Monday, April 23, 2007

Glimpse into the psyche of a half-decent guy (for the ladies)

PREMISE: What follows all depends on whether you can imagine that I'm a half-decent guy. If you can't... well... maybe I'll post something of value to you later on. I move from there; whether you move with me is your call.

NOTE: this was written on April 13.

BACKGROUND: It's been another brain-frazzling week. I think I've managed a couple of posts at the Greek site, one at Pyro, and one here. Something like that.

Last night at Karate I re-injured my knee. I've been limping around since March 19, when I injured it dealing with four "assailants." It's taking me forever to get into the doctor's office. Meanwhile, I've re-injured it three times now, just doing normal things. (What did it last night wasn't actually any Karate move; it was just the reckless, wildeyed, irresponsible act of turning around. Yeah; getting older is great!)

So I'm hobbling around in my house with a cane. My wife very sweetly went out to get me a leg brace. So I go to my pc to check a couple of things, one of them being the Pyro blog. On that blog, I see this sweet post from Phil, wishing Darlene a happy birthday.

I was glad to see it. Usually, Thursday is one of "my" days at Pyro, but I really didn't have anything in my brain worth giving, so I was happy to see Phil posting a couple of times. And I think it's about Frank's turn, perhaps to go on with his promised series on apologetics. So I was a bit relieved — because, as I said, I didn't have anything. Besides, it was about bedtime, and there wouldn't be any time to do anything, anyway. Bedtime for me is a firm time, since I have to get up at 3:30am.

But then I see this:

Ay yi yi.

Oh boy, so what do I do? I had nothing. My brain is an empty coffee can, without the nice aroma.

I looked where I keep my under-development posts. Is anything ready to go, or close to it? Ohh, wonderful. Nope. Nothing.

So what do I do?

Well, I think very highly of Phil. His confidence in me means a lot to me; it matters to me. He's depending on me to come up with something. He's trusting in me to deliver.

So I take a breath, I pray, and I start thinking hard. Then I come up with something, off the cuff, on the spur of the moment. I typed fast and furious last night, then woke up at my usual time, and finished it this morning.

Why? Because Phil expressed confidence in me. That it was so public honestly didn't matter at all. It would have been the same in an email, a phone conversation. He was trusting me to come through for him. He honored me. I had to deliver. (Whether what I came up with is any good is for God and you to decide.)

"And this is 'for the ladies,' how, exactly?" Every woman will have some sort of tension with her man. She'll have some desire to dominate him in some way (Genesis 3:16), to disrespect him. He won't live up to every one of her expectations. He won't conform to her will in every regard.

So, what to do?

I'll put this positively, for whatever degree I'm representative of my species.

What gets the most out of me? Respect. Trust. Confidence. When someone expresses confidence in me, shows trust, shows respect, that is when I feel the most driven to give 110% or more. Both of my bosses at work have done so recently, and it really made me want to justify that confidence. And that's just my bosses. The more a person means to me on a personal level, the greater the effect. It unerringly has that effect when my dear wife gives me a "You'll do great"-type pep-talk, for instance, before a challenging situation. Her confidence and trust mean more to me than any other mortal's.

I think all at-least-half-decent men are basically the same. Trust spurs them to do more. By contrast, expressions of mistrust, disrespect, evil-eyed suspicion are likelier to tear down, dishearten, and crush men. Or if they're absolutely convicted that they're on the right course, they have to dig in their heels and grimly trudge on (to mix metaphors). But they're less likely to be hearing a critic who has already so severely misjudged them.

Isn't this along the lines of what Peter says in 1 Peter 3:1ff.? Remember, he's talking about a situation of actual sin. And in such a situation, he doesn't encourage the wife to tear her husband apart with her sharp tongue, nor to berate him, disrespect him, unman him, rip him to shreds. No, he urges her to shush, and show him quiet, devoted respect. (Read a lot more about that here.)

And that is in cases of sin — which, if we're honest, isn't where most marital friction arises.

For a half-decent man, do what Peter says. Express respect, trust, confidence. As far as you honestly can, cheer, don't boo. Build (Proverbs 14:1), make him feel like a king (Proverbs 12:4). The Proverbs 31 lady's husband didn't end up in the gates with the Big Dogs, by his wife telling him what a loser he was. It was because he could trust her goodwill towards him completely (31:11-12).

Be your husband's cheering section. A half-decent man will knock himself out living up to it.


ann said...

Dan, would you plesae never never never say that you have nothing to write about, ok?

It was a GREAT post!
And I have seen the light. Thank you!

Kim said...

What a great post!

I'm lucky; all I need to do is make rice pudding and my husband smiles for days.

I learned the hard way that when I express doubt in my husband, he figures there's no pleasing, so why bother. Showing trust and confidence does indeed work much better.

Connie said...

Great post, Dan!

We do quite a bit of pre-marital counseling and this matter comes up over and over again--respect, trust, confidence. It's especially difficult for the young women as they are in the process of "transferring" these responses from dad to husband--who is still quite young and wet-behind-the-ears. Some are even in the process of learning and developing these responses since they have been greatly influenced by a worldly/feministic view.

I'm humbled and oh so grateful that God has given me a man who makes it so easy for me to respect, trust, and have confidence in him. Yet there are times when I sinfully withhold those responses.

This post was encouraging--yet humbling and convicting.

Daniel said...

The Proverbs 31 lady's husband didn't end up in the gates with the Big Dogs, by his wife telling him what a loser he was.

There is a certain poetry in the way you have worded that, that I like.

The Borg said...

It would be great to be able to spur a man on his course with encouragement, if he actually took a course... hang on... maybe I'm not being encouraging? What do you do here?

Annette said...

Good post. I have found this true in my own marriage as well.

DJP said...

The Borg. Good question.

Flippant answer: you're just going to assimilate him, anyway... so what difference does it really make? (c;

Serious answer: Obviously I can't answer without knowing more. That's the unavoidable down-side of writing a post instead of a fourteen-volume set: generalization is unavoidable. That's why I stipulate the titulary half-decent guy.

Does a husband seem indecisive? Maybe he only seems that way, but is actually obsessively deliberate.

Or maybe he's been worn down by the experience of most of his decisions being second-guessed, faulted, countermanded, bypassed, overridden? Or maybe his imperfect decisions are always made much of, and his great decisions ignorand and/or quickly forgotten? Maybe it's simpler (and safer) to test the wind before he dares to try anything too bold?

Or maybe he only perceives it that way.

Or maybe he perceives it that way, and is half-right.

Or maybe it is a genuine character-flaw, period.

Whatever the specifics, I'm convinced that what the Bible says is (A) the only right way to do it, (B) because it is God's way, and (C) thus it also is the best suited to the way men are built.

Give the best insight , suggestions and input you've got to give; express your full confidence; outdo everyone else in expressing admiration; make much of the victories and less of the failures; back his play to the best of your ability.

These are some of the best ways, imho, of applying Biblical principles and doing what you can to your husband be the man God made him.

RodeoClown said...

Hi Dan, my blog didn't link back to your post, so I'm doing it manually.

110%. Or More!.

RodeoClown said...

Hmmm, apparently it did.

Just took a little while I guess...

Diane said...

Dan, that was a great post. I wrote those three things down, and copied part of your post at Pyro, and sent it to myself so I won't forget them.

There is a book I'm hoping to get for my birthday, or Mother's Day, called Helper by Design, by Elyse Fitzpatrick. TheBorg might find that helpful also.

Rosesandtea said...

Thanks for this. I needed to read it.