Oh good grief! I say this with all good humor, but surely there must be a suitable word for doing things like giving advice to people about how they shouldn’t give advice? Or perhaps in the modern vernacular, mansplaining what mansplaining is?
So it is that I read Pastor Wilson’s post, “On Loving Her, On Respecting Him,” and tried to think of a good word that really captures the essence of that particular irony, but to no avail.
Flat out, I’m going to just start using Pastor Wilson in a series of posts called “don’t be that guy.” Maybe we can glean some wisdom from his errors.
Let’s just take this one paragraph of his, “And she says, “You’re not listening.” But he was listening, very carefully, and when he saw what the trouble was, he took out his respect wallet, and tried to pay the bill. But when women have a trouble, their first need in that trouble is to find a companion. Not a solution, a companion.”
These things are somewhat true and yet what proceeds next is an entire post…….written by a fixer tryin to fix it! Worse, an obstinate, hard-headed, hard-hearted fixer trying to fix it. What did the woman say? She said, “you are not listening.”
So how do you “fix” a situation where someone is not being heard and telling you, “you aren’t listening?”
You listen! Crazy I know, but that actually is why God gave us two ears and only one mouth. We’re supposed to be listening twice as much as we are talking.
We are really supposed to be listening when the one we are supposed to be listening to is actively telling you, “you are not listening.”
The very last thing you should ever do is proceed to launch a long and complex lecture about how women don’t respect men, the gory details of Carol’s outburst at a wedding reception, and the nature of sin. You don’t then assign homework that seems to fall exclusively on Carol, the wife who now apparently needs to not only fix herself, but to fix her disrespectful, unloving, and deaf husband, too!
Also, the two of them writing to the pastor and the pastor’s wife respectively is……well, really weird. Creepy. Inappropriate. That’s not “counseling.” I don’t even know what that is? Some strange 3 way emotional blackmail scheme and power play perhaps?? Regardless, any shepherd worth his salt should know better than to play that game.
Although I must say, such a scenario sounds like a really good opening for a novel, maybe a psychological thriller…..
Here’s some tough meat for the unheard, unlistened to wife, “Carol.” Some hard to swallow truth, but it’s vastly superior to Wilson’s cheap Christian knock off, all infused with woman blame and magical thinking. It’s a painful truth to confront, but a bit like pulling a band-aid off quickly, it will save you tons of misery down the road.
No one is ever going to listen to me. You know why? Disrespect. Complete and total disrespect. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’ve been walking this path for many years. And when I say “no one,” I really just mean “most people.” I do in fact have some kind souls who lend me their ear, but for the most part, welcome to being a wife and mother. Welcome to being a wife, mother, and a woman.
Absolutely no one is ever going to listen to you. You might as well be talking to the darn wall. I’ve often compared myself to a girl trapped behind a sheet of plexiglass. This is not a pity party or a great feminist statement or something, it’s simply the truth. It just is what it is. Most men are not going to listen to you, because they will either feel compelled to compulsively show off their great fixing skills in a display of masculine peacockery, or else they will presume you’re such an idiot, that any solutions to life problems would never have even occurred to you.
Most women are not going to listen either because frankly they just don’t care, they are totally self-absorbed by their own problems, or worse, they perceive you as competition, as some kind of threat to their own social status.
God bless those rare souls who will simply come alongside you and say, I care. I fully trust that the Lord will lead you in this matter, and I’m here to encourage you. Cherish those people, they are very rare.
Carol, you’re trying to put your husband where only Jesus belongs. Your contempt, resentment, and offense, is valid and justified. You have needs that are not being recognized, not being heard, and not being fulfilled. Worse, the idiotic fool you married has now ran to his pastor like a scared little crybaby needing back up and reinforcements. I don’t even know the man, but my Respect O Meter just sunk down into the cool and frigid mercury, along with all sexual desire, I might add.
Wilson is living in a fantasy land. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can conjure up “respect” ex nihilo. You can’t just poof “respect” for him into existence. Also, it will do absolutely no good anyway because the man never listens to what you say. You need to start by respecting your own self. Your needs and expectations are completely valid, in fact they are hard-wired right into you. They are designed to lead you to the Lord. Jesus knows not only the secret desires of your heart, He knows how to listen, too.
Read he Bible, read of all of His interactions with the women. Not once does He ever try to “fix it.” The woman at the well, the adulteress about to be stoned, the woman with the issue of blood, the lady of the crumbs, every last one of those interactions involves a question. You know what a question is? An invitation to a conversation, an invitation to be heard.
An invitation into relationship and intimacy. Into Me See.
Let your ears hear the sweetness of those words He says, there’s no judgment there, no lectures, no interrogation, no fixing, just a simple, “I invite you to show me your heart, to share your story with me.” “Woman where is your husband?” He’s not seeking an answer, He’s engaging her in a conversation.
Jesus knows us, Jesus hears us, and Jesus listens. He listens and He meets our needs. He won’t try to fix anything, He’ll simply offer His comfort, His wisdom, His mercy, and shine a light on the path before you. Put Jesus first in your life, and in your marriage. Make Him your Number One. He will adore you, cherish you, and listen to you. The more you allow Him to pour His love and respect all over you, the more you’ll have to give away to other people.
Did you know Jesus respects women? He totally does, it’s written all over those pages in the bible, He respects women in a way that is so beautiful, that is so Divine, that is just in such sharp contrast to how so many earthly men often cannot or will not.
Including some pastors. I’ll just pour mercy, grace, and forgiveness, all over that matter. We all have our issues, we’re all works in progress. Just the same, you’ve got a husband that won’t listen to you and a pastor plumb full of woman blame who not once thought to point you to Jesus Christ??? Wowsers.
Also, your pastor was blathering on some nonsense about having checked on your husband’s good reputation. Here’s how I feel about reputation, Carol. Of all the riculous, dog whistle, false flags, red flags of all Christiandom, that’s the biggest one. It’s also psychologically abusive. It’s specifically intended to make you doubt your own perceptions and to fear what the neighbors might think of you.
That’s a heaping, helping, huge serving of contempt and outright disrespect being dumped on you. You need to place your eyes on the One who heals, the One who will pour so much love and respect all over you, that in the overflow, in that bursting pot of Divine abundance, you will be empowered to share some of the excess love with Sir Allen the Nimwit.
Contempt always stems from our own failed expectations, from disappointment when people let us down. People let us down when we try to get them to meet the needs that only Jesus can. You will go crazy long before you ever manage to change your husband…. or your pastor. Don’t accept such cheap substitutes, such flawed leadership, go right to the top, to the very best there is, to the King of the Universe.
Don’t let those churchian lunkheads sell you short. The King of the Universe says you are the apple of His eye. The very song on His lips is, let me love you as you should be loved.