I read the book “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge. It was so powerful. It really helped me understand and accept whole-heartedly how God made me to be: emotional, loving, wanting to be seeing as beautiful, wanting to be part of an adventure, wanting to be fought for… It was all starting to make sense. Getting the peace of mind that the thought of “I am too much, and not enough” was a lie from Satan. Always was. I highly highly recommend all women read it. There is so much understanding and peace to be had from that book.
So then, my next priority was getting my hands on “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. It is the guy version of “Captivating.” It is a deep, biblical exploration of how and why God created men.
Because of the truths Ethan found in “Wild at Heart” he has finally been able to start his healing process with the Lord, he finally recognizes the wounds and the lies that have been such a burden and a real setback in his relationship with Jesus. He finally understands why God made him with a fighter spirit, always wanting a worthy cause to fight for. He found peace in the fact that God didn’t create him to be a “nice, tame, Christian guy,” but a bold advocate for Him that lives a life of risk and triumph. He has grown more spiritually over the last month than in the last 2 years we have been together.
Here are some of the things about men that stem from the Bible and “Wild at Heart”:
1. Men crave adventure and/or danger – it is a desire God gave them, a way for them to come alive, and we, as women, need to accept it and even encourage them to experience it. It is good for their soul. It is a desire that, when fulfilled, enables them to be better, stronger, more devoted, more fulfilled men for us women. Guys, Ethan keeps talking about how he wants to hunt something that can hunt him back and come home to me wearing its skin. Before reading this book, I probably would have said “ew” or “that’s not fun for the animal, how would you like to be skinned?” But now, I understand that he craves adventure and danger – it is in his nature, God made men with the desire to challenge their strength. In accepting and trying to understand this, I have come to appreciate it. I’m starting to like the idea of him coming home to me wearing the skin of a wolf or something. Understanding this desire also shed light on why so many men love video games. It offers the adventure and even adrenaline rush (if the game is good enough!) without the danger or discomfort of leaving their home.
2. Men want a beauty to fight for – a lot of war movies, a lot of action movies, a lot of stories in general revolve around a man going to war with his love. The book uses the example of why men keep photos of their women with them when they go to war. So many boats, so many planes, so many jets, named after women. How perfectly they are wired so that a woman has a man to fight the battles she cannot handle alone. I have faced a lot of judgment, a lot of ridicule, a lot of harsh words as a single mom spreading the Christian message. Ethan has stood in between me and my oppressors when I was too broken and too weak from the wounds to fight anymore. Men are a blessing to women in this way, they are our emotional and spiritual protectors! And even in physical protection; it gives me so much peace when my daughter and I are with Ethan, no matter what we are doing, because his presence makes me feel safe. Even though he has told me before that he knows I could hold my own if it came down to it, I highly prefer the peace that his presence brings me. Also, with the understanding of this, came the understanding that some men, like mine, God designed with a fighter spirit. He is always talking about how he would die fighting to protect a child, Jesus, his faith, me, a woman being attacked… He has that spirit that is ready, willing, able to fight and die for those that can’t fight for themselves and for what he believes in. Rather than scold him on talking about fighting people, I’ve come to accept it, appreciate it, and I now see it as nothing but a blessing for others. The book also talks about how pornography has been a serious problem in men: it offers them the beauty without having to fight for it or work for it. It’s there, it’s readily available 24/7, it’s easy, it’s temporary. Pornography can also distort and pervert #7 below.
3. They want deeply to be needed – there was a point in my relationship with Ethan that I had told him “I don’t need you, but I want you.” At that point, I was afraid of idolizing Ethan and our relationship, and I thought that “setting this straight” would solve it. After a lot of praying, a lot of researching, and a lot of talking with friends and others more spiritually wise than myself, I realized I was terribly wrong, and that I cut Ethan deeply by saying that. Men need to feel needed. They want to play an essential role in our lives. They want to be leaned on in hard times, they want to provide when we are weak. If he is not needed, he is replaceable, he is unnecessary, he is just something that makes me smile. I sincerely apologized to him for this, and since then, I find myself opening up with more vulnerabilities and weaknesses that I can lean on Ethan to help me through. They want to see that we trust them with our needs.
