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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Why does it sometimes feel like men and women are from different planets?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Is it okay to suggest in this post-modern culture that  we as men and women are equal but often different?  Too often equality becomes reduced to a sterile sameness.  True equality between the sexes involves a joyous celebrating of our very real differences.  Men and women are so wonderfully different that many authors have been writing books exploring this unique key to marital and relational satisfaction.  We really do come from different ‘worlds’ as men and women.

Gary Smalley, the best-selling author on relationships, has put enormous research in exploring just how male/female differences actually affect us.  Smalley comments that “most marital difficulties center around one fact – men and women are TOTALLY different…virtually every cell in a man’s body has a chromosome makeup entirely different from those in a woman’s body.”  Dr. James Dobson says that there is strong evidence indicating that the ‘seat’ of the emotions in a man’s brain is wired differently than in a woman’s.

Greater understanding of our differences can bring greater acceptance and love between men and women.  Dr. Paul Popenoe, founder of the American Institute of Family Relations in Los Angeles, dedicated most of his working life to the research of biological differences between the sexes.  He found that females outlive males by four to eight years because of their greater constitutional vitality and perhaps because of their unique chromosome makeup.  Women’s thyroid is larger and more active than that of men, giving them a greater resistance to cold.  Women’s blood contains more water and 20 percent fewer red cells.  Since the red cells supply oxygen to the body cells, women in general tire more easily.  An illustration of this is that when the working day in British factories was increased from ten to twelve hours during wartime conditions, accidents increased 150 percent among women but not at all among men.  Women can withstand high temperatures better than men because their metabolism slows down less.

Another important difference is in the area of women’s intuitive gifting.  Smalley holds that each woman has a built-in marriage manual within her.  She intuitively knows  what she needs, what the relationship needs, and what, if anything, is wrong with the marriage.  All she needs is a husband who is courageous enough to ask her to share her marriage manual with him.

Neuropsychologists McGuinness and Tribran led a Stanford University research team investigating this unique intuitive capacity.  They discovered  that women do in fact catch subliminal messages faster and more accurately than men.  Someone has observed that women often use logic more as a tool, while men tend to treat logic as the bottom line.  In my own life, I have had to retrain myself over the years to stop shutting down my intuitive impressions, in favour of what seemed to be the obvious logical course of action.  I have found that when I close down and ignore my intuitive perceptions, they become weaker and much fainter.

Gary Smalley admits that generalizations about gender differences are probably only true 70 or 80 percent of the time.  Every individual is indeed an individual.  Even so it is amazing how many couples are finding a new lease on their marriage through learning to rejoice in gender differences.  Smalley noted how often men tend to be focused on gathering and sharing facts.  Facts can far too easily swallow up feelings in marriage.  This can lead us as men to be “Mr. Fix-it’s” in our intimate relationships.  Yet there is no better way to destroy a healthy marriage than to attempt to fix our wives and solve their problems.  Smalley and others remind us that our addiction to fixing our wives must be replaced by a radical commitment to just being there and listening, no matter how helpless and painful that makes us feel.  When our wives keep talking about their problems,  we often fall into the trap of defensiveness, somehow feeling that we’re to blame.  Yet in fact the most healing thing that we can do is to not run, and not defend ourselves, but rather hang in there with our total attention on our wives.

John Gray observes that when a woman gives advice to another woman, it is most often seen as an act of kindness and generosity.  Women firmly believe that when something is working, it can always work better.  Their nature is to want to improve things.  Gray observes however that this “Home Improvement” tendency often backfires when applied across the gender divide.  Offering help and advice to a man can make him feel incompetent, weak, and even unloved.  Advice in the male world is usually only received well when asked for in the first place.  Gray holds that one of the best gifts a wife can give her husband is to abstain from giving him advice, and instead give him acceptance and approval.  A man’s deepest fear, says Gray, is that he is not good enough or that he is incompetent.  Accordingly one of the best gifts a woman can give her man is to believe in him, and to stand with him, when he begins to doubts his own abilities.

The Good Book calls men to love their wives as themselves and for wives to honour their husbands.  Why does it say this?  Because as men we are often crippled in expressing romantic love.  Why do romance novels sell by the hundreds of millions?  Primarily because we men are missing out on this very deep need of our wives to be cared for and romantically loved.  Too often our marriages become predictable and stale as a result.  Why then does the Good Book call wives to honour their husbands?  Because in this dog-eat-dog competitive world, if our wives won’t honour us and believe in us, then no one likely will.  When my wife honours me, I feel like a million dollars.  My prayer is that many husbands and wives reading this message may learn to rejoice in their glorious God-given gender differences.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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The ‘Dangers’ of Listening to Women

Ed_Jan2By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Most  men are ‘experts’ on women, until we marry one. Experience can be rather humbling to our most treasured pre-conceptions.

