Friday, August 05, 2005

50% Crap

My wife and I had an occasion to see a marriage counselor at one point in our marriage when we were having a little trouble relating. [: -)] One of the first things the counselor tried to explain to me was that people are human “beings” not human “doings”. Just like Jennifer’s reaction to my previous post, my reaction to this counselor was that she was full of crap. Now that I’ve had time to reflect on her counsel, I will admit she was about half right. About 50% of people, mostly female [for lack of a better word], are human beings, and about 50% of people, mostly male [for lack of a better word], are human doings.

Several years ago my family went to the home of a friend of my wife for a barbeque. My wife and her friend met through their health club and had gotten to know each other by talking about their children. I had never met the husband of the friend of my wife, but I was anxious to meet and talk to him. Ten minutes into our conversation, he invited me to go with him and his friends on a weekend canoeing and fishing trip. In effect, he was saying, “Our wife’s have a relationship, we should have a relationship, too.” However, my emotional reaction to his request was, “Hey buddy, I’ve only known you for ten minutes, I’m not ready for a relationship.”

Jennifer and anyone else who doubts my description of the difference between the typical male relationship and the typical female relationship can test what I am claiming at their church. Does a female have a relationship with the other women she only talks to at church? If you doubt me, ask your female friends. I’m betting most of them will say, "Sure, you must be kidding.” Does a man have a relationship with the other men he only talks to at Church. Ask your husband and maybe a few male friends. The ones who are honest will probably say something like, “No, we only talk to each other at Church.”

I apologize for taking so long to get to my main point. I have at least one more sub-point to make about male relationships in my next post before explaining how the Church needs to at least modify the way it uses the word “relationship”. Hopefully, however, our Churches will start to understand what relationships are to men and then do a better job of designing and executing ministries to actually make disciples of men.

7 comments:

Derek Simmons said...

Oh David: I don't know that you are a better man than I; but I know you are a BRAVER man than I am. [I discarded the use of the modifier "foolhardy" as too easily open to a pejoritive interpretation.] If you want to really lose sleep, ponder this: you are sounding like I did when I was your age. Have I gained wisdom in this area of ideology? No, just discrettion. And a wonderful 39year marriage. To one of the "other."
Your Brother in Christ,
Derek

Teresa said...

I get it now and you are so right! Men have "relationships", they are just more shallow. The "guys" that you hang out with, or talk to at church, you have a relationship with. They are just not the same as our relationships. Anyone you build regular conversation with, even the cashier at the grocery store...it takes men much longer to build deeper relationships and sometimes they never do (or they will not admit to it). Relation can mean "in relation to", a connection in someway to someone or some thing through something else, meaning that "the guys at work", "the guys at church"...of course you had not built a relationship with that guy who wanted you to go fishing, but as a woman, I might have felt that way too, although, as you said, women do not tend to have as many walls up. David--you are a typical "guy"!

David M. Smith said...

Hi Derek,

I am almost certain I am neither better nor braver than you. My obligation to my wife, and I think her obligation to me as well, is to tell the truth and maintain harmony in our marriage. There are times when harmony and truth conflict. I try to be wise in knowing when to keep my mouth shut. A wonderful 39+ year marriage is our objective, but of course I am still making mistakes and learning as a result.

On my blog though, there is not quite the same conflict. I want to always treat everyone who leaves a comment with respect, but my main goal is to be clear.

I still owe you a response to some of your previous very good comments. Please be patient. I’ll get back to Church Capitalism soon. It means a lot to me that you are looking over my shoulders here. Thank you.

Lisa Smith said...

Derek, I am curious how your wife responded and dealt with you when you sounded like David in your younger days. As his wife, I need some advice and wisdom. I know he respects your feedback greatly.

Jennifer said...

David, I'm so sorry I didn't respond to your response to my earlier comment until now. I haven't been back for a few days. My statement was a knee-jerk reaction without merit and I apologize.

Now, what I will say is this: I am not a typical woman. I do not have very many "relationships" with other women. I find a lot of females are catty and, well, downright bitchy at times. They love office politics and gossip. I am a "doer" - give me a list of what needs to be done and I'm on it. I don't fit in with most female groups. I never played with dolls, I don't paint my nails, and I couldn't care less about what brand of soap is in the church bathroom. So, I understand where you're coming from. But please remember that we're not all cut out of the same fabric.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Jennifer,

I have tried to be careful to not use any of the words “always”, “never”, “all”, and “none”. There are many females who are more like a typical male and many males who are more like a typical female when it comes to relationships. I’ve never had the sense that you are a typical female.

It is rare, but there are also some people who are proficient at relating both the male way and the female way. One of my best friends is a Chaplain in the United States Army. He is a mans man in every sense. He is tough, rugged, analytical, and precise, but he is also tender, compassionate, caring, and able to empathize with just about any woman. But like I said, he is very rare.

There are also some professions that require men to relate without doing. For example, men in the legal and sales professions have to form relationships prior to anything getting done. Perhaps men who are better at relating choose these professions, perhaps the men who choose these professions develop relational skills in order to be successful, perhaps some of these men are just plain phony.

I’m going to include a little about the “office” in my next post. No apology necessary. You did catch me a little off guard, but it forced me to continue to explain. I really do want to be clear more than I want others to agree with me.

Derek Simmons said...

Lisa:
Thanks for your observation and your question. Since my wife is less "public" about herself or us, I must be unnaturally reticent in my reply. Let me offer you this which you already know: it ain't easy. It isn't even always wonderful every moment. But, ah, there is beauty in the looking back. And, perhaps ironically, in the looking forward the older we get. Grandkids help.
In our lifetime, womens role in culture has changed rapidly, and rapid change is always unsettling to those who are changing and to those around them who are not. If I can end with something we've learned that has helped, it is this: that the cultural message "biology is not destiny" is a "true lie." We are designed to be different and to the extent that we paper over those differences we create problems bigger than those inherent in the differences themselves. It wasnt' so much that I needed to learn to see the world through female eyes, but rather I needed to learn that she saw things differently, and she wasn't by virture of that different perception, wrong. Or right.
Here's to you and David looking back over the lengthening vista of your life together and seeing the highlights clearly and overlooking the shadows.
Your Brother in Christ,
Derek