For my man on his "On the other side of 25" birthday.
This past week I went to a seminar on why college males are having much more difficulty thriving in college socially and academically these days. College used to be made of only males, but things have changed so much in the past fifty years. I'm so proud to be a woman and love all that being a woman entails--- I love that women can get an education. But man, after this seminar, my heart is heavy and sad that in some sense we haven't been paying as close attention to males in the education system, and I, for one, feel like I haven't responded to them in ways that are beneficial to their development as college beings. We talked a lot about the need for most males to be reached out to, because, frankly, it's really difficult for most of them to reach out for help. We talked about the fact that they are more likely to be honest about where they are in their academic and social struggles if we are approaching them with one secret ingredient....
They need to know we see them winning at life.
Today I sat across from a woman at our church who has been counseling me Biblically and helping me discern some lies I'm believing about myself, and, in the midst of my all "about me sesh", she mentioned the fact that it's important for me to let Brett know how he's winning as my husband, as a scholar, and as a man who is pursuing and being pursued by God. Immediately I thought, "Oh yeah, Brett's a pretty "standard male"- he needs to know how he's winning!"
Well, let me tell you.... he is winning.
Last weekend I sunk into a terrible series of bitter pity parties because finances just weren't what I wanted them to be (that's a blog for another time), my job felt taxing, relationships felt spread thin, sex life was an unrealistic expectation, and lies were filling up my brain that God wasn't worth running to. Resentment, blame, and anger welled up in my heart for my sweet husband and after I said some mean angry human things I shouldn't have said to Brett, I went to Target.
I went to Target, walked around aimlessly trying my best not to make an impulse buy out of anger, then I just sat down and cried on a squashy foot stool in the living room section for a few minutes while I fought-- well, the grace of God. If you don't know it, fighting your God who's offering you something you don't deserve because He loves you so deeply is a really ridiculous thing to be doing in general... but especially in a Target aisle.
So I thought and fought.
And after a few minutes I surrendered my pity party and I saw where my frustrations had left me....
I wasn't trusting Brett, a gift in and of himself, given to me by God. And the irony of that? A lot of people can and will tell you, Brett is the kind of guy you can trust, depend on, and find deeply loyal. I wasn't trusting that he has a heart for me. For my good. For my desires. For my dreams. But mainly, he has a heart for me to know and love a God who has an even bigger heart for me, for my good, for my desires, and for my dreams. I wasn't trusting God's sweet purpose for me.
Later that night, we laid in bed, staring at each other after a long day I was ashamed of, and I told him just the opposite of what i communicated to him before... I trust him. I trust his leadership decisions in our marriage. I trust he wants to see me thrive as his Bride and that he surrenders a lot of his time and days to ensure I do. I trust him with our finances.
He sacrifices study time so I can attack him with kisses (we joke about the fact that I could kiss Brett all day and never get tired of it) and takes time he doesn't have in his schedule to pray for me and seek God to know how to love me well when I am sad or partying in pity. He is so gentle when I say sharp words to him--- and when I think of all the ways he could have reacted to me these past two years of marriage, instead of choosing gentleness, understanding, and love, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for his heart.
Maybe I'm totally bragging about him right now because I'm on an I-have-a-stellar-Husband high. But if you have a man in your life and you struggle with seeing him winning or you haven't told him lately how you see him winning at life--- I would love to encourage you to give him that verbal breath of fresh air. Make his day. Celebrate him even if it's not his birthday. Just like the statistics about males in college, I wonder if you telling him how he's winning will only increase the vulnerability and trust between the two of you. Isn't that what so many women and wives are longing for so often?
Go tell him. How is he winning?