I saw it again on Twitter this week, the same thing I saw again and again when I spent my days as a marriage counselor. Another husband was perplexed by the confusion over what his wife said she needed, as compared to what he thought she needed.
“I will never understand”, this tweet lamented, “why trying to solve my wife’s problem for her is actually the wrong thing to do.”
Such a common point of pain and misunderstanding between the genders, and it all comes down to seeing. Convincing a husband not to “solve his wife’s problem” is one of the hardest things in marriage counseling. In reality, what a good counselor is doing is helping the husband to re-define what “the problem” really is.
I commonly begin every one of our freedom classes with the prayer that Paul prays for the church in his brilliant letter to the Ephesians. “Lord, open now the eyes of our hearts…” I pray this because so often the eyes of our heads can give us right information in wrong ways, and we remain stuck. This is the dilemma between husband and wife, and this is often the dilemma between the Bride and The Bridegroom. One is looking with the eyes of their hearts, while one is looking with the eyes of their eye sockets. Both see the same thing, yet they see completely different dimensions.
The husband looks and sees “the problem”. A pipe has burst. A co-worker is agitated. A car or an appliance is not working correctly. A good husband will look through the eyes of his head, and set a conversation and a course of action to resolve the problem as his eyes have defined it. What if “the problem” is insecurity, and the co-worker has simply illuminated it? What if “the problem” is a sense of insignificance and the broken gadget just provoked that sense? In other words, what if the “the problem” is really the human condition, the state of our hearts; and the temporary circumstances of our life simply surface the battle for truth about our eternal self? We can move toward the broken pipe and away from the human heart. We can attend to strategy while ignoring pain or fear. We can give an answer and never give our hearts.
Husbands and other earth-residents, above everything else tend to the heart, because from it, flow the issues that are eternal about our life. In every circumstance at least two matters arise. The circumstance and whatever response it necessitates is one matter. But a primary and certainly eternal matter is what I believe, how my heart responds, how I feel about you and I experiencing this matter together.
To tend to the heart you must first see through they eyes of your heart. When you look through these eyes first, everything and everyone will look different.
For more on this see the post Incarnate Love