Monday, May 11, 2009

She Sawed His Legs Off...

I don’t know how many hundreds of times my father has come home from a meeting with a couple, married or planning to be married, who previously said to him that they wanted to make some changes in their lives, pursue their dreams and entrepreneurial options, only to hear Dad say when we asked how it went, “She sawed his legs off...” Or in other words she completely dishonored, disrespected, and deflated her man.

If I were to suggest any course of study to young ladies looking to be married one day, I would have to say that one of the priority employments of their time should be for the study of what inspires and motivates people; especially men.

Men start at a very young age to develop dreams, goals and desires for adventure and victory. It is a God given gift not only to them but also to you. His relationship with his calling in life, his vision, his dream, is one that will grow and change over the course of his life. It’s a fascinating thing to watch. Sometimes resembling a waltz, other times a monster truck rally. Whatever it is, we need to understand the critical nature of helping them maintain and nourish the relationship.

Unfortunately, women can be quite clumsy at times and really, honestly, all to readily take an axe to a man’s dream. They effectively cut his legs out from under him. Killing the very thing that motivates, energizes challenges and builds him into the man God has called him to be and become for that matter. It is as if there is an invisible umbilical cord between him and his dream. Whether he's your father, your brother, or even your brother-in-Christ, don’t sever it.

Some tips:

1. To be quite honest while there may be room for multiple dreams and goals in one family, but there really can only be one captain navigating the course to get there and to accomplish them. Paddling the opposite direction of the captain of the canoe without his permission will be noticed and he may very well stoke harder on his intended course. If you have a legitimate reason to request an alternate route do so. Often young women just take to paddling thinking that they’ll get somewhere. I have noticed however that when a MAN makes a decision a huge amount of progress is made for his whole family. His desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound is your asset here. Instead consider spending your time developing your communication skills. Learn how to speak reverently and cut to the chase and perhaps offer it in the form of a question. Learn when, why, and how to make an appeal. If he knows your intentions and they are trust worthy, then he won’t be threatened by what you do and he may see the virtue in them and invest in you interests.

2. Often women are not well acquainted with a man’s vision and dreams for their family's future. Others don’t understand why he’s going about it the way he is. And so they clumsily undermine his attempts to bring it to pass. Get better acquainted with him and his motives. Also, some women purposely and in effect use tactics that remind me of a dog shock collar. Lord have mercy on these men! If it’s you, ask yourself what is so important to you that you find it necessary to treat him so? Remember that the God of the universe considers him a likeness of His image and the crown and glory of creation.

3. Many women express unbelief in or about his expressed ideas and dreams. It may be a big vision in an infantile stage. Feed it and see where it goes. This is a faith issue. Develop the ability to see him as an instrument in the Lord’s hands. God may be birthing a vision within him. He may not have all the skills he needs to handle it. Encourage him and help him find a mentor that has already accomplished what he would like to accomplish.

4. Some women have a countenance that tells everyone around them their general and overall attitude is one of unhappiness, fear, anxiety, bitterness or anger. This may be viewed as a public announcement that he’s failing. Men so desire to make their women happy. They really do. He takes your sense of security into consideration and will lay down his most ambitious dreams for your happiness. Reassure him that you’re confident in him and because of his leadership. He’ll row harder, climb higher and become so incredibly gutsy you’ll almost not recognize him as the same man. Understand that when this happens, you have tapped into the source of motivation that will inspire you, your younger siblings, and those generally associated with your family. Can’t get anyone to do anything around the house? It could be they have a legless leader that doesn’t inspire them.

5. Be careful how “public” you speak of your family's financial situation. It’s a hint about a man's ability to provide and he'll take it to heart.

6. Keep in mind that you are going to be marrying a man, not his vision. He is the Lord’s. The Lord in His sovereign wisdom may fashion your future husband into someone you didn’t marry. Be willing to change as the men in your life change. If their vision changes, make sure yours does too.

7. Understand that men, be they brothers of fathers, are most often always in “the process of overcoming.” He is in the process of overcoming obstacles within him, whether it’s fear, anger, pride or what have you, and the obstacles between where he and his family are and where he wants to help lead them. Sometimes he’ll want to go it alone; probably more so with the inner obstacles. Statements like, “We need to talk about our relationship” can strike fear in hearts of some men. Let him deal with it on his own if he so chooses.

8. Every man is born wanting to lead, the world (i.e. public school system, liberal leftist agendas, even well-meaning Christians, etc.) want to keep that from happening. At times you will be the one voice that speaks in support of his leadership. Never miss an opportunity.

9. Don’t do his job for him. Don’t save him from his struggles. Struggles are designed to be a character building process. Don’t baby him.

10. If it seems like you’re not making progress toward your family's goals whether they are spiritual, issues of character, of finances, don’t start verbalizing the fact. Your father may be thinking over the matter and hasn’t figured out the solution or approach. A thousand suggestions aren’t necessary either though a few could be to some fathers. When he’s ready, he’ll talk. Be studied and ready to offer wisdom. If the vision hasn’t come together yet for him, enjoy the peaceful interlude and use it to store up energy, lay a groundwork of character in younger siblings and scripture in yourself. Get the house in order; get the children’s temperaments and attitudes in order. When a man gets a vision or a dream that he thinks will pull everything together it can be one wild ride. Be ready for it and enjoy the journey.

