Important book for wives and moms
Do things happen with your son, husband, or boyfriend during the course of the week that makes you wonder, “why in the WORLD does he react like that?”
Well, there could be several reasons and best selling author Shaunti Feldhahn is here to help us with one of them (and it’s a biggie). She has just released Through a Man’s Eyes: Helping Women Understand the Visual Nature of Men. I know some of us might cringe when we stop to think about “the visual nature of men.” But guess what? They are made exactly how God wanted them to be designed! And there are many ways that the women in their lives can help the guys out!
What Happens When Women See What Men See?
You already know that your husband, boyfriend, or son is wired differently from you, but do you know what that really means? It means, among other things, that he’s been given the gift of a unique visual wiring—and the challenges that come with it.
In Through a Man’s Eyes, Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross team up to help open our eyes to something we are often blind to. They address questions like:
· “Why are guys so visual—and what does that mean, anyway?”
· “How do I help my son navigate this sex-crazed culture?”
· “How dare someone tell a woman to watch what she wears! Isn’t it a man’s responsibility not to look?”
· “If he’s tempted by visual images, is there something wrong with him? With me?”
· “My husband is an honorable guy, so why would he be tempted by porn?”
· “How can I talk to my husband or son about this? What can I do to support him?”
Through the compassion and candor in this book, we can learn what men have long wished we knew (but didn’t know how to explain)—and see the difference it makes when we do!
Practical tips from Shaunti
I’m thrilled to have Shaunti with us today to share 3 easy things us gals can do to help encourage healthy discussions with the men in our lives.
A lot of people have asked me how, in my research, I get men to share all the sensitive, emotional things that make up the core of my findings about how men think. As one wife told me, “I can’t get him to share hardly any of this private stuff with me, and yet he’ll talk to a couple of his guy friends. But shouldn’t I be the first person he comes to?”
The answer is yes, of course he should. But we women often miss how vulnerable and even scared men feel about opening up their hearts in this way. In fact, it is a bit rare for men to open up to anyone at all. We as women talk about emotions much more readily, sometimes sharing personal thoughts and feelings with mere acquaintances (think: your hairdresser or workout buddy at the gym). And we don’t realize that for a man, opening up like that is one of the most uncomfortable things he does. He wants to be seen as strong and capable, but sharing his heart requires a vulnerability that he will only voluntarily experience under one condition: if he feels safe.
That is the key to getting your man to open up to you. Especially about subjects he feels are the most likely to bite him.
I recently released a book called Through A Man’s Eyes that deals with one such subject: it helps women understand the visual nature of men. This is one of the main “private” topics that many men simply don’t know how to talk about with their wives. Now, to be honest: some men don’t want to go near it! These men might be struggling with something, or might simply be convinced their wives would never understand and don’t want to risk hurting their feelings. But many other men do want to talk about it, do want their wives to understand this part of their lives … they just don’t know if it is safe.
So here are three steps to addressing this particular subject with the man you love. These are specific to this topic, but the principles apply to any sensitive issue that a man might be touchy about.
1. Step one: Do your best to understand the issue he is sensitive about – in this case, the visual wiring of men, and the many ways it plays out today. Almost every male over the age of three is affected by the sexualized sights we see every day in this culture, but every man and boy handles it differently. We women tend to be clueless, but we need to understand it before we can talk about it well.
2. Step two: resolve to become someone your man can talk to about his visual temptations, rather than someone he feels he has to avoid discussing them with. The most important factor is your ability to be calm no matter what you’re hearing, so he sees he can share his heart, insecurities, fears and even areas of shame without worry that you will condemn him as a terrible person. If he’s made bad choices and hurt you in the process, of course it is okay to be hurt! You need to be able to work through that and share how you are feeling! The question is how you do that, so the conversation stays open for the long term, since it won’t help either of you if he shuts down. On any sensitive issue it is so important to handle hurtful things in a way that keeps the communication channels open, rather than a way that confirms (in his mind, at least) that he was right to avoid communication at all costs.
3. Step three: Once he does share, make sure your response shows you were truly listening – be careful, for example, to not overreact. If you hear that he struggles now and then to not click on a seductive internet ad, don’t jump to the conclusion that you can “never trust him again, because he’s attracted to other women!” As we discuss in the book, visual temptations are very, very common even among the most godly, honorable men. Of course that doesn’t excuse poor choices! But our men are living with visually-stimulated brains in a culture filled with public sights that were only supposed to be seen in private. So truly listen and understand what your man is telling you and respond accordingly. For example, if you learn that he has the same general day-to-day struggles that every visually-wired man faces today, ask him how you can support him. Or if you learn that he faces a serious struggle with lust or porn, go through the process of getting him more specialized help, including accountability and support with other men (since a wife can never be the primary accountability partner).
In any sensitive area of life, you can’t force your man to make the right choices; which almost certainly means some men will make the wrong ones. But in my research it was clear that nearly every man loves his wife and wants to be her hero. So show your husband that you not only expect him to live an honorable life, but that you believe in him and will support him– and that you do see him as your hero even if he has made mistakes. That will do more than you could ever imagine toward encouraging him to stay open to you, and make the right choices, for all the years to come.
Shaunti Feldhahn is a well-known social researcher and the best-selling author of For Women Only and For Men Only. Craig Gross is a pastor, thought leader and the founder of xxxchurch.com. With the release of Through A Man’s Eyes, they are passionate about helping women understand men on this topic, and helping leaders serve those in their churches. Learn more about them and the book at www.menarevisual.com.