Book Plunge: I Wish He Had Come With Instructions- The Woman’s Guide To A Man’s Brain

What do I think of Mike Bechtle’s published by Revell books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So why would I, a married guy, read a book written for women on how to understand men? Because a married man likes myself is always trying to understand myself as well. We guys are often seen as simple creatures, and to some extent we are, but there are also facets about ourselves that we don’t understand.

Bechtle’s book helps to bring these out. One rule he starts off with seems obvious, but it’s one we often forget. Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking. They’re usually wrong and will only lead to trouble. Don’t bother. Try to find out in their own words what they’re thinking.

He also points out that women usually see men as having faulty thinking. It’s amazing that in our culture, men are told that they need to be more like women in the name of “equality”, but strangely enough, women don’t get the opposite message.

Bechtle says that we need to also not focus on our differences, but first on what we have in common. Those are far greater. Some of those differences, after all, will never change because one person is male and the other is female. At this point, it’s good to point out that the material in this book is not just good for husbands and wives, but other relationships, like mothers and sons.

If you want to see the other person changed, don’t try to change them directly. Don’t try to fix them. No one likes that. Instead, show them they’re loved and accepted as they are and give them a safe place. Many a man will change on his own.

It’s also important to note that Bechtle writes what he does assuming good and healthy males. This does not apply to a situation where abuse is taking place. If this is you in a relationship, this book is not for you and you need to get some help immediately.

Another recurring theme is that when men are little boys, they want an audience to see what they’ve done. I remember I wanted to show my parents my beating video games and when I got together with the other boys, I was always happy to show them how it was that you were supposed to beat the boss. Well, what happened to that boy when he grew up? He got taller. He’s still the same boy and especially in a marriage, he’s more often than a woman realizes trying to say to his wife, “Look at me! Look at me!”

In the marriage relationship, which will be my primary focus, this is another reason a man will often want to do anything to make his wife happy. He is still trying to impress her and if he feels rejected, it strikes him greatly. This is another point. All men are really insecure. We put on a brave face, but there’s a hidden insecurity.

Every man is in competition it seems with every other man. To go back to video games, this is one area where my friends and I constantly challenged one another growing up. I remember I got Chronotrigger after my best friend at the time had had it for a week. We were still in a competition to see who could finish it first. Naturally, the only reason I bring up that competition is to point out that I did finish it first. I think four hours before he did actually.

This is why praise from a woman means so much to a man. It tells him that the relationship is still good. If men experience or don’t experience something in a relationship that leads them to think something is wrong, they’re not as able to function. Their mind is going back to what they think a problem is and trying to fix it. We aim to impress.

There are also several quotes he has from men that they wish women knew. The ideas are ones I’ve felt in my own marriage. We think you’re pretty as you are and mean it so please stop arguing with us when we say it. We understand you put on make-up, but we think you look great naturally. Confidence is extremely beautiful to us and we want you to have confidence around us.

He also pointed out that men connect with activity, which did help me understand some things. Why is it that I want to watch that TV show only when my wife is around? Because it’s not just about the show, but it’s also about connecting with her. This is something we do together.

Also, men want to feel desired. We don’t just want to be a duty necessity that you have to please. If you flirt with us, it can change our outlook for the day. For me, something I like is holding my wife close and just having her rest her head on my chest. It means a lot. It tells me she feels safe with me, something I thought a woman would never ever think.

Men also tend to be more singularly focused. Now this might not apply to me as I do tend to multitask in everything that I do, but it does explain why we can zone out. Have a man watching a game and his wife talking to him and he won’t hear everything going on. She doesn’t understand it. For him, he’s just caught in another world. He’s not trying to be rude.

Men also have a desire to be a hero. Listen to a news story about a guy who suddenly becomes a hero one day, like Sully. What is every man thinking? “I want to be that guy.” Look at the video games he plays and the movies he watches. Those usually involve a hero the guy wants to be like. (It’s also amazing how many times the hero does something to impress the woman. That’s how men see romance.)

