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.

The ‘How’ Of Romance

Steve Arterburn

Guys, when you’re romancing your wife, it must be on her terms in order to be effective. You have to do what she considers fun, what she considers romantic. That’s what shows your wife that you’ve listened to her, learned her, and you’re attentive to her desires and needs. This demonstrates love.

But there’s another’often overlooked’side of romantic expression: doing things for her that she hates doing herself. For instance, I know a woman who absolutely hates washing silverware after meals. Her husband knows this about her, and often steps in to wash silverware for her’even if he doesn’t have time to wash the sink full of dishes.

So why is doing for your wife what she hates doing romantic to her? Once again, it shows that you’ve taken the time to know her, and that you have the desire to serve her. In other words, it shows her your relationship’s an intimate one.

One woman named Cheryl shared this story: ‘Sometimes I don’t want to do the mundane things like grocery shopping alone. It’s not one of Rod’s favorite things either. But he goes with me if I ask, and he makes it fun just because we’re together. And there’s been more than one classical concert he’s suffered through with me.’

Do you sense that Cheryl feels romance in her marriage? I certainly do.

The ‘Why’ Of Romance

Steve Arterburn

Guys, if there’s any area in which we need to study our wives in order to serve them better, it’s in the department of romance. Romance inspires her and brings feelings of marital intimacy to the surface.

Yet ask most guys what romance is and he’ll begrudgingly mumble something about candlelight dinners and roses. But it’s more than that. In fact, for some men, it might not be candlelight dinners and roses at all. That’s because the chief ingredient of romance is knowing what special thing sparks her romantic motor.

But why is romance so important to our wives? Perhaps the best way to answer this is by considering a different question: why is respect so important to us? The answer to both questions: it’s how we’re made. It’s what makes us tick.

Therefore, for the vast majority of women, going through marriage without romance is the equivalent to how a man would feel having to go through life without respect. In other words, much of the color of life disappears, and everything turns to gray.

Guys, that’s why it’s so important for us to study how to cultivate romance with our wives; and in particular, how to do this in a way that is according to each of our wives’ own personality and liking. This is an important aspect of giving our wives the sacrificial love we’re called to offer, and that they deserve to receive.