Men are From Earth and Women Are Too

If you think you come from Mars or Venus, I’m sorry to have to tell you that you are as earth-bound as they come. You are as human as human can be. Youz aint been nowheres else and youz aint goin’ nowheres else.

Men are from “Earth”. And Women are from …. “Earth”. It’s as simple as that.

space man

In fact, to be technically correct, Men are from Earth and Women are from Men! The account of creation given in the Bible informs us that man was made from the dust of the earth and woman was made from flesh taken from the man’s side.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7

“And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, he made into a woman, and brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22

So, while men and women are different (and the French say “Oui, Oui! Viva la difference!”) they are from the same stock and have all too much in common.

So, let’s not get too excited about aggrandizing the peculiarities of men and women, as if those differences have celestial significance. There are some very earthy things about men and women, and the differences between them are very earthy too.

Earthlings

Earthlings are pretty undesirable creatures. Without wanting to run you down, it can be good to see yourself for who you really are. I’d like to show you some of the things that make earthlings “un-special”.

We are undesirable when compared with God, our Maker. The human heart is full of evil thoughts and intentions. Wealth, provision and education do not save humans from degradation. While we may improve our society and living standards, the ugly issues of hatred, prejudice, vengeance, jealousy, violence, resentment, unforgiveness, selfishness, pride, contempt, intolerance, lust, and the like, still spring from the human heart.

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” Matthew 15:18-20

So, while earthlings try to elevate themselves socially, politically, economically and academically they are brought down by the desperately wicked things in their human heart.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Battle of the Sexes

When old professor Higgins said, “Why can’t a woman be like a man?” he was putting womankind down. And that taunting of one by the other has been a long-standing theme. The “can’t live without ’em and can’t live with ’em” frustration has been celebrated in literature, song and movies.

Terms such as male chauvinism, militant feminism, the superior sex and mere male, reflect something of the sweeping presence of the battle of the sexes.

Even the Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus discussions tend to reflect a pursuit of personal value, to fortify against the sexual put-down that many people confront.

In the face of the “We’re better than you” arguments, allow me to repeat that “earthlings are pretty undesirable creatures”. It is not that men are cretans and women have higher moral value. Nor is it that “it’s a man’s world and women must accept their place”. Both men and women are deeply flawed creatures, significantly limited and eternally doomed.

What is Man?

On two occasions King David wrote in his psalms the question, “What is man that God should pay him any attention?” David acknowledged that humanity has no endearing quality when compared with God.

What is man, that you are mindful of him? And the son of man, that you visit him?” Psalm 8:4

“LORD, what is man, that you take knowledge of him! Or the son of man, that you make account of him!” Psalm 144:3

Humankind is not some wonderful creature, whether male or female. In fact, every human is “undone”, useless, worthless, and hopeless. Man does not have the capacity to save himself, and every man has become totally overpowered by sin. No man or woman is righteous. In our humanness (our flesh) there is nothing of any value.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” Romans 3:10

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for despite my intentions I cannot do the good I want to do.” Romans 7:18

Flawed Relationships

What kind of relationships do flawed people create? They create flawed relationships. Earthlings do not do anything well. And that is just as true for our relationships. Our evil heart reacts to others. Our selfish desires impose on others. Our human weakness fails others.

Wives easily fall into contending with their husbands, like a continually dripping tap. Men easily fall into stubborn resistance. Games such as “No Speaks”, or outbursts and arguments are quickly learned and readily made part of human interaction. Psychologists invent terms such as “co-dependency” and “dysfunctional” to describe the flawed relationships humans create.

Pouting, sulking, manipulating, arguing, rejecting, stonewalling, contending, abusing and neglecting are just some of the typical flaws we see in interpersonal relationships. We even have domestic abuse and violence to further testify to human ability to create flawed relationships.

Hope For Humans

Despite the desperate limitations of earthlings, there is great hope for humans. Millions of homes around the world are largely free from the flaws I have pointed to. This is not because the humans are superior, but because they have drawn upon a superior source.

When hopeless humans call upon the eternal God they are empowered to rise above their own depravity and enjoy the glorious liberty of being a child of God.

Our starting point is that we are hopeless and undone. So then we humble ourselves before God and call on His grace. God then forgives us and creates new life within us. Our “born again” spirit now brings God’s grace, wisdom, fruit and power into our weak and failing lives. As we follow God’s instructions, under His lordship over our lives, our hearts are renewed and our lives transformed.

There is abundant hope for humans. It is not on Venus, or on the earth. It comes from heaven, where our Saviour is seated at the right hand of God, ready to give us salvation, forgiveness and new life.

From Earth to Heaven

Men and Women are from Earth, but they don’t have to stay there. We can’t draw on resources from Mars or Venus, but we can draw on eternal blessings and miracle power from Heaven. When we do that we become children of the God of Heaven. Then, when we have completed this earth-bound journey we will go from here to heaven.

Meanwhile we can bring a little of heaven to earth, in our homes and relationships. But that involves us making a connection with Almighty God in Heaven, through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, as our Saviour and Lord. And in doing that, there is amazing hope for humans, not only in this life, but in the life to come.

Un-Charming Prince – Forgiven

This is yet another instalment in the investigation of how to deal with the ugly reality most marriages confront, of the husband or wife not being what we want them to be. Susan and I have both experienced this in our marriage and I have spoken to many men and women who have their own story to tell of this phenomenon. At some point in most relationships we come to realise that the other person is less than we hoped and thought them to be. They may prove to have qualities far below what we expected.

I believe that the most powerful Repair Mechanism in marriage is forgiveness. So let me tell you about my own experience of having to forgive Susan. When she proved to be a Tainted Cinderella I struggled, but eventually resolved the situation by applying forgiveness. I think this experience will be instructive and helpful.

