Friday, November 12, 2010

The Language of Love -- November 12, 2010

 The Friday entries of The Powder Room, called  The Language of Love, will be dedicated to communication between husbands and wives, viewed through the context of the Scriptures. 
Friday, November 12, 2010
Have you ever wondered why Satan sought out Eve to tempt rather than Adam?  Or why the Lord made a point of telling us "the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field. "

 Satan is a creature of nuances and subtleties.  He tempts best by using an indirect method, dancing around the truth, distorting it, discoloring it.  Or as one very wise young man once told us, "Satan makes wrong things seem right and right things seem wrong."
This is an important concept to understand because women are also creatures of nuances and subtleties.  Women can tell more from a conversation by what is not said than by what is.  We can judge body language and the nuances of inflection, the tilt of a head, the slight pause before a phrase.  Especially when communicating with other women, we can almost seem to read each others minds.   It is no wonder Satan sought out the woman, whom he could read "like a book" and play like a hand of cards.
Satan is no less at work in our marriages today than he was in Adam and Eve's.  He uses the same subtle tactics, and like it or not, he still tends to favor tempting the woman first.  If he can put the root of bitterness and dissatisfaction in the woman, he has just about won the battle, not just for the woman, but for the whole family.
By destroying the woman's ability to or desire to communicate with her husband, he has crippled that Christian marriage.  You see, men are do not speak the language of nuance.  They are direct. They tend to speak what they think and think what they speak.  This is men-speak.
As wives, we don't know how to speak "direct", so we give our husbands hints, sure that they will see the trail of hints and be led to figure out what is really upsetting us.  We skirt around issues and send out subtle signals.  This is women-speak. We think the signals are as clear as emergency flares, but our husbands don't understand vague hints and signals.  In fact, they often don't even realize we have given any signals or hints at all.  As our frustration grows, and our anger mounts, finally we decide there is no other option but to just tell our husband what is wrong.  Only now we are mad, and we communicate that very clearly.  Our husband, blind to all the hints that went before, is wondering just what it is that has "suddenly" made us so mad.  Why are we "so sensitive" all the time? (And we all know how well we take that particular question, don't we?)
If our husband was French, and barely spoke English, we would be sure to explain things very clearly and directly to him in a way he would understand.  Yet, how often do we avoid speaking clearly and directly to our husband about the things that bother and upset us the most?
For years, it has bothered me immensely when my husband would leave the windshield wipers on after the rain had stopped.  I hated the sound the wipers made scraping across the windshield.  I might say something like, "The rain has stopped."
He would probably answer in the affirmative, but not touch the wipers.  Eventually, I got to the point I would reach over and turn the wipers off myself.  I thought that would surely that would show him how I felt about the wipers staying on.  No, it just meant that every time I had to turn the wipers off myself.  When I finally told him that the sound bothered my ears and I hated to hear the wipers on when there was no rain, he began to make a point to turn the wipers off.  He never had a clue before that (even though I had given him plenty!) that it was an issue with me.
Just as women don't speak "direct", men don't speak "subtlety".  This means that when they have something to tell us, they just tell us.  Often our sensibilities, used to the nuances of feminine conversation, are offended by the directness of man-speak.  We think they are being rude, or brusque, we can even get our feelings hurt.  This is one reason why some women would rather spend time with their girlfriends than their husbands.  If this is you, or you think this may be you, I can assure you that the Lord intended your husband to be your greatest friend and companion.  Our relationship to our husbands is a portrait to the world of the relationship between Christ and the Church.  If you find you would rather be with your girlfriends than your husband, first confess that to the Lord and ask His forgiveness.  Then, ask the forgiveness of your husband as well.  Ask the Lord to redeem and repair the relationship with your husband and give you back the friendship and closeness you once shared.
Men are not only direct, they have a habit of teasing each other as well.  It is one of the greatest compliments they pay to their man-friends.  But it doesn't work with women. . .we get our feelings hurt too easily.Even if we appear to join in the teasing, we tend to take the teasing seriously (remember, we tend to think there is more to what is said that the obvious.)
Because we are not fluent in men-speak, and because we are so used to reading more into a conversation, we automatically think there is more to what our husbands are saying than there actually is.  If he tells me he doesn't like my blouse, I assume he doesn't find me attractive anymore.  When in reality he was just saying he didn't like my blouse.  But remember we have that enemy who wants to convince us that our husband feels and thinks things which are not true.  I can almost hear his temptation now, "Hath your husband said he finds you attractive?  But he did say he didn't like that blouse!  You see, he doesn't like the way you look anymore."
The Apostle Paul warned us, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Corinthians 10: 4,5).  We must actively seek to bring all our thoughts and imaginations into captivity -- not let them roam around, but bring them under obedience to Christ.  The battlefield for our marriage and our family begins in our own minds.  Our very thoughts about ourselves, our marriage and our spouse must be thoughts that agree with what the Scriptures say and the will of the Lord Jesus.
Next week we will look at two important things we should be saying in our marriages.

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