So ladies, your man might not ever be a Sully and receive worldwide acclaim for something, but you know what will suffice for him? If he gets to be your hero. If you treat him as the man who has rescued you and swept you off your feet, you will leave him walking tall.

Let’s go a step further. Your guy could be the hero to everyone else out there, but if he doesn’t think he’s your hero, he doesn’t care. None of it matters. Your man wants to be your hero more than anyone else’s. He would rather be a failure to everyone else and a hero to you than vice-versa.

This also means ladies that be very careful about criticizing your man. If he goes and cleans the dishes for you and does it wrong, if you start immediately telling him what he did wrong, he will get the opposite message. He has been criticized and his ability, which means his masculinity, has been called into question. It’s safer to not risk that again.

Start off with praise first. Praise is huge to a man. Give him praise when he does good and he will listen. Praise him when he does the dishes and then show him how he can make it even better and he will wash the dishes every time for that praise.

This is definitely true ladies. As I heard a man say years ago, many a man will do something absolutely stupid and reckless just to hear some other guy say, “You the man!” It means that much to us.

Some women will also wonder why their husband was Prince Charming when dating but turned into a slob when they married or just didn’t seem to take it as seriously. Let me also bring out something Becthle doesn’t mention. Many men I know say “My wife couldn’t keep her hands off of me when we were dating and now that we’re married she’s suddenly switched.” Yeah. It frustrates us also. Men do this because we are better at conquering than maintaining. We got your heart. We won the prize. We tend to think it’s time to go on to the next endeavor in the relationship. (I will say I do not think I am like this. I am still always trying to sweep my Princess off her feet.)

Also, for the most part, men don’t understand emotions. They tend to have fear or anger as their main emotions. Be aware of this in disagreement.

Also, men do connect with doing as I said, but men all still like to play. They want to play with the women in their lives. This doesn’t mean just sex, although it sure does include that, but it means any activity together. Maybe it might not seem like fun to you, but it does to him. We want the relationship to be fun.

Men also do indeed need sex in a marriage, but something they want more is passion. They want to know you’re excited. You see sex with them as a privilege and not just a duty. Think about it women. How many of you want your guy to treat you to a dinner date and then just say, “Well let’s just make this quick” or “I guess if we have to go out we have to.” You want him to really enjoy his time with you and consider it a chance to connect. That’s how your man views sex and when you are passionate and eager for him, it tells him that he is desirable. When you are not and he is just duty sex, it tells him he’s not. Actions speak louder.

Becthle’s book is full of great insights. Not just women need to read this. Men do too. Perhaps even, dare I say it, husbands and wives go through this together. I can imagine a wife many times saying “Is that true?” and hearing “Yep” and being amazed. Men are simple creatures, but maybe we’re not as simple as you think.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Shiro Taught Me About Trust

Can our feline friends have something to teach us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you’re a reader of my blog, there are facts about me you might have noticed. One you might have known is that my wife and I recently moved to Atlanta where I could assist my father-in-law, Michael Licona, with his ministry. The second is that we are cat owners. Our kitty is a white ball of fur named Shiro, the Japanese word for white.

Shiro

Shiropose

We moved on Wednesday and the Tuesday night before, we cleared all the furniture out of our old house. We spent the night next door with my parents. We did, aside from our little Shiro since my parents have two cats already and Shiro up there would have been a recipe for chaos. Shiro stayed at the old house on Tuesday night. We stopped by to feed him on our way home from going out to eat of course.

When we went down the next morning, and we had been eager to check on him, he really wanted nothing to do with us. It took awhile to even get him to eat anything, but he looked at us entirely with distrust. From a cat’s perspective, it’s understandable. He had just had his world turned upside down. Unfortunately, to get him in his kitty carrier, we essentially had to trap him in a room and I had to just grab him and he had to be put inside it, and of course, he never likes that.

