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In my defense, I had just come from undergoing a medical test done under sedation, which may or may not have loosened my tongue.
Whatever the reason, I said something that embarrassed my husband.
We had stopped at a local restaurant for a burger. I ordered the thickest, beefiest, cheesiest burger on the menu, plus fries and my husband ordered a veggie burger and a salad.
Before the waiter left the table I blurted, “That’s what girls order!”
I don’t remember anything of the meal except how good that burger tasted, nor do I remember what I said until later at home when my husband told me how embarrassed he had been.
Sure I could rationalize it and I was just trying to be funny. Maybe my husband was being overly sensitive. However, that’s not the point. The point is, I embarrassed my husband.
While researching my book, “When He Doesn’t Believe,” I learned a lot about what makes men tick. One of the things that has stuck with me is how men greatly fear being embarrassed or thought inadequate.
A man constantly measures himself next to the “other guy” – like the waiter taking our order.
Just as a woman’s deepest need is to know she’s cherished, a man needs to know he’s OK – as a father, a provider, a husband, a lover, a man. At his core, a man yearns to be a hero to his family.
John Gray, author of “ Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” wrote that women generally don’t know how critical and unloving they sound to the men in their lives. For example, when we offer unsolicited advice or try to “help” men, Gray says it’s the same old saying, “I don’t trust your judgment or your capabilities; I think you’re incompetent.”
Likewise, my “ordering like a girl,” comment especially in front of another man, was emasculating to my husband. It was as if I said,
“You’re not a real man because you didn’t order beef.”
New Testament writer James says, “By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell, (James 3:6, The Message)
I need a tongue-ectomy. But my tongue isn’t the real problem. Jesus said what comes out of my mouth is what’s in my heart and that horrifies me. I might be able to tame my tongue but I’ll never be able to tame my heart.
How grateful I am that Jesus can tame my heart and as I continue to learn of him and what makes men tick, I’m certain that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to use my words to build my husband up, not tear him down.
Plus, next time I’m under sedation, I think when I’m done I’ll just have a bowl of soup.
Nancy Kennedy, author of “Lipstick Grace,” can be reached at 352-564-2927 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.