...it's difficult for men to accept that we can't fix relationships like one might fix a car or mend a fence. And that's a hard pill for us to swallow.
Surprisingly, most women are clueless as to why the men in their lives react the way they do, especially when it comes to solving problems in relationships. They're puzzled by the anger and frustration that men display when faced with a problem involving human feelings. The reason for women's confusion is simple. Your average female does not understand how fragile the male ego can be.
We guys are goal-oriented. It's the way God made us. It's one of the key things that make men different from women. Where women find most of their personal value in their relationships, we get much of ours from our accomplishments. The goals that we reach, the respect those accomplishments bestow on us, are deeply woven into the fabric of the male psyche. Therefore, much of our sense of value comes from our perceived ability to fix things.
As far as men are concerned, when we fix something around the house, we view it as no less than another goal achieved. “I did it! Mission… accomplished!” “I seen m'job and I done it!” It makes us feel good about ourselves--about the way our family perceives us. It's a way of impressing our wives. It builds men up when we are praised for our ability to fix things. Yes, it feels great. It satisfies that inherent need for praise and respect that men possess. However, herein lies the rub as far as the male ego goes.
Guys, because we see ourselves as the great fixer, we think we can fix everything and indeed must fix everything. The problem, however, with this line of reasoning is simple. We can't fix everything , especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Therefore, it's difficult for men to accept that we can't fix relationships like one might fix a car or mend a fence. And that's a hard pill for us to swallow. No matter how well meaning men may be, we become frustrated when we fail at mending broken hearts or patching up a rift in a relationship. We sometimes forget that people are much more complex than a lawnmower. We can't fix them. As painful as it is for us to admit it, they need a specialist... and we're not it.
We can't fix our wives or kids like fixing a leak in the shower. It takes a lot of emotional finesse and sensitivity. Sadly, we men are not exactly famous for those particular skills. So, when our attempts at fixing interpersonal relationships end in disaster, it's easy for us to see ourselves as failures.
I spent most of my life seeing myself as a failure in that area. I made a lot of very stupid choices as a young man— a lot ! Most were in the realm of marriage and no matter how hard I tried to fix my marriage, it still fell apart.. I then took it very personal. “I failed!” It didn't matter to me what she did or didn't do. It didn't matter who was to blame. As far as I was concerned, I was responsible. After all, I'm the man—the head of the home. I should have been able to fix it ! What a loser!!!!
Ultimately, I found myself caught in a vicious pattern of behavior that nearly killed me. Despair overwhelmed me. Then I learned this one fundamental, life-changing truth. I'm not God!
I came to realize that my ability to fix anything is at best... finite. There are two types of problems we all face in life. There are those problems to which, with God's help, I can try to find a human resolution. Then there's the second kind. I call them “God problems.” They're unpleasant situations that I can't do a thing about. There's no human resolution. It is an I'm-stuck-up-against-the-Red Sea-with-no-way-out problem--a God problem. Only He can do something about it. Only He can fix it. Human ingenuity can't touch it. It needs the miraculous fixing skills of Almighty God.
When this liberating truth finally registered with me, it unshackled me in ways that I could only have imagined. I'm not God! Wow! There are things that I can't possibility fix! So, why get angry or frustrated? What a revelation! Glory!!! And to be perfectly blunt, many of the problems I was facing, and had labored in vain to fix, were aggravated by my prideful intervention! I felt like I had to fix it and only managed to make matters worst!
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14 NIV )
These days I'm slowing learning to back away when I realize that I'm facing a God problem. “Let go and let God,” is my motto these days. I admit that backing away is a difficult thing to do for anyone, especially for us men. We have difficulty seeing that line between what is a human solution problem and what is a God solution problem. Our inherent desire to fix everything often blinds us and we can't the difference. Sequentially, our ego makes it more difficult for us to turn it over to God. (Even though it's mostly a guy thing, I dare say some of you ladies have the same difficulty differentiating between the two types of problems as well.)
So guys, take this message to heart. God is God and you are not. Fix what you can and leave the God problems to the expert. You'll be a whole lot happier.
Now... go fix the screen door.