Tuesday, January 18, 2011
P4E.198 Straight-Line Thinker
I've previously written a bunch on the predator/prey relationship between men and women. One of the characteristics of predators is that they are "straight-line" thinkers. What that means for me, as a man (and an architect/engineer to boot), is that when my wife, Gwen, comes and tells me of a problem, my brain goes into problem-solving mode.
Ken Nair tells the story of a wife who comes to her husband and says, "I have a headache." The husband's immediate response is "Well, did you take some aspirin?" (If you don't know what's wrong with that, we have to talk!)
Straight-line thinking may be useful in certain areas of life, but I'm finding it's rarely so in relationships. Analysis and straight-line solutions are rarely what Gwen is looking for from me when she wants to talk. In fact, I would definitely get into trouble if I acted on most of my analysis and solutions.
A straight-line approach does not allow for an exchange of ideas, asking questions, or interaction. It's disconnected and doesn't take into account the nuance of words and body language and voice inflection. I find that I might be well into a conversation with Gwen until my dull-wits realize that something really important is going on. Before I realize that what we're talking about isn't REALLY what we're talking about. That there's an emotional/spiritual aspect to the topic being discussed.
There was a time when we would be in conversation and I would blurt out "how I REALLY felt" about a topic. I would really get into trouble if the first words out of my mouth were, "Well, to be BRUTALLY honest..." Somehow, Gwen never really was ministered to by those conversations. The danger I found in what Ken Nair says in the quote above is that when Gwen gained entrance into my heart, she didn't like what she found there. And neither did I!
In Scripture, Jesus says, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." If my heart is in a predatory place, I can be very predatory with my words and dangerous to Gwen's spirit. But, if my heart is full of the fruit of the Spirit then my mouth will speak words that are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.
God help me to avoid straight-line thinking and predatory behavior! (And you too!)
"Don't just look at the words she is saying. What is going on in her heart that is making her say what she is saying? She needs understanding." Ken Nair