The ‘Sweeper’

Steve Arterburn

Guys, have you ever noticed that when a woman is feeling stressed or angry, she’ll often call a friend? Have you also noticed when guys feel those same things, we usually do just the opposite?

When it comes to dealing with emotions, most men run for the hills’alone. We tend not to be as good as our female counterparts at facing our feelings, let alone talking about them. Most of us have been trained to treat our emotions like dirty laundry ‘ we don’t want anything to do with them.

When our emotions surface, our internal ‘Sweeper’ moves to action. The sweeper is that part of our subconscious who methodically and logically eliminates the threat that rogue emotions present. The ‘Sweeper’s’ job is to prohibit any situation from heating up too much and to sweep stray emotions back under the surface, where we think they belong. The Sweeper’s job description looks something like this:

  • Hide and mask anger
  • Internalize pressure
  • Bury losses
  • Deny wounds
  • Withdraw in the face of hard truth
  • Deflect mistakes
  • Blame others
  • Hide struggles
  • Push others away
  • Excuse me from feeling the hurts of others

Men, does this sound familiar? If so, I think it’s time you put your Sweeper up for review, and seriously consider cleaning out his office. The ‘Sweeper’s’ so-called services are, in fact, doing you a great disservice.

Where Is Your Heart?

Steve Arterburn

Is your marriage a delight to you? How does it compare with, say, your career or your favorite hobby when it comes to charging your engines? These aren’t things many men think about often, are they? And even when we do, it’s tough to get past our own defense mechanisms in order to get accurate answers.

This being the case, I’ve got a more practical and concrete way for you to answer these questions. Over the next several days, keep your eye out for these particular things as they show up in your daily life:

        Does your wife’s face brighten when you enter the room?

        Do you greet and part with a kiss, or some other form of affection?

        Does she respond positively to your embrace?

        Does talking happen often and proceed easily between the two of you?

        When she’s sad, or when she’s been hurt, is it you that she seeks?

        Do you think about her when she’s not around? If so, what kind of thoughts?

Guys, the observations you make with regard to these questions will go a long way in helping you discern where your heart is at with your wife. If you find a passion for oneness and a passion for serving her, that’s fantastic! Keep up the good work.

However, if you find that the passion isn’t there, don’t blow it off. It’s not okay. You need to seek it, find it, and fan it into flame.

What’s Needed To Stand

Steve Arterburn

Men, standing for anything in this life means that, at the same time, you’re standing against something else. And what is true for life in general certainly holds true for the Christian life in particular. Standing for God means standing against the Enemy. And in order to stand without falling, you must do these three things:

Number one: Recognize your Enemy. First Peter 5:8 describes him as a roaring lion searching for someone to devour. You need not fear him, but you dare not take him lightly.

Number two: Understand your need to be humble. Men, the battlefield is no place for arrogance or boasting. Seek the Giver of all good gifts in your time of need. James 4:6-7 promises, ‘He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, ‘God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.’ So humble yourselves before God.’

Number three: Resist the assault. This means doing whatever you need to do in a time of temptation to cooperate with God’s entrance into the situation. At times it may mean turning to Scripture and prayer. At other times in may simply mean walking away, picking up the phone, or taking out the trash. Spiritual warfare is extremely practical, and it pays off. Scripture says, ‘Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.’

The bottom line is this, guys: If Satan is fleeing from you, he’s surely not gaining a strategic foothold in your life.