Monday, June 18, 2007
The Bold, Adventurous Man
Have you ever known a man who seemed ready to take decisive action from birth! He is bold, adventurous, and a natural born leader. He may have a consuming passion in life or a sense of mission. Whatever he's up to -- for good or for ill -- you have a feeling that he will succeed.
Some time ago, we talked about the strong, silent hero, a male stereotype which is often portrayed in books and movies. This stereotype came about because many men in real life are strong and silent, quiet and thoughtful.
Similarly, some men are bold, active, and adventurous. This has lead to another common movie type: the dashing and brave hero.
Suppose we go to see a movie featuring the bold, adventurous man. Unlike the strong, silent type, this man does not have to be pushed into leadership. He already either is in charge or wants to take charge.
In fact, if our hero is very young and hasn't yet learned a lot of life lessons, he may have a higher opinion of his ability to lead than is warranted. He may ignore the advice of older, wiser men to his peril. Iin a movie, which is always tidier than real life, our hero generally learns his lesson without bringing too much injury upon himself and others. After he learns his lesson, his natural leadership qualities become a gift.
Just as the strong, silent hero and the vivacious, outgoing, high-achieving heroine often end up together, the bold, adventurous man usually has a quieter, more thoughtful woman around who adores him. He may not even notice her at first. He's too busy learning how to fly jet planes or hitchin' up the wagon to move west or conquering new worlds in space to notice our quiet-spoken heroine.
However, as the events of the movie unfold, the strong, silent type notices our kind, quiet heroine's true worth. In fact, her quiet courage and her undying loyalty become essential to his success. At the end of the movie, he not only realizes how much he loves her, but he also realizes that without her by his side he would have failed. (I hesitate to use Jerry McGuire as an example as it has some questionable elements in it. But, the character of Jerry McGuire is an ambitious, high-powered, creative man who, after much trial, comes to love and appreciate his quietly loyal wife.)
So, what happens to our bold, adventurous hero and our more quiet-spoken, thoughtful heroine after they ride off into the sunset together? We'd like to believe that everything flows smoothly from that point on. However, we know that there will likely be a few bumps along the way to building a beautiful partnership.
So, what is our quiet, thoughtful heroine to do? If you're married to a bold, adventurous man, here are some ideas you might try:
1) Remember, your bold, adventurous husband counts on your loyal love for him. Once he has wooed you and won you, he may feel secure in your commitment to him. So, he may dash happily off to other adventures -- such as his career or a sport or a mission that he feels strongly about. Meanwhile, you feel neglected, and you may feel that he is neglecting your children, as well. The key in communicating with the bold, adventurous man is not to take his driven nature personally. It's not that he doesn't love you anymore; he's simply an achiever by nature. Once he sets his mind on a goal, he pursues it full bore, and he may not realize the cost this brings to others. Gently and calmly get his attention and talk to him about your needs. (Take note of the examples of Esther and Abigail. They both plead their cases to high-powered men.) Nagging and pushing will be sure to make the bold, adventurous man run in the opposite direction. So, do prepare yourself to speak the truth in love. Also be prepared to discuss this topic again, as you move through different stages in life. If you and your husband cannot solve such dilemmas on your own, seek the counsel of a wise, older couple. Look for a couple who can help you both set your priorities in order. Take heart: a young man who is extremely driven generally becomes more sensitive to his family's needs as he matures.
2) Be thankful that you are married to a man who will accomplish much for good and who will be full of life in the process. Learn how to be a teammate with him. You two will draw closer as you overcome obstacles and bear good fruit together.
3) Your bold, adventurous husband can be a valuable resource as you pursue goals of your own. For example, he will believe that you can start that home business you've been dreaming of, when you, yourself, feel too timid to try. Or, he may be of help if you find yourself in charge of some kind of committee. Learn from your husband's courage and from the fact that bold, adventurous people generally don't fear failure. They see failure as an opportunity to learn, rather than as the end of the world.
4) Watch for the effect your bold, adventurous man has on others. Likely, he will inspire and encourage many, many people. On the other hand, he might bowl over some quieter, less vocal people. If he is a goal-oriented man and you are a "people person", you can be invaluable in helping him understand how other people think. Telling him when he has been inspirational will be easy, but it may be harder to talk to him about the fact that he has hurt someone's feelings. In broaching this subject, be careful not to come across as his mother or to nag him. Simply offer a gentle hint when needed. Also, your husband may pick up on this strength in you and he may ask for your opinions in this area. Be prepared to answer, again speaking the truth in love.
