying to be perfect, and had to go into counseling over the perfect issue. About 5 years later, I was playing tennis in NC, where we had just moved. An acquaintance invited me to a Bible study of 500 women taught by Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham's daughter). I went, and after a month understood providentially that salvation was by grace through faith, not of works, but a gift of God. She shared the complete Gospel, I received Christ when I was 43. I had bought my first Bible when I was 41. When I was 49, Anne stopped teaching the class and providentially chose me to take her place!!
DR: Where do you worship? How are you serving your local church these days?
NC: At Christ Community Church in Omaha, NE. I am a Bible teacher, mostly teaching marriage with Connie Grigsby, I mentor, and I am Director of Women's Ministries at a Church approaching 4000.
DR: How did you and Connie meet and begin to work together?
NC: We met in my first Wife Class. Connie called me and asked if I ever met privately with women. We set up an app't; and it came to me that she was going to co-author books with me. We had never had a conversation before the projected meeting. At the meeting, I asked her what she liked to do, and she said, "Write." The outcome was she sought God's will for the first time ever that very night, and God confirmed His will for her to write with me.
DR: Please describe "The Wife Class" and what you consider to be the most important topics you discuss in that class.
NC: We have taught all 4 of our books. The most important points that we stress are:
- God has a "job description" for wives in His Word and clearly explains it.
- Before the fall of man, God gave man work, and woman a challenge: He said it is not good for man to be alone. We ask: "Is your husband lonely? Is home the loneliest place he knows? Does his importance come after your children/family/friends/the dog? Well, that is not good. He is your first ministry.
- Before the fall of man, God gave the other part of the challenge: He said, I will make a helper suitable/adapting (Amplified Bible) for/to her husband. Helper is used of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and a wife. It is a high and holy calling. We then detail it from many passages including 1 Peter 3:1-2 (Amplified Bible.)
DR: Your friendship with Connie comes through in your writing. Has your relationship helped you become better wives?
NC: We are completely free to share confidences, prayer requests, struggles, joys, hopes, dreams... and of course, the Lord.
DR: In your book, you discuss the influence our friends can have on our marriages. How can women encourage one another to be godly wives? What are some steps women can take when they realize that another person is having a negative influence over their behavior and marriage?
NC: 1. By living as a Godly wife. Everyone notices. Then share her failures and her God empowered successes. 2. Change the relationship to surface talk; don't share intimate details of marriage with a negative person. Then let her see your Godliness. It may impact her.
DR: Why is communication between husbands and wives so difficult?
NC: Because we are completely, and utterly different. And very often, women try to make their husbands over...to be more feminized in their conversations. Women may talk too much. Give simple sentences (bullet point) re: information. Almost every husband is overly talked to by his wife, and he tunes her out. Men are given 6 lobes in the brain to process information/conversation/discussion therefore, they are VERY focused. Women on the other hand, have 16 lobes so they can listen and multi-task. Men speak less than 7000 words a day, and women about 20,000. Women need to accept male-talk. Men just don't use the same diplomacy girlfriends/daughters and sisters do. They are blunt. If you want his opinion and ask for it, accept it the way a man speaks. Don't ask if a pair of jeans makes you look fat if you don't want an honest answer.
DR: In the book, you discuss the difference between direct and indirect talking. Can you give us a few examples of this?
NC: Direct talking: " I am thirsty, would you stop at the next fast food place?" Indirect: I'm so tired. (What you are really saying is I am thirsty.) He will NEVER understand this interpretation and we do it ALL the time. Your sister might say, "You're tired? Why don't we stop at the next fast food place and get you a Coke?"
DR: What are some phrases women should avoid when they want to discuss something important with their husbands?
NC: Never, ever begin with "We need to talk", or "I'd like to go to dinner tonight to talk over issues with you." Just say the important thing briefly. "Johnny got a D in math after being an A student. What do you suggest we do?"
DR: One issue you discuss in the book is the tendency women have to misinterpret their husbands' silence. I know I do that. What is the most common outcome when a wife attempts to interpret her husband's silence? Why is this?
NC: She is 99% of the time incorrect in her assumptions. Most men answer so briefly, that we try to interpret it, and are mostly wrong. Most men don't want to say, "I think I may lose my job because the team is not winning." or "I think I won't be working here much longer, a new owner is coming in." They want to avoid the ONSLAUGHT of questions that a nervous wife will pour all over him.
DR: Most relationships encounter seasons of emotional disconnection. What are some steps wives can take to reconnect with their husbands during these times?
NC: Go after him. Ideas: Take him coffee in bed when he wakes up (if he likes coffee). Meet him at the door/car when he comes home. If you come home after he does, find him - hug and kiss him. Look at him when he talks. Involve yourself in some of his passions i.e. football. There's a great book called "Football for Dummies". Read the sports page. You'd do that for him when he was your boy friend. It's even more important now.
DR: I really identified with you both as you shared quite candidly about the difficult periods of your marriages when you were upset with your husbands more often than not. What advice can you offer for wives in that position who may be reading today?
NC: Decide, "This is TURN-AROUND" day for me. Don't make an announcement like that to him. Begin to live God's way, for His glory. Read Luke 6: Jesus gives great lessons on how to handle difficult people and makes a stunning statement, EXPECT NOTHING IN RETURN...."
DR: Are you working on another book? Do you have plans for another book in the Uncovering How Men Communicate series?
NC: We have been asked to. We are praying about this; Connie's daughter is getting married in a few months and she has been asked by the bride to be to keep commitments at bay until her wedding is over. I am adjusting to the loss of my husband in December 2006.