In the early years of my marriage to Susan, which took place almost 35 years ago, I was surprised to find that she was not the ideal wife I had expected. I did not realise I had specific expectations until they were not fulfilled. I simply thought that Susan would have the same ideas of marriage as me and would naturally do the things I thought she would. I was mistaken. Susan had her own ideas and her own determination to be and do what she thought was best. When I suggested she do things my way or fit in with my expectations she showed that she had no inclination to do so. She could tell me why her ideas were better and why mine should be rejected.

I don’t recall the detail of a lot of this now; since it was three decades ago and we have worked through many things since then. I do know that I found myself so bewildered and hurt by what Susan turned out to be that I would cry silent tears into my pillow. One day at church my pastor prophesied as he prayed for me and he said, on the Lord’s behalf, “I know the tears you shed at night”. That was an amazing prophetic revelation. I had told no-one of my situation and inner pain. I feared for a while that Susan would ask me about the tears. I didn’t want to tell her that she made me cry.

The problem was resolved very simply. I finally realised that I was despising Susan for being ‘Susan’. OK, she wasn’t the person I thought she was. She wasn’t the person I thought I was marrying. But I did marry Susan. Susan was my bride. I was rejecting and despising her for being ‘Susan’, because I wanted her to be someone else. I wanted a warm and devoted wife whose whole focus was to please me. I even coined the term, ‘Country Kitchen Mum’, to describe the idea of a loving woman who made you feel special and who made you the focus of her life. Susan was not a Country Kitchen Mum.

I finally came to the place, without me ever discussing it with Susan, of forgiving her for being ‘Susan’. I told God that I forgave Susan for not being the woman I wanted her to be. I committed myself to be Susan’s husband, to love her unconditionally, even though she was not the bride I thought I was marrying. I guess I felt a bit like Jacob must have felt being married off to a different person to the one he thought he was marrying.

Once I forgave Susan for being Susan something wonderful happened in my heart. It seemed that my fantasy ideas about the ideal wife I wanted Susan to be just evaporated and all the disappointment and hurt feelings I felt evaporated with them. I found myself on a journey of discovery, to build a very real relationship with a very real person; my wife Susan. At first I had been building a fantasy relationship with a person who did not exist. My season of struggle with the Tainted Cinderella was a vital step toward removing the fantasy notions.

Please note that it is possible for the dream to die and for bitterness and resentment to grow instead. If I had not forgiven Susan for being Susan I could have spent the rest of my life resenting Susan for being Susan. So the journey from the Honeymoon Phase to the Happy Reality Phase requires God’s grace, not just realisation. Forgiveness is the very powerful Repair Mechanism in marriage. Never hold back from using it. And the internal transformation you can enjoy will often surprise you.

This is part of a series of posts on the theme of the Un-Charming Prince:

http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-thats-me
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/i-kissed-the-frog
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-forgiven

Un-Charming Prince – That’s Me!

Most husbands and wives come to the sad realisation that their spouse is less than they hoped they would be.

Just a few weeks ago I saw a young bride shaking her head toward her loud-mouth husband who was obviously performing below what she had hoped and expected. I have worked with men who have, similarly, shared how their wife has not been the person they thought she was. I have talked with men and women whose parents and friends tried to warn them about the person they were marrying, but they would not listen.

Eventually, even the giddiest emotional ride or the most determined intention to see only delight in our spouse must yield to the reality that the spouse is made of the same mud as the rest of us. We are each human and therefore imbued with weaknesses and limitations that only the most disciplined and blessed have moved past.

Susan and Me

My Susan made a number of assumptions about me that proved to be disappointments for her. She wrongly assumed that I, being the son of a builder, would be a good handyman, like her dad. My failure to reach this expectation was a sore point for her for years. She bought me handyman books for Christmas, chided me and even went off to do a handyman course of her own in frustration.

Another sore point for Susan was that I was all talk and no action. I was a wonderful dreamer, but not a person who knew how to bring reality to the very things I could conceive. This was more than a frustration for her, as it caused her pain that our economic circumstances could be so much better if I only pursued just one of my dreams.

At the same time I had my own suite of disappointments with Susan. She was more angry and demanding than I ever expected. She also became focused on things important to her and I had to compete for her time and attention. We ended up in more of a battle of wills than I ever expected.

So, I was an Un-Charming Prince and Susan was a Tainted Cinderella. This kind of situation is not uncommon. I suspect it is almost universal. And it is part of the process of the maturation of a relationship, where people learn to love and accept each other, not because the other is ideal or perfect, but in spite of the fact that the other is neither ideal nor perfect.

Needed Keys

The Keys to working through the ugly realisation stage in a relationship are to apply forgiveness and to commit to love the other unconditionally.

I refer to ‘forgiveness’ as the Repair Mechanism for marriage. However, it may also be valuable to put on the table the issues that are challenging each other. This is a tough thing to do without speaking from hurt feelings, desire to change the other, manipulation or the like. Nonetheless it can be very powerful, if done with a good heart.

If you are facing the ugly realities of an Un-Charming Prince or a Tainted Cinderella seek to apply forgiveness, grace and unconditional love. Once you have done that successfully you can look at bringing problems into open discussion, if you need to.

Coming Up

In a future post I will tell you about my own process of dealing with the hurt feelings I had from Susan, when I realised she was not all I expected her to be. It was vital for my own freedom and the development of our relationship. Look for a future post called ‘Un-Charming Prince – Forgiven’.

This post is part of a series on the Un-Charming Prince:

http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-thats-me
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/i-kissed-the-frog
http://chrisfieldblog.com/topical/un-charming-prince-forgiven