5) The bold, adventurous man may enjoy sports and pursuits that scare you. Sometimes, you may prefer to cheer from the sidelines. That's OK. But, your marriage will benefit if you try to do some exciting things with him, as your physical ability allows you to. Your bold, adventurous husband will appreicate your compaionship, your support, and the fact that you continue to gow and to be an interesting person in your own right. Who knows? You might end up enjoying something new. Your bold, adventurous man will help you develop as a person.
6) The bold, adventurous man is always full of ideas. Remember, that just because he brainstorms about something doesn't mean that he will follow through on it. So, don't over-react every time he makes a suggestion. Listen. Appreciate the merit in what he has said. If nothing else, focus on the positive fact that he is always thinking of ways to improve situaitons. Consider the pros and cons with him without putting him down.
7) The bold, adventurous man may want to move or to start a business or to make some other life change that scares you. Again, don't reject this out of hand. A new challenge might prove to be just what your family needs. Calmly consider the options with him.
8) The bold, adventurous man may be vigorous physically. He may not need as much sleep, rest, or family time as you do. He may unwittingly fill up your mutual schedule with more activities than you can handle. He may expect you to soldier on when you are tired, just like he does. He is not a mind-reader. So, if you want him to understand your needs, you will have to verbalize them. It may take more than one try before he understands that you (and/or your children) simply must have more rest. Gentle words will go farther than getting angry with him or nagging him will. Again, here is where the counsel of a wise couple can help you understand and adapt to each other.
9) In the same vein, the bold, adventurous man may run a lot on the energy of his personality. He might overestimate just how vigorous his body really is. He may need more sleep, more relaxation, and better quality of food than he admits to himself. This is true of my dear husband, and I am currently seeking ways to help him in his efforts to become more thoughtful of his health. (Suggestions, anyone?) Anyhow, this type of man is the famous "Type A" man who goes and goes and goes until he suddenly drops. You can't force him the Type A man take care of himself. But, you can respectfully discuss any concerns you have for his health with him. You can also create an environment in the home that will support him in the decision to lead a healthful life. Fix nutritous meals; ask him if he would like you to pack nutritious snacks for him to take to work; ask him if he will take a relaxing stroll with you after dinner. Give him a back rub. Bring him a glass of tea. Be creative in your endeavors to watch out for his health -- and yours, as well.
10) The bold, adventurous man may not know what to do during those times when he feels vulnerable and weak. He may, for example, be impatient while recovering from a broken leg or devastated when laid off from work. Such times may be hard, but they can also be good for a high-achieving man. They can drive him to seek God rather than to depend on himself. At such times, you can be a great support and comfort. He may not open up to you readily; he may not even understand enough about what he's feeling to put his emotions into words. But, if you continue to support him, he will learn how to voice his vulnerable feelings to you. Don't try to take away his feelings of weakness and vulnerablity; you can't and probably shouldn't. Instead, show him that you love and respect him even in times when he comes face to face with his own humanity.
11) Remember, the bold, adventurous man needs your support. Such a man often cares little what the crowd thinks, but he usually cares deeply what his wife thinks. (Read the story of Michal and David for an example.) Even if your husband gets a lot of attention from others for his achievements, that praise may mean nothing to him unless he knows that you also respect him. Also, if he has not yet acheived his dreams, he needs your continued support to continue to strive for the good. The spiritual danger that presents itself to a high-achieving man is to think more highly of himself than he ought, rather than to be humble and faithful in heart. Thus, a wife may mistakenly try to correct this by withholding the deep respect that he needs from her. Yet, in doing so, she, herself, is violating the Word, and trying to fight wrong with wrong always backfires. In withholding her respect from her husband, such a wife is actually producing the opposite effect than she desires. She is tempting her bold, adventurous man to become even more prideful in his attempts to win her respect. Or, he may give up trying to win her respect and focus more on the encouragment he gets outside of his marriage. Needless to say, this is not healthy.
12) A wife who knows how to give the right kind of support is a high-achieving man's treasure. Though the following saying is true of every man, it's doubly true for the bold, adventurous man: Beside and behind every great man, there is a great woman!