By Khristy Hullett
Shaunti Feldhahn's "For Women in Only" came out in 2004. When I first read the book, I'd been married over 10 years. I thought I had a pretty good idea about what men thought. I read the book on a road trip and spent the entire journey asking my husband, “Is this true? Seriously?” To every question, he replied, “Yep, yeah, yeaaaah.” And then he'd look at me, his expression telegraphing his disbelief that I didn't know that. The whole experience underscored to me that no matter how much I think I understand men, I'll never be able to truly get inside their head. That worries me some as a wife, and it worries me even more as the mother of sons.
One point that sticks in my head is her assertion, backed up by research, that men rank respect over love. If you ask a roomful of men whether they'd rather be respected or loved, they answer respect every time. In fact, they can't believe they are loved without respect. Women, on the other hand, choose love over respect every time. Our place in the world is determined by a web of relationships that we have carefully constructed over time.
If someone asks me what or who I am, I answer: Christian wife of 13 years, mom of a girl and two boys, and then eventually I get to teacher. And there's nothing wrong with that, most of the time. However, we all know people who have veered off the deep end in the name of love—they will do anything for the person who professes to love them. In fact, men have learned enough about us to manipulate that desire for love. “If you really loved me, you'd sleep with me.” Did your mother warn you about this line? Mine did, and I intend to warn my daughter as well. People who love you want what is best for you; they're not just out for themselves.
As women, it is so easy to tie ourselves in knots doing for others. How many times have we put our own needs last? Oh, I can't work out because I need to help them with their homework. I can't go out for a girls' night; my husband hates putting the kids to bed. I can't have a date night with my husband because babysitters are so expensive. I can't, I can't, I shouldn't, I shouldn't……what a litany! Isn't it funny how we do back handsprings and unbelievable contortions to accommodate everyone else in our lives, but we won't carve in time to keep ourselves healthy and happy—physically, mentally, and emotionally?
God tells us over and over that we are special, that we were planned from the beginning, that we are wonderfully made. For goodness sake, He sent his only Son to the cross because we are important to Him. There's a fantastic quote in C.S. Lewis's Perelandra, an allegory based on the Fall of Man in Eden and the second book in his sci-fi trilogy. He writes, “When He died in the Wounded World He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.”
He died for me…just ME. He didn't die for Shawn's wife or Caitlin's mother or Susie's daughter. He died for me—his precious, perfect, unique child. And it is our job to take care of his Creation and show that world that we value what He has so lovingly made. We don't neglect others when we take care of ourselves; our husbands, our children, our friends, our co-workers all benefit when they are exposed to a healthy, happy child of God. We should take it as a personal challenge in 2009 to let the light of the Son cleanse us and beam out into the world, changing all it touches.
Go be just me….the best Me you can be.