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.
Women are like flowers. And your wife is like a delicate flower that spends years unfolding, revealing the beauty and grace’and perhaps scars and developmental wounds’within.
There are two parts to this flower-opening revelation: the opening itself and the observing of what is revealed. Flowers have to open up; wives don’t. Even when they do open up, husbands aren’t always sensitive enough to see what’s revealed and take it to heart. I have a feeling that a secret men harbor’namely that they don’t know how to meet their wives’ needs’is precisely because our sensors are picking up the signals we’re getting. Our wives are revealing who they are all the time’even in the so-called negative moments. We simply aren’t studious enough to conclude, ‘This word of mine met a need, but that comment or action didn’t. Guys, we need to be smarter. Make a mental note of these things for future reference.’
What you don’t know about your wife is being revealed as the flower unfolds and the pressures of life change: merging your money, balancing time, respecting preferences, having and raising children, adjusting to personal styles of living. And then there are families. A wife’s sensitivity to her immediate and extended family throws a huge set of variables into the mix.
I encourage you to be a student of your flower. Take notes of this precious gift, and love her accordingly.
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.