Flowers are, by far, the most popular gift that men like to give to women, followed by chocolates, candies, and other such delicacies. But perhaps the most valuable and most dangerous gift that we can give the women in our lives is the gift of listening.

confusedHeartfelt, non-critical listening is a rare phenomenon in our fast-paced, analytical culture. Listening takes time. Listening takes energy. Listening takes courage. To be honest, it often seems a lot easier just to give them chocolates. Most of us as men know that we need to grow in the area of listening.

The most offensive thing about listening is how helpless it can make us feel. Very few of us as men either like to feel weak or admit our weaknesses. Despite the male consciousness-raising of the last thirty years, such radical vulnerability does not come easy.

I well remember the first year of our marriage as a great time. My wife however has somewhat different memories…‘little things’ like our living on a shoe-string budget so that we could go on vacation in Europe, and my spending all my time studying for my Master’s Degree.

Years later, she finally told me that the first year wasn’t a bed of roses. I said: “Why didn’twife of your youth you tell me?” “Well, Ed”, she said, “You weren’t listening”. Sadly, she was right. One of the dangers of listening to women is that we just might hear something that we don’t want to hear. Our equilibrium may be so unsettled that it will take us quite a while to recover.

The key women in our lives usually have a remarkable ability to impact our sense of inner calm, in a way that our male acquaintances rarely do. When a male upsets another man, we often just ‘write them off’ and carry on. But when a key woman ‘gets under our skin’, we have to deal with it, or our life begins to shrink.

One of the key signs of a man going through a marriage breakup is the radical energy loss, and the consequent impact on his work. As men, we are usually so ‘thick’ that when a marriage breakup hits us, we rarely see it coming. It’s like being hit by a Mac Truck. So many men say: “I had no idea”. Exactly. More than any other offense, the action that most drives our wives to the Courts (and I don’t mean ‘tennis’) is our unwillingness to listen.

laceheartAnother danger of listening to women is that we might have to change. None of us like being controlled. We certainly don’t like being treated like children by the key women in our lives. Sometimes we confuse our fear of change with our fear of being controlled. Without change, there is no growth. Without change, there is no future. I have found that if I am willing to change the things that I can change (which is me), then the rest of life begins to make more sense.

The famous A.A. Serenity prayer asks God for the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change ( which includes anyone else, especially the women in our lives). When we finally wake up and realize that women are ‘unfixable’ (that is, by us), then we can stop trying to change them, and start actually listening. Genuine listening to women can be unnerving, because to listen is to change.

Most of us as men have an amazing ability to Channel Changerblock out parts of conversations that make us feel uncomfortable. Ever wonder why women get so irritated with us, as so many men are forever flicking on the TV channel changer. This filtering ability can make men look like their memories are extremely selective. As the old saying goes, the problem with men is that they never remember, and the problem with women is that they never forget.

I remember when a former secretary in another city came up to me and courageously shared some concerns with me about our work environment. My ‘walls’ were down that day, and so I actually heard what she was saying. I said to her, “Why have you taken so long to tell me?” She said, “Because until now you would have never listened. You would have just explained it away.” I felt stunned and challenged. Here I was, a trained Social Worker and Priest, and I couldn’t even see my own ‘walls’.

The Good Book says that our hearts are deceitful, and that no one can really understand them. (Jeremiah 17:9) We have an amazing ability to fool ourselves. Have you noticed how often we judge our spouses by planktheir actions, and ourselves by our good intentions. That is why Jesus challenged each of us to first remove the log from our eyes, before we try to do surgery on the splinter in someone else’s eye.

Courageous listening  is choosing to remove that log of defensiveness, and actually give the women in our lives our full, uncompromised attention. I have found that my wife is virtually always right even when she is wrong. She, and most other women, have a God-given intuitive ability that functions like a radar system in discerning basic truth. Sometimes she can’t even tell me why she is feeling so uncomfortable about some area, but in hindsight, my listening to her has saved me a lot of grief. That doesn’t mean that she is always right on all the details, but she usually intuitively grasps the core of issues.

That is why the famous author Gary Smalley says that every woman has a built-in marriage manual, if we men would only have the courage to listen and not reject It has taken me a long time to fully benefit from this ‘dangerous’ gift of my wife.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus after his resurrection turned up to women first? Perhaps it’s because women are so spiritually open. No one in that 1st century culture listened to women, except Jesus. So Jesus, after rising again, broke all the rules and showed up to rejected, despised, ignored women. Did the male disciples initially believeempty_large the women when they shared about the risen Jesus? Not in your life. Like so many of us men today, they wrote off the women’s stories as “old wives’ tales”.

I pray that we men may have the courage to listen to the stories of women, especially their stories of Jesus’ love.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca