Guest post by my husband, Wayne
I closed my last post by asking for topics you’d like to hear discussed from a man’s point of view.
I spent much of the weekend sequestered in the basement, pouring over your responses in order to find the perfect subject for my first official post from the wilderness. Don’t believe the rumor that I was hiding in the basement so I could watch the NFL Divisional Playoff series; that’s simply not true. I was also watching hockey.
Jeanelle asked why men are afraid to display emotion freely in relation to the Lord.
Let’s be honest, most men are afraid to display emotion freely – as it relates to anything, not just to our relationship with God.
I will admit that many of my gender would argue that chest bumping and high-fiving during a sporting event qualifies as a free display of emotion.
You and I know better.
We guys just view emotion differently than you ladies.
If our spouse comes to us with a problem, many times what she’s looking for is empathy. But a man’s inclination is to analyze the problem, come up with a strategy to solve the problem, and execute it.
Cold? … We shall make fire.
Hungry? … We shall go kill something for you to feast upon.
The idea that you want emotional support rather than a solution strikes us as completely foreign.
The Bible has nearly 700 verses that reference crying.
- Esau wept when he asked for Isaac’s blessing. (Genesis 27:37)
- David wrote of his tears before the Lord. (Psalm 38:12)
- Jeremiah was called the Weeping Prophet.
Yet as small boys we’re taught not to cry, with phrases like “Be a man” and “Man up.”
The message is that tears are for the weak… and tears are equated with being emotional.
So we stuff our emotions.
John Eldredge says that God designed men to be dangerous, to be heroes, warriors, and to live lives of adventure and risk. Again, David is a wonderful Biblical example of this. Yet traditional church does nothing more than pressure men to be a “nice guys.”
So we become passive.
We’re meant to be dangerous, passionate, alive!
Yet many of us are afraid to cry out to the Lord and be seen weak, fearful of raising our hand in church for fear someone think us a nutter.
So we sit stoically in our pews.
The tragedy in all of this is that our faith needs more than our physical attendance at church. Worship without emotion produces dead faith, a church full of bland admiration.
We aren’t called to think about God, to ponder his mystery like a Rubik’s cube. No, we’re called to love Him. And I can’t think of a deeper, more intimate emotion than love.
And the Bible doesn’t tell us to love God with our mind.
It doesn’t say we should praise the Lord in a calm and socially acceptable manner.
Jesus tells us exactly how we are to love God in Luke 10:27:
“He answered, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”
So, what do you do if your husband struggles to bring emotion into his relationship with Christ?
This is a tricky one, because what works for one guy isn’t going to work for another. But here are some things I’ve done over the years that helped me go from being a chair warmer to someone with his hands and heart lifted to the Lord.
- Give him the book “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge. Eldrege writes “The only way to live this adventure… is in an ongoing, intimate relationship with God.” You could even try reading it with your husband and discussing it.
- Try attending a church with a lively congregation. If you attend a church where the only emotion the congregation displays is during Bingo night, you can’t expect your husband to learn that God wants us to have an emotional, passionate relationship with him. (Warning: don’t go from a traditional service to a Charismatic one all in one leap – you’ll freak him out! Be patient here: it took me 10 years to go from Evangelical to Charismatic.)
- Let your husband know that it takes a strong man to show his emotions. And that you find that sexy. Yes, I used that word on my wife’s blog.
I may be banned.
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