They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I wish it were that simple…Even if I could cook, which I can, but don’t because…well, keep reading.
Lately, I’ve become intent on finding the right formula that would result in the perfect marriage (for all the single folks out there, this applies to you too). Relationships are hard, single, married or other, and maybe you’re like me and found yourself saying your life anthem sounds a lot like the tune of a Rolling Stones song. Truthfully, I don’t have any easy answers, but I do think I’ve found a few gems along the way, and maybe they’ll be enough to get you singing a new tune…hey, hey, hey, that’s what I say.
“Dying to self” is a phrase I’ve come to know well. “Living in Joy” is one I’m hoping yet to discover more fully. Time will tell…but for now, I’m hoping to share here and through subsequent blogs what I have learned, so just maybe, you won’t have to struggle for as long as I did.
Men are actually pretty simple. I don’t say it condescendingly but as a matter of fact. I once asked the Lord to show me the heart of men and He replied quite sincerely, “It’s just like a woman’s only different and a little less complicated.” I know right!?! Getting answers from the Almighty One can be just the opposite at times. Without getting too entrenched into the theology of men and women in Scripture, I would like to point out two things: Woman was taken out of man, meaning the feminine was made distinct from the masculine. (See Genesis 2:22-23) In short: man and woman are separated on purpose. Second, it is the intention of the Creator that they learn to live together, and not to just co-exist but rather to rule and to reign, together (Genesis 2:24).
My journey into Waking Eve has come largely from this desire to know what that looks like, ruling and reigning together. I’ve gone through the rabbit hole of “what if” scenarios like what if Adam had been more pro-active in the Garden, what if men would just be more like women, what if women would just be more like men, and always, always, I come back to this one reflection: because we were separated.
Ironically, My life, like so many other women I have come to know, was becoming the physical expression of a woman trying to be everything else except a woman. We are women who are trying to date like a man, trying to work like a man, trying to be married like a man, trying to do life like a man, but there was just one problem: I could never find satisfaction like a man. And, the reason why is because I’m not a man. I am a woman.
Men are quite easily satisfied by three things in life, respect, companionship, and sex. Quite frankly, these three things alone just do not satisfy me as a woman. More on that later…
Deep down, what I’ve been craving is actually affirmation that it is okay for me not to be satisfied by those same things which satisfy a man. All those years I thought I was fighting for the right to be me I was actually fighting for the right to be someone else. What I needed was for someone to say, it’s okay to be a woman.
If we are ever to have hope of being made perfect together, we have to learn to be comfortable being man and woman, together.
How grateful I became when I realized my ability to be deeply satisfied in life, to love and be loved, is not dependent on my ability to act like a man but rather, my ability to act like a woman. And, herein lies the challenge, how do we be wholly feminine and enjoy the satisfaction of our own desires, while learning to satisfy the desires of a man, which at times are completely contrary to our own. And, this is the reason I don’t cook…
Even if I were a gourmet chef, I could never cook well enough, frequently enough to satisfy my husband’s appetite. The same goes for his sex drive, not even unlimited platinum plus funds on that sexy little pink credit card could satisfy some men’s appetites. And then there’s the shoulder to shoulder time, honestly, I sometimes wonder if women have gotten a bad rap in the gossip corner. Some of my male friends have loser lips than Wiki-leaks and the National Inquirer combined, but that’s for another time, another story. My point is this, our deepest desires in life, that longing in our hearts to be fully satisfied, is not for a man to fulfill, and likewise, not for a woman to fulfill in a man’s heart. Why? Because that satisfaction can only come from one place, the One who made us. Remember, in the beginning, we were separated. Why do we separate anything except that we can distinguish between them. Separation pulls apart what once was blended together, to more clearly regard uniqueness. God wanted to love us wholly by celebrating us apart, so that we could learn how to…come together. Now, that’s starting to sound like a different tune!
Still not following? Ask anyone with more than one child and they will tell you that the best way to get to know their children is one-on-one. Together, they may make up a household of 4 but get the children by themselves, take one on a daddy night and the other on a mommy night, and you will see parts of them that are distinctly different and present to you that you cannot see when they are together among their siblings. There is something to celebrate in their distinction from one another. And it’s that distinction that we are trying to keep even when we come together. Your individuality is actually more expressed in reflection to those around you. An apple doesn’t know it’s an apple until it’s standing next to an orange, so to speak. Unity is not about equality in the sense that the world defines it today. Equality is not sameness. Unity is not about becoming the same. Unity is about letting each other be distinctly different, and then learning to live together, to rule and reign.
I don’t know about you but this realization made me extremely happy. I’ve spent countless hours reading self-help books and blogs from other women encouraging me to meet my husband’s deepest needs by focusing on him. They would have you believe that by changing your focus from yourself to meeting the needs of your spouse, he will respond by loving you back. I believe they all meant well by their advice, and it probably worked for some women for reasons I will explain in a moment, but there’s a fundamental flaw in this approach that makes it fall very short of the hope it promises. The flaw is that it’s “him focused” and not “Him focused.” Did you get that? The flaw is that it focuses you so much on changing your habits and desires to fit “his” needs that you’re not actually meeting your husband’s desires. Remember what I said above, you cannot satisfy him. You will never satisfy him. There is only One person in all the universe that will satisfy your husband, so if you’re intent is actually to meet that need, then you need to get focused on satisfying God, you need to get “Him” focused. I believe this is why such flawed approaches appear to work for some, somewhere in pursuing the relationship with each other, one or both partners made that connection and began listening to God’s desires for their spouse. And even more important, they started listening to God’s desires for their self.
So when I think now of what satisfies my husband, I do not attempt to meet his desires out of a false sense of identity, believing they are my own, nor do I try to make them my own, but rather, I try and meet his desires because I recognize in partnership with God that those desires are actually his, and that’s totally okay. And, because I have chosen to rule with him and reign over this Kingdom on earth next to him, I get to choose each day to help him be wholly himself, and if he is a godly man, then those desires should reflect a man pursuing after God’s heart. Does he have to rise to that challenge of his own accord? Absolutely! I cannot live his life for him. He must make the decision each day to rise and meet me also. He has to decide how he will rule. But I get to decide how I will rule too. It’s not up to him to make me a queen. Every morning I rise to meet the dawn, I am claiming my authority to rule where I am, as I am, a woman in the land. Every time I look to my desires, it is up to me to see them satisfied, and if I am a godly woman, then I know confidently my desires will be satisfied because I am a woman pursuing after God’s own heart. Does this mean that sometimes my husband satisfies them and sometimes he does not? Absolutely! But it’s still up to me to see them fulfilled. It is not his place to rule over me. For we are no longer under the curse, but freed in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:13). This is powerful stuff here, read again Genesis 3:16. I no longer have to look to him to rule over me, nor do I have to concern myself with chasing after his desires. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, woman gets to be woman again! She is free to seek after the desires of her heart alone. And if one day, my husband’s desires should mirror my own, then, well, I guess my heart will have met with joy overflowing, and his stomach will be full too!
As much as the Scriptures are about dying to one’s self, we must remember too what came after Jesus’ death was a rising into one’s self. Without the rising, we are still buried in the grave. Christ did not come to give us freedom in the grave, he came to give us freedom from it. It’s time to arise and awake to the fullness of who we are as both men and women, wholly distinct, separate, together. It’s time to exchange the ashes of dissatisfaction for beauty and joy. It’s time to rule and to reign. It’s time to sing a new song!
Next up, just what DO women desire? Stay tuned…