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What Men Really Think: A Q&A with David Murrow
Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
What Your Husband Isn't Telling You
A Guided Tour of a Man's Body, Soul, and Spirit
By David Murrow
Questions and Answers with David Murrow
Why did you write What Your Husband Isn't Telling You?
Two years ago I found myself in a four-day residential treatment program for addicts. (Disclosure: I'm not an addict.) I learned more about men and their secrets in those four days than I had in thirty years of churchgoing. I realized men were desperate to share these things with their wives but had no idea how. I took this as God's prompting to write a book about the things men aren't telling their wives.
You identify two roles Adam assumed at the fall - two roles that dominate everything your husband says, thinks, and does. What are these roles?
Before the fall, God was the earth's sole protector and provider. But when sin entered the world, Adam took on these roles. These are still the roles that define men today. If a man is healthy as a protector and a provider, he's a healthy man. Unfortunately, most men are either over- or under-developed as protectors and providers. This leads to all kinds of dysfunction.
What's the biggest secret men aren't telling their wives?
The person your husband protects most is himself. He learned how to survive as a boy, and he's still living out these survival strategies today. This cage of self-protection keeps your husband alive, but at a terrible price.
You claim most women don't really know their husbands.
That's right. Most wives rarely see their true husbands. Instead, they see their husbands' survival strategies—anger, boasting, isolation, drinking, greed, control, and more. There's a good man locked inside, but he has a hard time coming out. Even Christian husbands struggle to live open, honest, and free lives.
What's the biggest struggle men face today?
Our role as protectors and providers is being redefined in this generation. Men are no longer "needed" to the degree they once were. They are losing their esteemed place in society and the home. This is why so many guys are retreating from responsibility and losing themselves in diversions of every kind. Why should a man assert himself in a world that's increasingly hostile to him and his gifts?
Why don't men share what they really think and feel?
Society punishes men who share their true feelings. Imagine a teenage boy sitting with friends in the school cafeteria. He says, "Hey guys, I'm struggling with some fears. Can I share my heart with you?" Such a boy would be laughed out of the room. As men grow up, things only get worse. Modern society rejects men who talk about their true feelings. Even more devastating, many women punish their husbands when they speak the truth.
What? Women punish their husbands for telling the truth?
Absolutely. Imagine a husband comes to his wife and says, "There's a woman at work who's flirting with me. I want to stay faithful to you, honey, but I've got to admit I'm struggling." Very few women would reward their husbands for such candor. Instead, most women would become upset. Men learn early in their marriages that the key to a happy home is to keep their true feelings to themselves.
What can a woman do to help her husband open up and say what he's really thinking and feeling?
Make your husband a promise: I will not punish you for telling me the truth. Even if you say, "That dress makes you look fat," I will not pout, cry, or make you sleep on the sofa." I ask women all the time, "What would you rather have—a husband who tells you the truth, or a husband who lies to you to keep you from melting down?"
How can a woman encourage her husband's spiritual life?
Many men see religion as a "woman's thing." So they back off. The best thing you can do for your husband is to defer to him in spiritual matters. Let him take the lead. He should choose the church. Encourage him to find Christian friends. Be careful not to outshine him when you pray. And most important, get together with other women to pray for the men in your lives.
What's the most powerful thing a woman can do to encourage her man?
Smile at him. Boys are trained at an early age to please women—Mom, teacher, babysitter, Grandma. Young men learn that when women smile at them, they are doing OK. You can still use this tool to make him feel loved and accepted. Show him God's grace with your face.