This is a section from No, I Can’t Make Your Wife Disappear
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The best mind readers who study body language, have an uncanny ability to observe the smallest details, gather information surreptitiously, ask the right questions, and listen to everything. An old joke among mentalists (those who supposedly read minds) goes like this: you know it’s bad when you have to put your glasses on to read someone’s mind.
Most of what a mind reader practices happens in a few seconds. Imagine you’re at an intimate theater that seats seventy guests. You feel the excitement and the thrill as you wait for the curtain to open, knowing you’re about to experience mind reading firsthand.
Before the show started, the performer heard someone talking about losing their dad a year ago on this date. As the curtain lifts, he performs a few initial mind-reading stunts, then he brings up Elizabeth (the one who lost her dad). When he greets her onstage, he notices smoke stains on her fingers. He files this information, wondering if she might be compulsive or anxious, and he assumes she has other addictions. Her smile is bright from teeth whitening, which might indicate she’s trying to hide something. From her firm handshake and direct eye contact, he gathers that she has a high-profile job.
The mind reader says, “Please sit. Have we ever met?” You are riveted by his showmanship, confidence, and immediate connection with her.
Elizabeth shakes her head. “Never.”
He says, “I’d like to try something. Please just nod if I’m correct. This doesn’t always work, but I’m going to try to unlock something that is only within your mind.”
He moves on. “You have great confidence in who you are, but recently that has been shaken. You’ve been more anxious than usual (she nods). You’ve been trying to cover up, yet you stand tall and strong. But today is different (she is trying not to cry). Today is significant because this date matters to you more than most. Today you’re reminded of your origins (a tear slips out) and of who you are meant to be. Today is a reminder to love those who surround you because time is short.”
The audience gasps at the accuracy of the mind reader. It’s unbelievable how he apparently knew so much in so little time.
Information Is the Key
If you’re going to learn to read your spouse’s mind, take some lessons from a mind reader. To read minds, you need information. In the scenario above, the mind reader spent less than a minute with Elizabeth and never asked one question related to her past. Imagine what he could do if he asked questions. The more information a mind reader has, the more detailed and amazing his mind reading will be. Information is the key.
Unlike the mind reader, you and I aren’t trying to entertain an audience; we’re trying to love our spouses the way God intended. We have
the freedom to gather a lot of information over time and observe their habits, patterns, and behaviors so we can learn to respond to them in the best possible way.
A good mentalist studies everything about how people think and respond to the world around them; he then uses this information to create the illusion of mind reading. We can learn to study our spouse’s behavior, patterns, personality, and preferences and use our knowledge to love them, encourage them, care for them, and build them up.
Our job is to use the information to help them. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact
you are doing.” These two practices, encouragement and building each other up, change the outcome of any conversation.
Husbands, imagine that your wife comes home from work, flops on the couch, and says, “I’m so exhausted.” You now have a lot of information. You know she had a long, rough day at work. She told you she is mentally exhausted, and she is physically tired (she flopped on the couch).
Here’s what you shouldn’t say:
“Hey babe, what’s for dinner tonight?” Let me read her mind for you. She isn’t making dinner! In fact, she’s ordering pizza and may not be ordering enough for you.
“Glad you’re here. The kids need help with their homework. I’m heading out with the guys.” Good luck explaining your black eye to the boys!
“Don’t forget, tonight the kids are out. It’s our night to ‘get it on,’ right?” Prepare for a night of disappointment!
Instead, use the information she gave you to encourage and build her up. There isn’t one right way to respond to this situation, but here are a few ways that could be helpful in loving her and supporting her.
1. Ask Questions
Sometimes, even mind readers can make mistakes or misread the information they have gathered. The key to being right is to collect more information so you can be more accurate. Questions are the key to getting information, and information is the key to mind reading.
You might ask questions such as these: Which coworker do I need to make disappear permanently? Seems like you had a rough day. Do you want to talk about it? A year from now, what do you think will be funny about this day? Was the entire day terrible? Questions are a way to continue the conversation, and they give you the opportunity to gather more information.
There are more principles I share in chapter 3 on “How To Read Minds” in No, I Can’t Make Your Wife Disappear