Created To Be Relational
When God uttered the words, “It is not good for man to be alone” in Genesis 2, I believe He was in essence saying, “He needs more.” He realized man had relational needs beyond what He could offer. Adam needed someone he could talk with face to face; he needed someone he could touch; he needed someone with skin on.
Immediately following this realization, God tried finding that someone amongst the animals and birds He created, but none were suitable. So God, in all His brilliance, created woman. He created us to fill that relational need. Our primary purpose of creation was to relate to man, really to anyone within our world. Our primary function is to be relational. So what do we do with that?
Well, I know what I’ve done with it. I’ve run from it. I’ve hidden from it. I’ve tried to control my way out of it. I feared my heart and what it would say about me. I feared getting too close, or should I say I feared others getting too close to me. I kept others at a distance with a know-it-all attitude, used more words than anyone needs to use or that anyone wants to hear, controlled every conversation into a self-centered monologue of my own stories that had very little substance. Even though my soul was created to crave connection, my heart and mind didn’t know how to connect with others.
After the revelation of my affair, I became determined to learn what it meant to be relational. I learned it had more to do with authenticity and connection than with what I thought I knew and feared. As you venture into this scary realm of authentically connecting with your heart, remember that you were created for this. Your mind may not understand what that means, but your heart and soul can grow into the woman God designed you to be rather than the woman the world has demanded you be.
And guys, women want to know that you want to try to understand us, even though sometimes we don’t understand us. This should come in the form of knee-to-knee, face-to-face conversation. We know that shoulder-to-shoulder is generally more comfortable for you, but remember Ephesians 5 that says a husband’s love is marked by giving, not getting? Yeah, that’s the kind of listening I’m talking about. We want your full attention. We don’t want you to watch the game with one eye and gaze lovingly into our eyes with the other.
If it’s the game you’ve been waiting all week to watch, let us know you’ll give us your full attention as soon as the game is over. We would rather you put down the book you are reading and focus your attention on our words than someone else’s. And if you connect more deeply with your 923 friends on Facebook than with your wife (this applies to us, too, ladies), a shift in priorities may be in order.
And please just listen to us. Don’t try to fix, just listen. If we need a solution to a problem, we promise to be clear on that. When you don’t listen to us, as wrong as it might be, the temptation is to find someone else to share the deepest part of our hearts with as we try to figure out this created-to-be-relational part of our souls. Sometimes this can be healthy in the form of loving friendships with other women who will hold us accountable for our actions and words and who will hold us up to the One who listens to us all. Sometimes this can be disastrous (and perhaps the reason you’re reading this book) in the form of an all-too-friendly acquaintance who would jump at the chance to show just how good a listener he can be. This is when we enter the danger zone. Know why? Because we were designed to crave connection. We were built for it. And sometimes we let that craving cloud our judgment, just like it does when we get a craving for a big slice of chocolate cake for breakfast. Be our chocolate cake so we aren’t tempted by that big slice of danger that will drive a wedge between us with disastrous consequences.
Ladies, how have you embraced or shunned the relational side of your design as a woman?
Men, how have you embraced or shunned the relational side of your wife’s design as a woman?