It seems love can’t remain at the level of intentions alone: it must involve constant strenuous efforts to translate our wishes into interventions truly aligned with the psychology and history of another human being.
We want them to sit listening because the real problem we need assistance with isn’t so much the specific issue we are mentioning (the parking ticket, the in-laws, the delayed delivery). It’s the overarching sense that most people we encounter can’t really be bothered to take the time to imagine themselves correctly into our lives. Perhaps there was a history to this: our parents might have been practically minded, busy and successful but somehow rather callous and distracted in the way they sought always and immediately to push our difficulties out of the way with logic. Now we feel how an immediate ‘solution’ can be an excuse for not listening to the problem. That’s why just being heard feels like the quintessence of love. We might almost deliberately take our time, go back over points our partner had thought were finished and re-explore a jagged bit of our story, not to mislead, but because such rehearsals create the backdrop for the only style of help we crave and trust: receptive, quiet attention.