Larry Crabb in his book “The Silence of Adam” points out that when Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan in the Garden, it was Eve who spoke. Adam was silent. Adam was passive. He was physically present but emotionally absent. His sin began with his silence. Crabb observes, “God’s speaking brought creation out of chaos; Adam’s silence brought chaos back into creation. Remember that God used language to establish relationship; Adam used silence to destroy relationship.”
The more I think about this insight from Crabb, the more it seems to reflect a basic fear I have in my soul, when it comes to intimate relationship with my wife. I fear moving into and speaking into the chaos produced by tension in our relationship. I feel insecure speaking and moving into the darkness. In the darkness of relational tension I feel out of control, not knowing where our conversation is going. My guess is that many men who read this blog would say “Amen” to my personal observation. Crabb believes, “Many men are convinced that the confusion of relationships and the uncertainty of the future can destroy us. So they remain silent. When we are silent they deny the existence and goodness of God.” Men will use silence as a defense against chaos.
So what is a man to do? Speaking from personal experience, we have to face our fear and insecurity. As men we will simply never be able to control the dynamics of intimate conversation with our wives. It was never meant to be so. We are called to enter into the uncertainty of the darkness by both listening with our hearts and then speaking from our hearts. The “head” stuff will not work in intimate conversation. I know for myself, that I have to face the fear of a little frightened boy within, unsure of where close relationships are taking me. I can so easily use my head to protect my insecure feelings.
But when I ask Jesus for grace and strength to remain in the darkness of uncertainty, there is a spiritual energy that moves forward in truth and courage. To fear the darkness is to flee into a hiding place of comfort. If I do that there is no positive spiritual energy to move into the chaos. But if I move in faith, simply learning to trust the Lord to give me the right responses, I find myself growing in maturity, able to stand in the strength of the Lord, while expressing love and support for my wife. Men, it takes real courage and strength to come forth during the chaos of intimate conversation that manifest some relational tension. But that is where God want you to meet your wife. You know you have failed when you either flee or fight. My best advice is to humbly cry out for grace to stay in the chaos and not be silent. Of course, you will fail to respond rightly, but the more you stay with it the more you will learn mature responses.