4. Why men need affirmation from men AND affirmation from women for different reasons and The Wound – “Wild at Heart” talks about every boy’s primary question that can only be answered by other men (in particular their fathers): “Do I have what it takes, am I man enough?” I cannot tell you guys how many times I told him “you are a great man,” “God will use you for great things,” “you are so brave, so strong, for stepping into me and my daughter’s life,” “you are what I’ve always wanted in a man and more.” I could tell that hearing those things made him happy, and that he needed to hear them from me, especially after all the negative things he was told by his parents most of his life, but he kept coming back to hear them again and again and again. I started wondering, “Why does he doubt himself so much? Why does he need to hear my affirmation so frequently?” Then he realized that his question was answered: You are not enough, you are worthless, you are good-for-nothing. That permanently scarred him. Then one day, he was told how awesome he was by another man, and he came to me and told me how amazing he felt. I was offended! I said “I’ve been telling you that the last 2 years and all the sudden some guy says it ONE time and NOW you believe it?” Then he reminded me what the book said. Men need men to answer their question. ONLY men can bestow masculinity. Men also need affirmation from women, but for different reasons. The affirmation they get from us tells them that they are desirable and gives them someone to fight for that believes in them. Women cannot answer their question, but we can offer them motivation, encouragement, admiration, and loving words that build them up.
5. Men are called by God to be the spiritual leaders of the family – it is up to them to step up to it, and it is up to us, as women, to allow them and trust them. I will be the first to admit that I like to be in control, it is a sin tendency in all women, and it is something to be fought a lot of the times (God wants to be in control of all of our lives, men are called to be leaders of the household, men are called to be spiritual leaders of the family…). Ethan stepping into this role has been amazing. He has offered me so much wisdom about so many things, all I had to do was open up in weakness, and allow him to offer me his strength in the Lord.
“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
6. Men are called to be the head of the household – this one was especially tough for me to accept, since Ethan stepped into our lives after I had been in total control of all decisions regarding my daughter for the last year and a half. However, I have learned to loosen my grip, little by little, and trust Ethan with decisions. The more I trusted him with, the more Ethan feels valued, important, needed, and involved. A lot of times, he is right and just. A lot of times, he is my backbone, especially when it’s way past bedtime and my daughter tells me she wants to snuggle. He has shown me and proved to me that he is a trustworthy, wise, and amazing father. SO, I will continue to do this, and I cannot wait to see how much he flourishes as a father when we get married and are actually able to establish our own rules in our own home.
7. Sexual fulfillment and having a passionate love is a major desire – it’s hard because this is something I cannot fulfill for Ethan at this point, since we are not married. It is a desire wired in every man, and it is God-given, and it is a blessing within the covenant of marriage. I guess I will come back to this and elaborate after Ethan and I are married. All I can say now is that we as women, especially as wives, need to try to understand and respect this. I read in “Captivating” how scarring it can be for a man to reach out to his wife, wanting to satisfy her and satisfy his passion for her, only to be rejected because she has something else she would rather do. I’ve already promised Ethan I won’t do this, because he admitted that was a deep fear of his – to be rejected physically by his own wife. I never thought about it before I read the book and we talked about it, but it does make sense. A man that trusts his wife makes himself vulnerable, exposes a need, and is rejected. That would hurt. Badly.
8. Sin tendency in men vs. women – “Wild at Heart” and “Captivating” talk about these quite a bit. The sin tendency of women is to be controlling. The sin tendency of men is to become passive. This totally contradicts how God intended a household to be run and lead, and sadly, it is not uncommon today. We women like to be in control, we like doing things our way, and having them done our way if others step in to help. We run the house, we make the decisions, we call the shots. But then… that means the man isn’t the head of the household, so he has released his role, and then he steps down and just goes with the flow. He becomes passive. He doesn’t step in to make decisions, he isn’t actively involved in household decisions or in the lives of his wife/children, his opinion doesn’t carry much weight, his opinion is automatically overruled by the wife’s. I’m not saying that women can’t be right and men can’t be wrong, but I am saying that there are times for a woman to step in and fight for what she believes and there are times when we get out of hand in wanting to control every situation. This also feeds into the need in men to feel needed and essential (#3) as well as being spiritual and household leaders (#5, 6).
Reading “Captivating” and “Wild at Heart” was very enlightening for both Ethan and myself, and it really shed light on how masterfully God created man and woman. How perfectly God created both to be perfect compliments of each other in every aspect of life.
Another article about this here.
More Bible quotes about men being spiritual/household leaders here.