As a kid, my favorite toys were Legos. Half the fun was building these toys with my dad before I got to play with them. I had a gas station with two-level parking garage, a police station, a police boat that actually floated, medieval knights and castles; I had it all. I really think Legos are some of the best toys out there for boys. They teach boys the joy that comes from building something and they also are great for the imagination, because there is room for creativity. There are Legos of every type. Even Star Wars Legos (which I have to admit, if my wife would let me, I would buy now)!
Now that I'm all grown up (at least I act like it most days), I still love building things. I built my computer from scratch in college (with a little help). Since becoming a homeowner, I've installed light switches, ceiling fans, ceiling lights, door handles, etc. My favorite furniture store is IKEA. Want to know why? You have to put everything together (plus it's cheap)! I get a thrill out of fixing and building things.
I also love tools. Tools help me fix and build things. New tools are really cool. Because new tools open up the door to fixing and building new things. One of the reasons I really love my father-in-law is that ever since I married his daughter, he's been buying me tools for christmas and birthdays. I'm a lucky dude.
However, I've noticed this tendency in me to try and use this "build it/fix it" mentality on every aspect of my life. I am quite sure most men do this. And when you're dealing with your wife, this will exacerbate more problems than it fixes. Why does this happen? Well men, I'm about to tell you something earth-shattering. Your wife doesn't even remotely think like you. I know, it's very shocking. Feel free to take a moment and collect yourself. I'll wait.........................
When your wife comes to you with a problem, she does not want you to fix it. Granted, there may be an issue that she has with you (like not taking out the garbage...she wants you to fix that), but when she shares something about her, something from her heart, she shares for a totally different reason and from a totally different perspective. When I tell my guys about something, it's because I want information to be exchanged so that I can solve a problem. I don't email my guys just to talk. Women are not like this. They share, not to exchange information, but to develop intimacy. Understanding this and applying this knowledge will save you from making a huge category error. To approach your wife from a "build it/fix it" mentality when she's approaching from an intimacy mentality will cause bad communication and ultimately hurt feelings. The danger is that your wife will withdraw from you completely because you do not respond as she needs you to. You're always trying to fix her, rather than love her. You'll look for tools to help you do it. Books, videos, sermons...the search will continue and even if you find something that might be helpful, your wife will not receive it that way. And that's your fault. Instead of encouraged, she'll feel beat down. She opened up to for the sake of intimacy and instead gets a cold, soul-killing fix for her "problem". I place the responsibility for this at men's feet because God will place it there. Men have the unique, God-given roll of head of his family. But with that roll comes a great deal of responsibility. It's scary sometimes. Thankfully, we have the grace of God to get us through.
Today is Ash Wednesday. It's the beginning of Lent. Instead of using Lent to quit smoking or drinking soda or whatever else humanistic thing people give up during Lent, let's really refocus on what our marriages are all about. Let's become the greatest students of our wives. Let's love them as they need to be loved. Let's lay down our lives in sacrifice for their good. I can't think of a better way to prepare our own hearts for Easter; the day we celebrate Jesus sacrificing His life for our good. In short, lets refocus on living the Gospel in our homes this Lent. Will you join me in that effort?