Fear is an emotion men have been conditioned to avoid when it involves intimacy in personal relationships. Men become silent and flee, becoming passive for fear of failing, especially in relation to the feminine. The fear of “not being enough” can cause men to stiffen up in defensiveness, because of the insecurity and inadequacy of relating poorly. Men hold back for fear of not connecting. Larry Crabb maintains that, “Men generally live without a clear vision for what masculine movement into life – especially how relationships – would look like.” We prefer getting on with life by doing something, rather then entering into the reality of our relational life.
Recently my wife and I have been going through a “course adjustment” in our 50 year old marriage pilgrimage. Judy has been taking more intuitive, while I have been responding rather poorly. It has been a hard reality for me to admit. I prayed that I might reconnect with my bride, who I could tell was becoming frustrated with me. In a recent conversation at the Sunday dinner table, Judy asked me the question, “What are you afraid of ?” Of course, I denied I was fearful. But later in the afternoon on a prayer walk, I sense she was asking the right question. I was afraid.
So at a later time of sharing with Judy I was able to admit I was fearful of being out of control. Our marriage is like a dance. Judy was now practicing some new moves, changing our familiar rhythm. I know this was right for her and our marriage, but I was not adjusting very well. I did not like the new rhythm that would mean learning new moves. It is hard for me to change. I have always felt that one of my strengths in our marriage, was being a “relational guy.” I can lean into intimacy, while handling anything that my wife had to offer. But not in our present dance. I had to admit I was failing to learn the new steps of the dance.
Something happened after my confession. Afterwards, I was surprised by the freedom I felt in my spirit. For several weeks prior to this incident, I was not a very “happy camper” spiritually. I entertained negative toward my wonderful bride. I spent a great deal of time justifying my “cold shoulder” approach to the new dance moves. I wanted to push Judy away, rather then enter into the intimacy of our unique marriage dance. We are back in rhythm, trying out of new emotional moves. I know I will stumble, but I have a new freedom in knowing its ok to stumble as I learn the new moves.
I share this with the wildmen of this blog because of the learning that occurred for me. It is this. I had to admit to my wife, my weakness in being able to accompany her in the new moves she felt were important to improve our dance. I had to come to the realize that I was failing in the intimacy of our dance. It was especially hard for me, because I thought our dance was just fine. Hear me when I say – God helps us on our weakness. There is not a man reading this blog, who does not feel helpless and faltering at times in the intimacy of marriage. So let’s man up and ask for God mercy to help us in our weakness, as we lean into that intimacy of the dance. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is make perfect in weakness” ( II Cor 12:9).