Yesterday I lambasted my wife over the phone. She was handling our child who was unwell and could not see why I had to work late that day. In response to her demand that I come home early, I downloaded upon her the misery of a heated argument.
I don’t say this with pride. I wish I had tears of sorrow that Jesus had for my sin. Instead, I was blasting the most beautiful person in the world I know, while she was toiling faithfully, handling a crank-athon infant and bearing pummeling construction noises from next door. Instead of displaying our beautiful Lord Jesus in my words, I had decided to send across some verbal pummeling.
Lack of compassion for women & misuse of authority is just one thing we husbands have in common with our unmarried tribe-members, the bachelors. If you thought bachelors were the only ones who had no clue, of how a woman thinks and what she goes through, here are some nuggets of stunning similarities!
1. Both bachelors & married men assume their lives are more stressful than that of women.
Absolutely. A lot of us married men enter our IT companies with the demeanour of a prisoner being sent into rigorous imprisonment. In all probability, our forefathers would have had a good laugh about how we perceive our work as tiring though we grew up hearing their stories of gruelling and sweating it out– literally – in the fields, only to return home to crying infants, old, ailing parents and a hassled wife.
But imagine if you could never ever leave your office. Imagine if you HAD to bring kids to work and do your project meetings and spreadsheet work while running about changing diapers and play referee between warring siblings, and then return to find the cat has downed what was left of your burnt lunch. Welcome to the world of mothers!
While studies about women being more adaptable than men could be debated by both sides, history shows human beings are largely known for our lack of empathy and inability to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes. The Bible explains this by the reality of our corrupted souls ever since we rebelled against a gracious and loving God.
Married men often excel at ignorance & callousness, though I am certain years and years of marriage, especially under Jesus Christ’ Lordship definitely mellows most of us. Most bachelors who don’t know the life of women up close, end up equally unwise, if not worse in their assessment of how tired a feeding mother might feel or how frustrated a girl with her periods could get at the end of a day. Which brings us to a related topic –
2. Both haven’t understood much about babies and periods.
Around the time of my marriage, I realised I had scored a big fat zero on how much I knew about the monthly physical processes women live with, though we “learnt” that in 9th standard Biology. I really think there is a place for works like Menstrupedia especially in places like India though I am not a fan of feminists glorifying such facts ad nauseam.
My wife Sheetal’s pregnancy, Abhay Barnabas’ birth and the subsequent feeding marathons further made me see, to some extent at least, that married men like me had LOADS to learn if we were to ever serve our wives as Christ served the church. I definitely needed to read up a smattering of basics of pregnancy, motherhood (as a husband & NOT as a single man) & fatherhood from tomes like ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting‘ or Babycenter and be around to serve more than to be served. I must admit my score on this subject would now probably show at about 15/100.
This care of one’s wife is essential to sanctification, i.e becoming more like Jesus Christ, in marriage and I am sure such learning is one of the direct applications of God’s commands for all husbands – to live in an understanding way with their wives, giving them genuine honour (1 Pet 3:7). After all, this is from our God who bore with us when we were all cranky spiritual infants.
3. Both need to learn to gloriously endure times of abstinence.
For all bachelors out there who ever thought marriage is a gateway to derive unending sexual pleasure – splat. Thud. Thus shall your balloon of expectations hit the walls of God’s sovereign ways of showing you women are not the source of soul satisfaction – Jesus said only He himself is (John 4:13,14).
Remember when your IT project manager gives you an extra task at 5:45 PM and how you loathe it? Well, consider the terrifying possibility that married women could feel the same way about sex. As any honest husband will tell you, sex would have been denied him multiple times when he wants it real bad! Gaaah- but that is OK because there could be a variety of genuine reasons. And even if the husband finds out his wife has no genuine reason to deny him, he needs to tread the good but hard path of realising that obeying Jesus to glorify Him and denying one’s own self, always rocks in God’s kingdom. We men need to pray more for that grace than receiving pleasure, hard as that sounds to me!
So bachelors who are not giving up on being faithful to Jesus, and who are not rushing into lust – bravo! This training will benefit you for eternal life (1 Tim 6:11,12), and for married life later, God willing. If you’re battling lust and failing like crazy, it only shows you need an awesome Saviour – no less than Jesus. You also need older men who know the sting of lust and who will expend their lives for your purity. You are dead to sin and alive to Christ. Expect apparent misery both before and after marriage – heaven will be great!
4. Both can use their time with their guy- friends as an escape.
We men love our gangs! Oh, the delight of a single hour spent talking about gadgets, salaries, cars, drenched in poor jokes – uh, not really. All this is good. There is a great need to build relationships with other men in your church, neighbourhood and at your workplace and engage with their lives in the week.
At the same time, men who are followers of Christ know they have ben given life on earth to expand God’s kingdom, which needs to be furthered both within our lives and with others’ lives too. But we men often have a tendency to escape God-ordained troubles in the context of family life. Some rely on extended weekend bike rides to do this. Others use hangouts, watching TV series on laptops. People like me scroll through our Facebook feed and the web, in general, to “take a break”.
While such breaks need to be planned, useful for refreshment and not wrong in themselves, I have seen that I tend to take breaks when usually my Lord Jesus would have had none of it. He really was serious about dying to self in order to live to God, because that alone was and shall be forever the path of joy in God the Father. If only we had enough faith to trust the Bible and stop believing lies about what we really deserve!
Here’s Adrian Warnock on CJ Mahaney‘s famous “better than I deserve” quote.
5. Both need better Love than what women could ever offer.
Yeah, yeah – “we all need Jesus more than anything else Aravind, you’ve harped on this for centuries. It’s really enough now”.
I don’t think so. Apostle Paul, a way better Christian man than me in multiple aspects, never tired of presenting Christ to the churches He wrote to (1 Cor. 2:1,2,5). He knew the worth of preaching about our Saviour to men who are already saved and who are yet in dire need of Him. How much more, then, I need to do the same for your benefit and mine, dear men (Hebrews 3:12,13,14 ).
Both married men and bachelors look for things that will give them meaning and purpose in daily life. Bachelors long for relationships with the “one girl” meant for them. We married men often look for significance in work, in possessing a flat or a superbike, in Christian mission work and in many other things that give them a sense of pride or that spruces up their egos. Maybe you think your wives and children are the reason you’ll have a happy life here on earth.
But such foolish notions will only bring deserved condemnation because we have taken God’s gifts and turned them around to build our empires to do whatever we choose.
So I will yet again place Christ before my brothers as the patient lover of our souls. In Genesis, see how our Lord was patient with Abraham, through his years of lying and unbelief (Gen 16:2, 17:1-3, 20:2). See how today after all these years, He puts up with us with such incredible patience, while He is the pure and fiery One who consumed the selfish lives of Sodom. I have a Saviour whose patience will lead me to repentance in living a life of love & understanding service.
Thus ends the rant about how Bachelors and Married men are alike.
Are there things single and married women don’t understand about men? I am certain there are! But I invite my sisters at Marg to write a guest post on that one. 😀