Every married man is joined to a person more complex than a NASA space shuttle. Besides the fact that the human brain is infinitely more complex than anything else known to man, it’s also had several decades of outside influences by the time a woman marries.
Think of all the things that could’ve influenced your wife in her developmental years: praise and criticism, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, a large or a small family, school experiences, sexual experiences, intelligence, abuse, self-image, male and female role models, models of marriage. The list goes on and on.
Every woman’s life map is different. As a result, no two women are alike. Wouldn’t it be nice if husbands and wives, on their wedding day, in addition to exchanging rings and vows, could hand each other a book titled My Life So Far? And in it would be a closing chapter entitled ‘How to Meet My Needs.’
But this doesn’t happen. So what can you do? How can you begin by better learning your wife’s needs? The best place to start is simply by asking.
If you have a track record of insensitivity, you’ll need to start this process with an apology and a sincere request for connection. Tell your wife you want to know her and begin asking questions’about herself, her hopes, desires, dreams, and fears. Her world may just open up to you, if you’d only ask for entrance.
At some point, almost every man feels incompatible with his spouse. During those times, most men secretly wonder if they should’ve married someone else. They harbor that secret from their wives for fear of hurting them. But truth be told, from time to you’re your wives probably entertain similar thoughts.
The real news here isn’t that people sometimes wish they’d married someone different; it’s that they’re misdiagnosing the issue at hand and the challenge it requires of them. Everybody goes through difficult periods in marriage. At times everybody feels like throwing in the towel. And if you want to know the truth, everybody’at least in one sense’did marry the wrong person!
While teaching a marriage course at Notre Dame, a professor used to give his students one absolute: you always marry the wrong person. ‘It’s a reversible absolute, though,’ said Hauerwas, ‘You always marry the right person. The point is we don’t know who we are marrying.’
Professor Hauerwas is right. The knowledge you have of your spouse on your wedding day is unavoidably incomplete. Furthermore, both of you will change and develop over the course of your lives. Consequently, neither person knows exactly what the promise they’re making to one another will entail. The promise is bold, challenging, and ripe with reward.
Therefore, rather than ask if you’ve married the wrong person, try asking how you can learn to better love and care for the person you’ve married!
When Jesus walked the earth, He directed the focus off of the apparently ‘good’ people doing apparently ‘good’ things,’ and redirected people’s focus on to God. The religious leaders were pointing to the rules; Jesus pointed to Himself, through whom relationships are restored to God.
A healthy, growing faith is always focused on the person of God Himself, not on cheap substitutes. A healthy faith begins and ends in God, not in rules, regulations, and sheer duty. Jesus Christ, not religion, is at the core of a robust Christian faith.
Today Jesus Christ offers men like you and me the same opportunity He gave to those people in the early church. The choice is ours. We can insist on performing and conforming out of obligation and can try to feel good by chalking up good deeds.
Or we can choose Christ’s way. We can love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. We can experience His love and come to know Him intimately. We can stop hiding behind religious facades and meet Him right where we are. We can focus on Him and find sanity, rest, and peace when all hell seems to be breaking loose around us.
Men, it’s not about you. Surrender yourself to Christ’s love and acceptance. Grow closer to Him. Make Him’not your ‘good deeds’ or anyone or anything else’the focus of your life. You’ll never regret it.