Thursday, February 23, 2012

Swords and Dragon-Slayers (Plus a Giveaway!)

Tuareg warriors

“Jen, the dagger is coming out from under the bed,” he said nonchalantly yesterday. Grabbing the tiny engraved blade, he slid the dagger back into its coffee-colored holster, and pushed it further under the bed. 

Two swords lay nestled under our bed. Normally the curved green and brown sword that used to hang from a nomadic African warrior’s mount and the coffee-colored, multi-daggered sword combo are displayed on our bedroom wall.  With our house on the market though, we have hidden away all unique wall hangings – swords included. 

I snuggled into my pillow later, still grinning at the incongruity of blades below us.  Today it reminds me of the verse, Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18).

The last few months I have been digging into books on building strong marriages, partly for fun and partly as research for my recent MOPS talk on “The Seven Needs of a Husband.” Shaunti Feldham in her book For Women Only, along with Chuck Cowan, former chief of survey design for the U.S. Census Bureau, surveyed over 800 anonymous men. What she and others (including Dr. Emerson Eggerichs) found is that men have a deep need for respect. While we women need respect too, there is a deeper issue, a deeper hole, in men that asks the question, “Do I have what it takes? Am I man enough? Am I powerful? Until a man knows he’s a man he will forever be trying to prove he is one, while at the same time may shrink from anything that might reveal he is not. Most men live their lives haunted by the question, or crippled by the answer they’ve been given,” asserts author John Eldridge in his book Wild at Heart (62).   

While our men need to get that haunting question answered ultimately by God, and not from any humans, we as wives play a vital role too.  Sincere affirmation to our husbands, friends, brothers, dads and sons is powerful. A marriage counselor told author Felham, “Affirmation is everything. When a man is affirmed, he can conquer the world. When he’s not, he is sapped of his confidence and even his feelings of manhood. And believe me, he will consciously or unconsciously seek out places where he receives affirmation. If a man knows that his wife believes in him, he is empowered to do better in every area of his life. A man tends to think of life as a competition and a battle, and he can energetically go duke it out if he can come home to someone who supports him unconditionally, and who will tell him he can do it” (67 For Women Only). 

A male friend told Shaunti, It’s all about whether my wife thinks I can do it. A husband can slay dragons, climb mountains, and win great victories if he believes his wife believes he can do it” (67 For Women Only).

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Friends, our tongues can pierce like a sword or bring healing to the men and women in our lives. 

Even more powerful than constructive words in private are sincere compliments in public, researchers found. Look for ways to build up your spouse, your friends, and your children in front of others. To practice, leave a comment below with a compliment about someone in your life (husband, brother, sibling, friend, child). 

To spur us on in this great habit, I’ll throw in a $5 giveaway coffee card to a winner at random. Here's how to win:
1.) Post your answer in the comments below to get your name in the hat.
2.) Optional: Answer this question on your blog also with a link to my blog there for another chance to win.
3.) Optional: After commenting with your answer here, click Share to Facebook to post this site with your compliment on your facebook wall too.

Three ways to earn your name in the hat for the gift card. Let me know what you do in the comments section below so I can get your name listed as many times as possible. I'll post the winner on Monday.

18 comments:

Jennifer Dougan said...

I'll start. I am proud of my man for the tender dad he is, reading stories to our kids and wrestling on the floor with them. He also makes me laugh. I can have deep talks with him, and I learn from him.

Jennifer Dougan
www.jenniferdougan.com

tandemingtroll said...

I am proud of my husband because he lets God lead him out of his comfort zones, he knows when its time to comfort, to re-direct or when to show me the humorous side of the situation. I am proud of how he stands up for me against the kids time and time again.

I am proud of my oldest daughter and oldest son for how determined they can be because I know that this determination gives them the strength to stand alone.

I am proud of my younger daughter for the care and concern she has for others, how she can make anyone feel welcome and is great at remembering names.

I am proud of my youngest son for his amazing stories and for his fun sense of humor and for his soft heart.

Rachel said...

I'm proud of my Dad for being strong in God and leading us with God-words and encouragement in struggles of life that we can overcome with God and Dad-love.
And I'm proud of my sister for being strong and a great role model in life, purity, friendship, and faith.

Rachel

Denise said...

My husband always lifts me up, never lets me down.

Jennifer Dougan said...

TandemingTroll,

What a fun glimpse into your family through these comments. What did they say when you read these to them?

Thank you.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Rachel,

What nice things to say about your family. I liked your words "leading us with God-words" and your pride in your sister.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Denise,

What a wonderful thing to say about your husband!

Thanks for stopping by here. Nice to "meet" you.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Shanda said...

I'm proud of my husband bacause he has a true heart of compassion. A few months ago he actually cried because he had run out of ways to help a homeless guy that he had befriended. I made me love him all over again.

AmyAlves said...

I'm proud of my husband for learning that His dependance as a good husband flows directly out of His relationship with God! He can't love me any more thank He is loving God! The way He is seeking and growing makes me take notice! Jennifer, I liked the statement of how sincere public praise means even more than private ones. By the grace of God I'm going to do that more! p.s. Also, almost every night when I check on my baby boy sleeping (17 months) I whisper to him that he is a strong man of God... it's never to early!

tandemingtroll said...

Jennifer: These are things I try to tell my kids and my husband regularly, especially the kids, because they hear a lot of "do better" from me, too. They hardly ever say anything, but they start glowing. My husband usually replies with a compliment and a kiss, hug or hand squeeze.

Denise said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate your kind comment. On Labor Day last year, I had a stroke, my brain started swelling in intensive care, they thought they were going to have to take off half of my skull. Praise God for saving my life.Brain is still swelling, and I have a 100% blocked artery in my brain, but God is faithful.

cabinart said...

My husband is a great BBQer, (and always cleans up after himself), does chores so I can keep working in the studio, and his good common sense keeps me from becoming one of those Cat Ladies.

I laughed at your story of daggers under the bed. When I met my husband, he kept his chainsaw under his bed! It was a very small cabin, but after we married, he found a different storage place for it at my request.

cabinart said...

And, a sincere compliment to my man plus a link to your blog will appear on March 1 on my blog. It is titled "Peculiar Sights". It was already written when I read this post, so I just updated it. Thanks, Jennifer!

Shannon Milholland said...

Oh how I want to keep my dagger holstered. Set a guard over my mouth O Lord Ps. 141:3

Jennifer Dougan said...

Shanda,

I love and respect when men aren't afraid to show tears. Very cool and how wonderful that he is a compassionate man. Thanks, Shanda.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Amy,

I agree.... relying on God for our strength and motivation to love each other is key. It's so attractive to see a man growing in his walk with God too, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Cabinart,

Wow, a chainsaw! :) I grinned.

My man likes to bbq too--what a treat, huh? Sounds like you have a great guy there.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Shannon,

Amen!

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com