Thursday, March 31, 2011
“I told her I loved her 15 years ago, at our wedding. Nothin’s changed, so what’s the problem?” “Of course, I love her. I told her I did. If anything changes, I’ll let her know. Until then she should just assume that what I said way back then still holds true.” These and many other similar statements from men are all too common. We men often think language contains information and nothing more. This is why two men can go for a ride in a car and not say more than two or three words for hours and then say something meaningful like, “You want to stop for something to eat?” “Yup.” “This okay?” “Yup.”
You see, for men the purpose of conversation is to convey information. We only talk about things and stuff. These things and stuff are usually outside of our bodies (unless we’re actually talking about our bodies). We talk about ideas and about structures and about how the kids are doing: “They’re doing fine.”
I’m always amazed that I can spend five hours on a golf course with some men only saying things like, “Nice shot” or “You putt like an old lady” or “Way to hit it, Martha,” and when we’re finished, we’re suddenly best friends. In the business world large deals are often struck on the basis of the fact that the men had a good time on the golf course.
The good thing about this is that men learn a great deal about one another without ever saying a word. I know, for example, what a man’s character is like when I play a sport with him. If he blows up, I know something about him. If he cheats, that reveals something. If he helps those who aren’t quite as good as he is or if he is willing to learn from those who are better than he, this says something about the man. It often doesn’t take many words to get to know a man, in the right circumstances.
But women aren’t men. The Bible says that we are to live with our wives as with weaker vessels. This does not mean that our wives are wimpy or that they are inferior because they are weaker than we are (sometimes they aren’t physically weaker, but that’s another problem altogether). It means that we are to treat them specially because they are under our protection. We should therefore not treat them as we treat the men. We can get along just fine with a man without ever saying anything past, “Good morning,” but our wives need more than that. They need to hear us tell them that we love them, that we think they are the most wonderful and beautiful women in the world, that we continue to discover the hidden wonders of who they are.
Before I go too far along these lines, I need to make sure that you understand that you are not to lie to your wife. If you haven’t been noticing how wonderful she is, don’t lie to her. Instead, begin studying her. Notice what she does all day while you’re at work and tell her about how wonderful it is. Pay attention to her and comment on the grace God has bestowed on her (even if it is simply to be able to live with you).
Another point about women and talk that is important for the men to understand is that for a woman talk is food. When you tell her you love her, you are not imparting information to her; you are feeding her soul. When you read the Bible with her and discuss what you’re reading, you aren’t bouncing ideas off a wall; you’re feeding your wife’s soul. In fact, I would go so are as to tell you that this is one of the major things you are to do if you are going to love your wife as Christ loved the Church. You need to forget that thing about “I told her 10 years ago that I loved her.” You need to tell her every day.