11. Keep in mind if he's launching out that the first phase of pursuing a dream is his testing phase. He's seeing if it will work and how it effects his family. Support him 100% any way you can. Make it an adventure! He may be doubting his abilities to succeed but no real man is going to come right out and say so. Watch for signs and when you see them, articulate to him why you think it will honestly work out, why you think he's capable. Even if it's, "You've always been able to think on the fly. You'll be good at this." Make sure you cover the giftings that God has given him, the character he has worked hard to establish, and his past successes amongst other things. If need be, make a joke about what the worst thing is that could happen and why you know he can handle it, improve on it and use it for a launch pad for further success. Take into account the circumstances he's dealing with honestly and how his giftings match the challenge. Pray for him and when he goes off to face the battle, wave good-bye with as confident an air as the day you gave him the account of your faith in him and the Lord's vision for him.

12. Men are battling a world that has low expectations of them, a world that doesn't see them as God sees them; doesn't see your man's willingness to be used of God to do great things. Quite often some of his closest friends will project to him, with their words or maybe with their attitudes toward him, that they don't take him seriously or see him as being capable. While we don't receive validation from people but God rather, understand that this is one of the greatest tests he'll face. When the people that he loves and respects haven't the faith to see who he is in Christ and what God is calling him to be, it's at this time that together you will have to stand alone on faith and against the popular opinion, sometime of the rest of your family. Help him protect the vision the Lord has given him and his calling in life. Together you can call to mind the work of the Lord in your lives, acknowledge that you may not be what you want to be, but you're glad you're not what you were. This is also a great time to account of the Lord's faithfulness to you in the past and thank him that He holds a multi-generational vision for the family and will make good on His promise to fashion you into what you need to be.

13. Always be willing to make him smile. He’s conquering the world for you and sometimes the tension may be incredibly high, mentally or emotionally draining. Be willing to show him hospitality and refresh his spirits. Getting into the thick of the problem with him doesn’t help him any. He’s already hashed it out and gotten nowhere or the stressful time period just hasn’t passed yet. Have a repertoire of jokes and shenanigans that he can’t resist laughing over. In the midst of his daily battles he’ll always look forward to spending sometime with you.

14. If he’s in business (or some vocation that is people oriented), your hospitality can be an excellent avenue for helping him with what I call “climate control”. People show up to meetings or gathering with all their problems, bad attitudes and axes to grind. Don’t join in and don’t run away from them. Learn to steer a conversation, dissipate the clouds, and cultivate a general over all perspective of hope and cheerfulness with clients, prospects or fellow business associates. A person with a good attitude is more likely to hear what he has to say. If there is a group of people present, one nasty attitude can ruin everyone’s opportunity. This takes storing up wisdom, understanding about where people are at spiritually, in their finances, what challenges they are likely facing generally, what is wrong with their worldview that would cause them to look and act like they were weaned on a pickle. Personally, this is my overall favorite challenge to face.

15. Show him deference in a group conversation. A man’s words and wisdom carry much more weight if his family stands behind every word he says. Discern the direction he’s going in conversation and his intention for saying what he’s saying. Don’t be critical of his delivery. Make sure that you don’t derail him from the direction he’s taking. Make sure to look at him reassuringly.

16. If he’s giving a talk or lecture your posture and attention means everything to him. Make sure you’re just as excited to hear his delivery the 100th time, as you were the 1st time.

17. Let him provide and give him a reason to. Some women try to carry part of the monetary burden when there’s no need to. Others have no need for anything. Often women think they’re helping the finances by going without essential needs. I’m not talking a French manicure but let him take care of you. They’ve both essentially robbed him of his motivation to pursue and develop a vision for making things come together for his family.

18. Understand that men lead men, men motivate men, and they make men better men. Your effort to lead him will only frustrate him, derail him and eventually if you succeed essentially debilitate him. If he doesn’t have a manly fellowship that he’s apart of, encourage him in that direction. If he does, help nourish the relationship. Also, understand that sometimes running with the “big dogs” can be a little rough. It may challenge him like never before. Your behind-the-scenes talk about that leadership and the heroes in his life can make or break his relationship with them.

19. Last but not least, radiate godly beauty because beauty motivates and inspires. Both inward and outward beauty that is. God designed beauty, defined beauty and called it good. If you’re in public the way you adorn yourself and beautify your self should honor him and speak volumes about him.

Recommended Resources:
Why Christian Manhood Must Prevail
The Manliness Collection
Passionate Housewives Desperate For God
The Wise Woman's Guide to Blessing Her Husband's Vision
The Excellent Wife Set
So Much More
Visionary Daughters
True Beauty


Katya said...

Thank you for this post. I am inspired to truly be a blessing to my man and build him up!

The Dischers said...

My mother sent a link to this post to all her daughters and grandaughters.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this article! You have concisely and effectively conveyed so many important principles. I have printed it off to re-read as needed :) Such a good reminder to keep my proper focus as a wife.

Thank you. God bless you ladies!

Beth Discher

Miss Kelly and Miss Andrea said...

Katya,Mrs. Discher...thank you so much for you kind words.

Though some would call us doormats, wimps and worse for practicing what we've shared here, it's our belief and experience that these ideals and standards are embraced by women of faith who exhibit much dignity, courage and strength. They are edifying not only for men and their dreams but also for women, fashioning them into great pillars in the faith. By these we are catalysts behind great ideals and pursuits that will shape the church of Christ present and future and our nation along side.

We are blessed to know you.

Haughstuff said...

LOVE this list!!! I've spotted a few I need to actively be working on!

Liselotte said...

This is insane and definitely not equality.

Melanie E. said...

Such a needed post! Thank you for the exhortation.

Jennifer said...

Paddling separately without his "permission"? Speaking reverently, and your comment that the man's decisions are always the best for the family. Wow.