We had given him something from the vet meant to calm him down and we were pleased that he did not whine as much as we thought he would on the trip, but at the same time, I wondered if he had a defeatist attitude. Had he resigned himself to a negative fate? After all, we had rescued Shiro at an apartment complex where his old owners had abandoned him. What if he had thought that was happening again?

All the while I kept wanting to explain to him that he would like where he was going. We were doing this to him because we love him and we wanted to have him with us on our journey. We got him here and I had Allie go to a master bathroom connected with the master bedroom and just stay with him. When we got more furniture in the bedroom, we were able to let him out and let him stay in those two rooms.

He ran and hid under the dresser.

The next few days were concerning for us. It was like we couldn’t get Shiro to eat anything. He stayed hidden all day long. We talked to our vet back home and several friends who are cat owners who assured us that this was normal behavior. It was really hard on us that we did all this for Shiro because we wanted to have him with us everywhere and yet he hid and treated us like threats.

Already now, it looks like things are back to normal. As I sit here and write this, it is almost time to feed him and he is doing his best to make sure that I know that. I regularly hear him whining. He has a new cat tree now courtesy of my mother-in-law. He still hasn’t really explored it yet, but give it time. He sometimes still wakes us up at night, but he’s just getting used to the timing.

So what does this have to do with anything?

The difference between a human being and a cat is quite large. What difference is even larger? The difference between God and a human being. We’re talking with God about a being who knows everything, including all of the future, and He knows how everything will work out. We’re also talking about, if we’re Christians, a being who has done more than enough to demonstrate His love for us.

And yet as soon as something happens that we don’t understand, we’re just as prone to think that God has wronged us or is going to abandon us or isn’t looking out for us. It never occurs to us that things that seem painful and disturbing to us could be for our good. We just look at what we’re going through and then think only about that experience and don’t look at how God will use it.

We cannot literally do it, but in some ways we try to hide from God. We don’t go about our lives as we normally would when we think we have His favor. Oh when we think we have His favor we can tell everyone about the goodness of God and we can pray and read our Bibles and worship happily, but when evil strikes or even just something we don’t understand, we quickly change all of that.

A lot of times we might want an answer, but could we really handle one? What all might God have to explain about the future that we couldn’t possibly understand? I would have loved to have been able to talk to Shiro and tell him why everything was happening as it was, but he would not understand. If I cannot explain the ways of man to a cat, how much harder would it be to explain the ways of God to us, mere human beings?

What’s really sad is that with a cat, we could say a cat doesn’t know better, and in essence we’d be right, but we do know better. We as Christians do know all that God has done for us in the past. We know that He sent His son for us, and yet when evil strikes, we forget all about that.

In fact, this is often where our pride steps in. We treat ourselves like the exception. Oh sure, God will do that for everyone else and God loves everyone else, but not me. It’s like we go to John 3:16 and see that God so loved the world, except there’s that little asterisk that has next to it supposedly “Except Steve” or “Except Kim” or “Except Mark.” We read in Romans 5 that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, unless you’re John, Margaret, or Tyler.

Pride and shame are two sides of the same coin. In both cases today, we use them to treat ourselves as if we’re exceptional. We’re either exceptionally greater than we think or exceptionally worse than we think and we put whatever that is on God. Unfortunately, we are being just like Shiro. There is a world of good out there waiting for us and we refuse to come out and enjoy it because we do not trust in God.

You see, I can look at Shiro and think “Shiro. We do everything for you. We shower you with love constantly. We protect you from everything and give you so many good things. Why is it that as soon as we do something that seems different, you act like we’re out to get you?” Whenever I think like that though, I can often picture God looking at me and saying “Good questions. I’ve been asking you them for years.”

So right now, there’s a little white ball of fur in the doorway of my office here. I’m about to go feed him soon and he knows again that he can rely on my hand to take care of him. Will I not take this time to learn more that there is a hand greater than mine that is taking care of me even when it might not look like it?

In Christ,
Nick Peters