Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. — Psalm 25:16
To do any sort of justice to a book for women would require me (John) to go deeper, listen even more carefully, study, and delve into the mystery (okay, mess) of a woman’s soul. Part of me didn’t want to go there. Pull back. Withdraw. I was keenly aware of this going on inside me, and I felt like a jerk. But I also knew enough about myself and about the battle for a woman’s heart that I needed to explore this ambivalence.
- What is this thing in me — and in most men — that doesn’t want to go deep into a woman’s world?
“You are too much. It’s too much work. Men are simpler. Easier.” And isn’t that the message you’ve lived with all your life as a woman? “You’re too much, and not enough. You’re just not worth the effort.” Now, part of a man’s fundamental reluctance to truly dive into the world of a woman comes from a man’s deepest fear: failure. He fears that having delved into his woman’s world, he won’t have what it takes to help her there. That is his sin. That is his cowardice. And because of her shame, most of the time a man gets away with it.
Most marriages reach this sort of unspoken settlement. “I’m not coming any closer. This is as far as I’m willing to go. But I won’t leave, and that ought to make you happy.” And so there is this sort of détente, a cordial agreement to live only so close. The effect is that most women feel alone.
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. — Psalm 109:22
- For most of us, our wounds are an immense source of shame.
A man’s not supposed to get hurt; he’s certainly not supposed to let it really matter. And so most men minimize their wounds. King David (a guy who was hardly a pushover) didn’t act like that at all. “I am poor and needy,” he confessed openly, “and my heart is wounded within me” (Psalm 109:22). Or perhaps men will admit it happened, but deny it was a wound because they deserved it. After many months of counseling, I asked Dave a simple question: “What would it take to convince you that you are a man?” “Nothing,” he said. “Nothing can convince me.” We sat in silence as tears ran down my cheeks. He had embraced the wound and owned its message as final. There was no sign of emotion at all. I went home and wept — for Dave, and for so many other men I know, and for myself because I realized that I, too, had embraced my wound.
- The only thing more tragic than the tragedy that happens to us is the way we handle it.
God is fiercely committed to you, to the restoration and release of your masculine heart. But a wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept is a wound that cannot heal. A wound you’ve embraced is a wound that cannot heal. A wound you think you deserve is a wound that cannot heal.
God, give me the courage to acknowledge my wound so that I might heal. I trust you to restore me and release my masculine heart.
Excerpted with permission from Wild About You by John & Stasi Eldredge, copyright John Eldredge and Stasi Eldredge.
* * *
Married couples, do you want to quit the détente? God is fiercely committed to you, to your healing, and to your oneness as a couple! Lean in. ~ Devotionals Daily