I didn’t think I had anything revolutionary left to learn about men. Not that I’m conceited or anything; I just thought if there was more to know, it wouldn’t be the type of stuff that would blow my mind. I was so naively wrong.
Shaunti Feldhahn came to speak at my church a couple weeks ago. She’d stumbled onto some specific realizations about the way men think and feel toward women and relationships, and it spurred her to learn more. After anonymously surveying hundreds of men and conducting personal interviews with several of them, she interpreted the data in her best-selling book “For Women Only.”
I’m not enjoying the book. Not because it isn’t well written or because I disagree with the author (although on some minor points I do). It’s because what I’m learning is terrifying to me. It seems to confirm on some primal level something I’d always feared, but worked really hard to ignore.
I confess, it is entirely possible that some of what I feel stems from a heart broken many times. Having honestly acknowledged that reality, I must clarify that I’m not trying to lump men into a stereotypical group (i.e. “all men are dogs”). I used to believe that, and then I grew up. But looking back at my younger self and comparing her bitter conclusions to what I’ve been learning, I can understand the primal instinct that pushed her self-preservation button.
Now, this is why what I’ve learned is blowing my mind: My primal instinct wasn’t really that far off. My oversimplified conclusion about the data was wrong, this is true. But the instinct itself, the one that caused me to draw that conclusion, was pretty-much spot-on. The instinct that men’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs (and the resulting actions) are vastly, hugely different than women’s. There’s a gap between us as wide as the distance from the earth to the moon; how can such a gap be bridged?
I’ve spent these many years trying to convince myself the instinct was wrong, and therefore I had no reason to put a wall around my heart. Instead, what I should’ve done was trusted the instinct, but dealt with the heart-attitude (the desire for self-preservation) that developed because of it. So now I have to start at ground zero. Dangit!
Okay, so all men are not dogs.
But … men are strange, scary creatures. The things they think and feel are incomprehensible to me, and I am very tempted to protect my heart from them. All of them. (Not a good thing when you have a husband.) I feel like I’ve been living on a planet with aliens in human suits. I even live with an alien in “husband” skin. Secretly he’s been this other being. I feel like someone’s been lying to me all my life. Worst of all, I’m afraid it will never be possible to relate to my husband, because I may not ever be able to fully trust him.
I don’t understand why God chose to do things this way. I don’t understand how he expected relationships to work this way. I mean, I’m not throwing him under the bus; I just don’t get it, that’s all. Everything feels strange and scary right now. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on it soon.
By the way, I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just sharing how I feel. Go ahead and comment freely.