|The River Raisin, in Monroe, MI|
When understanding is gained, it often is enough. It may be all that is needed. Everyone doesn't need a "solution"; everyone desires to be understood.
If you are a problem-solver take note: often people neither want nor need their problems solved. For example, Linda and often receive phone calls that go like this.
1. X calls and begins to share a struggle.
2. We listen, trying to understand.
3. X feels listened-to and understood by us.
4. X closes the conversation by saying, "Thank you so much for helping me!"
Have we helped X? We've not solved their problem!
From X's POV they received what they really needed, which was: someone who understands and will pray with them. We have found that, upon the achievement of understanding, a lot of dominoes begin to fall. Things that were seen as problems no longer are.
Understand first. That may be all that's needed.