Do you feel spiritually inadequate’especially when you’re around women? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone. In a survey for my book The Secrets Men Keep we discovered that sixty-eight percent of men feel sometimes they don’t measure up to women spiritually.
Did you know that your feelings of inadequacy have ancient roots? In the book The Silence of Adam the author goes into penetrating detail about Adam’s failure in the garden of Eden to confront the serpent who was tempting Eve. His point is that Adam was silent when he should have spoken up. He was silent when he didn’t rebuke the serpent and stand between his wife and the tempter. And he was silent by not speaking to his wife and challenging her as she contemplated sin.
Apparently Adam felt inadequate to speak up in that situation. Whatever he was feeling’inadequacy, intimidation, fear’he shouldn’t have been. God created Adam first and then created Eve to be his helper’not vice versa. As politically incorrect as that may be, it’s the record of Scripture.
Adam should have intervened. Why he suddenly chose to clam up and stand by while his wife disobeyed God’and then joined her in that disobedience’is a mystery unsolved. And a struggle that continues for men. I encourage you today to battle the urge to be silent and to instead use your strength to bless.
A man wrote this comment about his relationship with his wife: ‘I did not reveal myself to her. I stuffed many of my thoughts, emotions, and needs that I feared would lead to rejection if I voiced them’This was cutting her off’I believe this was an abdication of my responsibility. I have known for many, many years that honesty and openness is God’s way but had not really come to terms with it until recently.’
As a man, you likely agree that not every emotion you feel’for example, fear, inhibition, or intimidation’is good. You probably realize honesty and openness is God’s desire but struggle to obey. Haven’t you wondered if Adam ever said ‘I’m sorry’ to Eve. Think about it. There he was in the Garden, listening to Satan tempt his wife, and he did nothing to interfere, to keep her from giving in. And the rest is history.
As one prominent psychologist noted, ‘Adam was there and he was silent.’ I wonder if Adam ever spoke to Eve about his shame. And I wonder if we men have inherited his silence.
You don’t have to give in to the temptation of silence. Share yourself with your wife. Come to terms with the fact that the silence that fills your home is like a fog and obscures you from her. But you can begin to clear the fog. Give her the opportunity to receive what you say with trust and grace. It might be scary. But you can do it.
Sure, Eve was the first to be deceived in the Garden of Eden. We’re told that in the Bible. But Adam, on the other hand, knew that eating the forbidden fruit was in direct contradiction to what and Adam did so anyway!
Through the millennia, Adam’s sons’that’s us, guys’have been just as rebellious. We’ve chosen our own way with a high-handedness and intensity far beyond that shown by most women. Do you doubt this? I invite you to consider just one illustration that demonstrates my point: crime. Who commits crimes at a far greater rate, men or women? Men do. And of the crimes committed by men and women, which group commits crimes of a much more violent nature? Again, men have a clear and decided edge.
I’m not saying men are greater sinners than women. I’m saying that sin affects men differently than it does women, and consequently, that sin expresses itself in ways that demonstrate that difference. My point is this: men tend to be more rebellious than women.
Now, lets translate this point into the dynamic of marriage. Men are more likely to get bored with the straight and narrow; to grow tired of submitting to the needs of their spouses; to demand having things their own way.
Men, know yourselves! Not in order to ‘fix’ yourselves. That’s impossible. But in order to identify areas in need of transformation by the grace of Jesus Christ.