Emotional pain never dies of natural causes. Old age doesn’t sap its strength. And you can’t bury it alive. If you try, it’ll kick and scream until you acknowledge it, feel it, and work through it. And working through it usually requires you to forgive. Of course, you can try ignoring the pain ‘ we call that denial. And this may work’to some extent and for some short period of time. But the only way to get it out of your heart is through forgiveness.
Unexpressed grief festers and swells, waiting to erupt. It may explode in uncontrollable rage, gush out in unstoppable tears, seep out in unexplainable depression, or ooze internally, resulting in undiagnosed illness. But men, the one thing you can be absolutely sure of is this: pain you’ve shoved deep down never leaves on its own.
People carry all kinds of pain from disappointments, failures, betrayals, and losses. In our hectic world, the most efficient and acceptable way of dealing with emotional pain is to get yourself so busy that you simply have no time to think about it. This eases your discomfort, so you can carry on, seemingly no worse for wear. The avoidance of pain, however, will keep you from going through the process of forgiveness. When you refuse to feel the full impact of your pain, you don’t allow it to do its necessary work on your character.
Men, please don’t settle for temporary and inadequate fixes. Extending forgiveness is the only real way toward healing.
If you seriously want to learn how to meet your wife’s needs, you can. All you need to do is recall the initial process of getting to know your wife when you were courting. It wasn’t rocket science, and still isn’t: You spent hours and hours together talking and exploring one another’s personalities. And the most important thing you did was act on what you learned.
When you discovered your girl liked this music or that food or those flowers, you responded. There was nothing you wouldn’t do to show your love, and that you were serious about the relationship.
Once men leave the wedding reception, the get-to-know-you graph too often takes a dive like a dot-com stock in early 2000. Okay, maybe not quite that fast. But it begins falling nonetheless. Despite a guy’s best intentions to think otherwise, there’s something in him that says, ‘I know my wife. I wouldn’t have married her if I didn’t.’ The truth is, you only think you know her. You only know as much as thenumber of months of your courtship revealed. And more importantly, you only know what she’s disclosed.
My encouragement to every man who wants to know how to meet his wife’s needs is to begin, courting her afresh. If you’ll devote the same intensity and interest to your wife after marriage that you did before’and maintain that interest level throughout your marriage’you will learn your wife’s needs and how to better meet them.
When I first began reading the Gospels in the New Testament I was struck by several things: Jesus didn’t heal everybody; He was willing to say ‘No’ in a way that would be considered rude today; and He often fled from the masses ‘ he withdrew to rest.
The popular image of Jesus as a passive guy who couldn’t say ‘No’ and who catered to everyone’s beck and call is wrong. He argued, used strong language, said ‘No,’ and walked away. When it came to taking time for Himself, He provided an example we’d be wise to follow.
Men have responded pretty well to the current mindset in our culture that suggests men need to be more involved at home. You probably do housework, change diapers, shop for groceries, play with the kids, date your wife, and help with homework. But having adopted this mindset, many men feel guilty about taking time off for themselves. I don’t mean a ski trip to Colorado. I’m talking more about just taking a few hours here and there to regroup.
Often husbands will stay with the kids while their wives get together with the girls, but they don’t plan similar events for themselves. Do you think your wife needs a break and you don’t? That’s a big mistake.
Friend, if ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,’ it’ll also make him an increasingly dull husband and father. Take care not to let this happen to you.