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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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Making Love Last Forever with Gary Smalley

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the most encouraging books that I have read on marriage and relationships is by the best-selling author Gary Smalley, who has  sold millions of videos on how to strengthen our vital relationships.  John Gray, the well-known author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, comments: “If you want a lasting love relationship, I highly recommend Gary Smalley’s guide to forever love”.

One of the keys to his memorable books is that Gary teaches you how to fall in love with life all over again.  Everything he writes has to do with the age-old struggle between the life-giving principle of honour and the life-draining emotion of destructive anger.  The average person, says Smalley, has little or no idea how damaging that forgotten or ignored anger can be.  Worse yet, most people don’t even know how much destructive anger they have buried inside, much like unexploded landmines left in the middle eastern sands.  Once buried, our anger does its worst damage, wreaking havoc on our physical and emotional well-being.  Facing our anger is indispensable to Making Love Last Forever.

Anger, says Smalley, is a secondary emotion, not a primary feeling.  It arises out of fear, frustration, hurt, or some combination of these three.  Anger is actually a coping strategy to attempt to banish fear from our lives.  Sometimes our parents have non-verbally taught us that perfect anger casts out all fear, when the truth is that only perfect love casts out all fear.

Smalley comments that anger can be thought of as a sticky, bad-smelling dangerous substance that can be compressed and stuffed into something like a spray can.  Angry people tend to go around spraying their anger on other people.  The spray is felt by others as meanness, insensitivity, and general offensiveness.  Most angry people have no idea that their angry spray stings others like hydrochloric acid.  Unresolved anger is the No. 1 enemy of Making Love Last Forever.

Some of us as men pride ourselves that we are not as other husbands, who physically beat up their wives in drunken rages.  Yet even if our anger never turns violent or illegal, unresolved anger can still prove destructive.  All of us want to feel connected in our primary relationships.  But one of the most common results of deep anger is relational distance, an unwillingness and inability to let others get close.  It is as if we are living inside a relational box of thick plate glass.  Yet we keep wondering as men why our wives won’t become more intimate.

Unresolved anger, says Smalley, is not only destructive to our families.  It is also destructive to our personal health. Many of the backaches, neckaches, and headaches that send us complaining to our GPs are actually the outworking of buried anger.  Anger studies were done on medical doctors and lawyers over a 25 year period.  By the age of fifty, only 4 percent of the low-ranked easy-going lawyers and 2 percent of the doctors had died.  Lawyers who had ranked high on anger had a 20 percent mortality rate;  doctors 14 percent.  Studies are also showing that angry people are more susceptible to heart attacks – the leading cause of death in North America.  Hostile anger can boost heart rates, raise blood pressure and lead to increased clogging of the arteries.  What’s worse, says Smalley, is that the risk of heart attack seems to be greatly increased during the two hours following a bout with anger.

Why do we get angry anyways?  Smalley suggests that we get angry because either someone is taking something away from us that we don’t want to lose, or else we’re being denied something we want to gain.  By facing and grieving our losses, we break the power of anger to make our lives miserable.

Part of healthy grieving is the willingness to lay aside bitterness, the willingness to say like Jesus: “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”  Another key to grieving, says Smalley, is to search for “hidden pearls” in any offense committed against you.  The idea here is that some good can come out of any bad situation – if you’ll just look for it.  That’s why the Good Book says that all things work for the good for those who love the Lord.  Grieving our losses is an irreplaceable key in Making Love Last Forever.

I recently watched a most disturbing and enlightening movie entitled “The Field”.  It was about an Irish farmer who dedicated his life to providing for his family’s future.  But again and again his anger rose up to destroy everything and everyone that he loved.  Given my Irish heritage,  it was a strong warning to me that I had to face the anger in my life, or it would one day destroy me.

Unresolved anger can cripple us in so many ways.  Anger keeps us distant from the very people we want to care for.  In contrast, love builds bridges of trust and forgiveness.  Sometimes anger even keeps us distant from God himself.  Smalley has found that the greater the unresolved anger, the more difficulty that person has in developing a meaningful spiritual life.  Studies after studies are confirming that a healthy spiritual life in a marriage reduces divorce rates, increases marital satisfaction, and lowers the level of relational conflict.

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may discover the keys to Making Love Last Forever.

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

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

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