The challenge to men

In my last post I shared about meeting up with some of my Form Six mates. Chatting about this and that, the conversation turned to wives. Talking about the differences between men and women, the married men shared that women were multi-taskers while men were not.

I asked if this was the result of nature or nurture. I think I must have dumbfounded them because there was just a momentary silence, but one married man quickly answered that it was both — genetic and nurture. Since the conversation was going lightly, I didn’t press my case. But, it triggered something that an old (truly old — he got married, had two children, divorced and is now a grandfather!) ex-beau said.

He looked me up two years ago. He presumably thought he could breeze back into my life after all these years! I — without even a tinge of regret! — left him hanging on the curb! But, for old times’ sake I did entertain his request for tea, and, over tea I asked why he divorced. His was the most honest answer I have got from any man about their innate nature. He said, “Well, er, I guess I am just emotionally lazy!”

I thought to myself, “That’s really sad. Here was a very intelligent man who could zero in on the real reason for his failed marriage, and, yet, he did nothing to make it right!” His statement stayed on my mind because, I think, it reveals the real reason why women suffer in their relationships with men and or why they want out.

My suspicions are that women adjust to their situations and are able to multi-task or accept and take on greater emotional stress than their partners because they are willing to change. It is because they are willing to change that they are willing to adjust — but at a price. They suffer as they carry the heavier emotional load, while their partners are left free not to change and carry their share.

Men, I suspect, don’t want to change their inner being. Something within them resists it and they are quite happy to maintain the status quo by saying they are genetically wired that way. If men can’t or won’t change deep inside then they have to agree with LGBT because the latter also claim that they can’t change no matter how they try!

I think — like my ex-beau said — men are just too lazy to change because it demands an inner revamp and that’s just too hard for them! Women, on the other hand, have no choice but to change because they have to deal with the situation at hand. We are constantly examining ourselves to adjust to the situation because we want inner fulfillment and resolution. Men are content with outer satisfaction because they estimate themselves according to their roles: father, husband, provider, head of the family unit, worker. They are happy to make changes if these affect their roles. Strip them of these roles and they would be lost!

Women, however, are not defined by their roles but by their relationships. Many still find their self-esteem through the way they are viewed by men but that outmoded mindset is gradually fading out and women are discovering who they are and changing accordingly. As a result, we cope better, and, perhaps, that’s why we are multi-taskers. We can adjust to various demands.

When women are stripped of our roles — mother, emotional giver — we still can fall back to who we are as women. Men, I think, don’t know who they are outside their roles. So, they can’t give out of who they are as a person, a man.

It is this basic difference, that I feel, is one of the major reasons for the frustrations women suffer in relationships with men because they don’t get back as much as they give of themselves. When women need to give, they find a way. When men need to give, they would do so according to their roles — anything more and they are unable and they will give excuses. You hear them all the time: “I love you. You have everything you want. What more do you want?”, “I am giving you everything, am I not?”, “I’m working so hard so that you all have everything. Can’t you accept it?”

Or, they say, “I can’t give you what you want”, and rather leave.  The truth isn’t that they can’t but that they don’t know who they are to know how to give anything more.

“The anything more” is really what women want. That is the excitement of a relationship with a man who is willing to engage you to give you that and to whom you can give more. Unfortunately, these relationships don’t exist.

That is the fundamental deficiency in the make-up of Christian men — in my opinion (I’m full of opinions!) — which has not been brought before our mentor and Lord Jesus Christ who we strive to emulate and for His redemptive love to pass through. Jesus always relates first as a person, as who He is, the Son of God — not as the Saviour of the world. The latter was His role, His work. His role and work are carried through in the way He relates as The Son.

Perhaps, that’s the reason why Christian marriages are no different from other marriages. Christian men don’t fundamentally change so, basically, they are no different from non-Christians in the way they relate. The changes they make are superficial and cosmetic and invariably related to conforming to the expectations of their roles.

Of course, I am over-simplifying things here, but the point I’m making is that men need to be willing to change the inner man to be like our Lord. I believe when they are able to rest in who they are in Christ, they’ll become better lovers, husbands and fathers. When that happens, they will lead the world in what it means to love.

That is the testimony that the world has yet to see. When they see it, they will look to us to lead.

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