It was our monthly John Wayne movie night, and as I sat watching “The Cowboys” with some of the guys from my church, my phone rang. Answering it, I heard my wife sobbing as she asked me to hurry home because our little dog Midge had been carried away by an owl.
Being the man in charge, I asked one of my friends to finish the evening for me and to lock the church when the movie ended. My kids were babysitting the kids of some of the men watching the movie, and I went to tell them what had happened before leaving to go be with their mom.
This night came a few months after the death of our youngest son, and the loss of Midge was more than my bride could bear at the moment. As I entered the living room, Cheryl was in tears, and quite beside herself. I did my best to console her, not really knowing what to do, I hugged her, telling her it would be alright, but my words felt hollow and ineffective. I felt I should’ve done more, but didn’t have a clue what it should’ve been.
Truthfully, I’ve felt this way on more than one occasion. For all the years we’ve been married, I still don’t know how to respond to my wife when she is upset. My initial inkling is to get in there, identify the problem and fix it. But when I do this, it usually makes matters worse.
There is a term in sailing called “uncharted waters”; which just means an area which has not been recorded, or located on a map, or plan. There is an area in women’s souls which this perfectly describes. It’s this need for you to hear what she says, listening to her heart and supporting her without trying to fix anything. And navigating these waters can be treacherous and scary, regardless of how many times we enter them.
I’ve had this discussion while leading small groups over the years, and all of the ladies I’ve talked to have told me the same thing; we don’t want our husbands to fix our problems, we just want them to be present and to listen. Jason Headley made a great video which illustrates what I’m saying, check it out:
It’s Not About The Nail
Believe me; this one thing about women baffles me. I mean I really have no clue about understanding this process they go through, nor why it means so much for me to just listen. For me, I want to isolate the problem, and then fix it. I am learning however, regardless of how I think the situation should be resolved, now I try to just keep my mouth shut and let Cheryl talk, really listening to what she is saying.
The bottom line here is if something is important to her, then it should be important to me. Even if I don’t understand why it’s important, it’s her heart I’m trying to care for, and if this means listening to her talk about the nail and not trying to figure out how to fix it, then so be it.
Really guys, if we are going to love our brides the way they need us to, we have to go into these uncharted waters from time to time, even if it terrifies us.
Living an honest and transparent life…