Wednesday, August 27, 2014

AWPATT IX: August 22-27 (Thoughts 83-88)

83 It’s eminently reasonable to take care to introduce oneself to others by “putting your best foot forward,” so long as it’s done with more of an aim to project one’s good traits rather than conceal undesired traits. Just don’t place too much emphasis on the process than is beneficial. You can stand to gain in relationships by not calculating every move or speech to try to accomplish a goal beyond merely helping a person get to know you. In romance, I feel that she will eventually get to know all of you eventually, if she’s the One, so being boldly open about yourself can do nothing more for the most part than help ascertain if the girl you’re interested in really IS the one.

84 Asked if I have a yearning for close male friends, not just my future wife, I pondered why I might not be so interested. I concluded that I have no resistance to male friendships, and have a welcoming attitude toward such fellowship, and that I can see the benefit thereof. However, I feel nothing drawing me in the same way that I feel an emotional void that a wife would fill. I neither need nor am made for having a lifelong intimate male partner. I’m made for a woman. This is Biblical. So the answer to the question was no, but not with a rebellious attitude, just with a sense of lack of both interest and need.

85 That should be clarified: married men don’t need “buddies.” They don’t need to have guys they hang out with in order to satisfy their need for social interaction. I do say this as an introvert, so there’s a risk my opinion is skewed from that. Fair warning. But I think a man should be first and foremost satisfied socially in his wife. She’s the one he connects with. She’s the one he can talk to—talk with—and listen to. She’s his companion and she’s the one he participates with in entertainment, rest and relaxation, chit-chat, philosophizing, sharing advice, talking about life, helping each other with problems, etc etc. FIRST. What’s he need male friends for, but to help him with the rare things he needs advice on with respect to his wife that he CAN’T ask her about (if they’re fighting and she’s giving him a cold shoulder, for example. Or if she’s mourning, and he wants to be careful and sensitive). This gets to the point of having male friends. The interest and need at the end of point #84 is emotional. I have and will have no emotional need for other men. The benefit (me-directed; my benefit to others is another Thought) of male friends is in their ability to improve your Christian walk in the few ways that your wife can’t—namely, she can’t tell you from personal experience how to be a Christian man. You can only get this wisdom from other Christian men. And if your buddies before marriage aren’t Christian, drop ‘em. “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

86 But a single Christian man can only give you so much help. I’m writing this blog openly as a single Christian man. I have lots of thoughts and possibly very good advice for other single young men. Not limited to them: this blog can certainly be insightful to young women, or even people who are unsaved, or married. But what I have to offer will be less and less helpful to each successive person in that list. Why? Because in the case of women, I can only help them see what a Christian man ought to think and how he ought to behave, but I can only approach Biblical Womanhood from the outside—I can’t offer them as intimate of an insight. I don’t know what it feels like to be a woman; it’s not my experience. I can speak to a woman’s heart, but I can’t speak from a woman’s heart. And in the case of the unsaved, if you don’t accept the Gospel, theology has little practical benefit to you. Being willing to obey it is sort of a prerequisite to benefiting from being obedient to it. And in the case of those married, I can’t yet speak to their personal experiences, because I haven’t had many of them. I can only give them my approach to women, romance, courtship and marriage. I can’t tell you anything from my own experiences. To get the wisdom gained from marriage firsthand, you’d have to talk to a married man! This whole Thought’s point, then, is that you can benefit much more from friendships with married men, especially if you’re married, yourself!

87 And the direct consequence of this last point, then, is that if you as a married man have sought a married man as a friend or mentor, logic dictates that he has a wife. The reasonable thing to do, then, is for you to, as a couple, make friends, jointly, with other married Christian couples! So harking back to point #84 and #85, I don’t ever anticipate having ANY friends, when I’m married, who* my wife doesn’t also know, and likely no one that she isn’t also friends with! And to my best knowledge so far, from what I’ve learned from older people who have spoken on this subject, this is both the best practical thing to do, and it is Biblical and wise. It removes opportunities for temptation, keeps your accountability high, and gives you trusted confidantes who can help you in your walk, as a Christian and as a spouse.

*I am really curious if I used the right who/whom in this instance. Anyone with knowledge on the subject, please leave a comment. :)

88           Why do I have an easier time making female acquaintances than male ones? There’s two suggestions: one is that I put more effort into it because girls are more interesting. If that doesn’t account for it, then I suspect it’s because I’m more interesting when I open my mouth, to girls—particularly those with some life experience—than to guys. When I talk about love, romance and marriage, by and large, young women respond with head-nods of affirmation that they agree with my ideas, that I paint a picture that appeals to them, that the characteristics of a husband that I describe are what they desire. They act as if it’s refreshingly different to hear these things coming from me. Why? I think that, more so than guys, girls “get it.” Guys typically don’t know what women want, though they have many ideas. I’ve gotten closer to the mark, choosing to imbibe Biblical theology and wisdom from the life experience of esteemed elders, rather than take my cues from what other guys—or my own emotions—have been telling me. And when I express what I think women want, to women, I generally perceive that it’s warmly received—because women, being women, know what they desire in their own hearts, and are able to recognize it in what I say!
                I want to take a break in the middle here and make a caveat that I’m definitely not trying to cast myself as a know-it-all who has females all figured out. I’m using generic language for the convenience, but I don’t mean “all women” when I say ‘women.’ Please don’t mistake that. I’m simply sharing anecdotes in this Thought, and will surely affirm elsewhere that I have plenty of things I think or say that probably irritates women, too. Don’t misinterpret my words as reeking of pride. Be charitable in your interpretation of my statements.
                So, the point I’m getting at is answering the question of why it’s easier for me to make acquaintances with females. And the answer I believe is most accurate is that I have a tendency to talk about sex, love, romance, marriage etc with women (I’m very casual in conversation, as I am in writing), and more so than idiot guys my age and younger (and older, sadly), the kinds of things I express are things that make very good sense to thoughtful young women. Even more so if they’ve had bad experiences in relationships. They’re far more apt to assent to my notions that men have a certain responsibility in how they treat a girl, and agreeable to the notions of abstinence and the order of events. Guys, who neither bother to learn this stuff nor are women so as to be by nature better poised to intuitively recognize the sense it makes, generally respond to my philosophies in a patronizing or dismissive way, supposing that a guy with no history of relationship, single and virgin, can’t know very much. But what they fail to appreciate is the role restraint plays, and especially the fact that experience doesn’t guarantee wisdom—wisdom can be learned willingly through study, without the pain of your own mistakes forcing you to submit to it.
                And so, I have fewer guy friends because they’re more interested in chasing tail than having deep talks. Girls are far more interested in that, and so it’s the easiest and most obvious way for me to connect with them, conversationally.  That’s a long answer to a short question, and it constitutes a single thought out of 1000.

~ Rak Chazak

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