Friday, November 6, 2009

for women only (part 4) - insecurity

for women only:
you need to know about the inner lives of men
Shaunti Feldhahn

Chapter 3 - The Performance of a lifetime

(Why your Mr Smooth looks so impressive but feels like an imposter)*

A quick summary of her thoughts:
  • men feel insecure in most areas of life - work, abilities, at home - as a husband and father
  • while they often appear confident, they harbour doubts about their self-worth and ability to do the things that are required of them
  • the opinion and attitude of their wife makes a huge difference in either building up their confidence or assisting in tearing it down
So, she asks - what's a wife to do?
  • affirm him,
If a man knows that his wife believes in him, he is empowered to do better in every area of his life ... "It's all about whether my wife thinks I can do it. A husband can slay dragons, climb mountains and win great victories if he believes his wife believes that he can." (p67-68)
  • don't tear him down - many men feel unappreciated at home, which can result in withdrawal at home, or seeking affirmation elsewhere
  • supportive sex,
A man can be having a horrible time at work, rejection in his industry, and every other area can be going rotten - but if his wife want him physically and affirms him in bed, he can handle the rest of the world no problem. Conversely, if he gets the same imposter message at home ('You don't measure up. Don't touch me'), it will devastate him far worse than any career blow. (p72)
  • giving them confidence,
"I want my wife to know and understand my weaknesses, failings, shortcomings, and still want me. I need her to be my number one source of encouragement to become the man God created me to be." (p73)

Here are some thoughts about this chapter:
  1. I don't think women are any different, we also feel inadequate in many areas. I wonder if women feel inadequate in other areas perhaps - so less about work performance, and more about their ability to mother, or their appearance? Many women also feel like they are also not up to the tasks which they have taken on. For me, I still sometimes feel like I am pretending to be a mother - because I feel like I still really have no idea what I am doing.
  2. As Husband read this book, he felt there was a fine line in this chapter between being supportive of men and just encouraging them to be egotistical.
  3. If we to be taking affirmation of our husbands seriously, we probably want to be careful about what we affirm them in - our primary affirmation would be when they are godly, kind and generous, rather than in getting a promotion, etc. We want to affirm the things that matter. (not that affirmation in these other things is bad, just not primary)
  4. Perhaps all of us (men and women) need to be reminded that it is not what we do that matters, but who we are. We are God's children, saved by him alone for his glory. Our identity and feelings of worth come from our relationship with God and who we are in his sight, not what what we can or cannot do.

Some things to think about:

For men:

  • Do you personally agree with this chapter - do you struggle with insecurity and uncertainty over your job or abilities?
  • Is affirmation important to you?
  • Try to talk to your wife about these feelings and how she can encourage you.
  • Encourage your wife in the things she is doing.
  • Try to remember that your worth comes from being a child of God, not in what you do.

For women:

  • Are you an affirming wife? (Are you willing to ask your husband what he thinks?!)
  • How could you be more affirming of him?
  • Encourage your husband in the things he is doing.
  • Try to remember that your worth comes from being a child of God, not in what you do.

Next time: Part 5 - the need to provide

* please note, these are her titles and subtitles - not mine!

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