Teaching Men How to Fight Like a Girl
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:11
The fundamental scheme of the devil is wrapped up in his very name. Words mean things, but perhaps no name has ever carried the weight of reality like the transliterated version of the Greek word, "diabalos." Anyone who has ever ordered the "El Diablo" Platter at their favorite Mexican restaurant knows that it will hurt you. His name describes his stragegy. He only purpose in life is to steal, kill and destroy. He has earned the nick name, "The Enemy." Diabolos is formed by associating two other descriptive words that when connected mean "to throw against or accuse." Satan is the accuser who is fond of raising doubts about what we believe or the people we love. He does this in order to cause us to believe that what we believe or who we love really do not have our best interests at heart. His whole nature is one of absolute selfishness. He glorifies self-gratification, and drowns people by gagging them in a deep ocean of salt water. The more they drink the thirstier they become. If they do not stop trying to quench their thirst for self-satisfaction, they will become victims of their own self-destruction.
"Teaching Men How to Fight Like a Girl" warns men to prepare themselves for the likeliehood that they are not born with the capacity to fight breast cancer the way it must be engaged. Men want an enemy to stand up to them and take them on mano a mano. The winner of the fight has their hand lifted over their beaten opponent. There is a feeling of exhileration that comes from pounding a threatening force into silent submission. Men are looking for a good clean fight. No biting, no clawing, no gouging, or punching in the clinches and definitely no hitting below the belt. Breast cancer fights dirty. It hits the one you love the most, and leaves you with a feeling of impotency when you find out you are helpless to do anything about it.
The news can always be trusted to supply a limitless number of high profilce stories of celebrities, politicians, sports heros, and ministers who have been unfaithful to their wives. Men are creative and relentless in their capacity to rationalize their behavior because their needs are not being met. Their spouse has not lived up to their expectation, and they allow someone else to enter into their lives as a substitute soul-mate.
Without being too graphic, men who are determined to remain faithful to their wives as they face the extended war with cancer need to know the playground has been closed and they are entering a war zone. War changes priorities. In peace time there can be discussions of personal preference and dialogues about needs being met. In war it is about survival. Women who are dealing with cancer have little emotional energy lelft to be the care giver or nurterer some men have entered into marrage to find. They need a woman to scratch their itch, but cancer is like falling naked into a field of poison ivy. It will make a man itch in places he has never had to reach for before. Men who are interested in fighting cancer must become focused on bringing everything they have to the battleline. They must learn that they do not have the luxury of returning to business as usual until the enemy is defeated.
That sounded a bit ethereal. Let me be a little clearer on the subject. If your marriage relationship is based on what you can get out of your wife, rather than what you can give to her, then your marriage is going to be in real trouble, and soon. Breast cancer changes a woman's priorities and it will interfere big time with a man's personal preferences. Don't fall for the enemy's propaganda campaign that it will wage 24-7 in your mind. You may consider yourself a man of faith and fidelity, but no matter how many "Promise Keeper" conferences you have attended, or marriage enrichment books you have read, it is time to call for reinforcements.
Zig Ziglar used to say that he didn't believe that a person became what they thought about. I once heard him say, "If it was true that man becomes what he thinks about then I would have been a woman by the time I was sixteen." Great line, Zig. Men do think about women... alot. The problem is that they do not dwell on what they can do for women, but what women can do for them. One of the maxims of life that I have observed is, "Men will promise love in exchange for sex. Women will offer sex in order to receive love." Breast cancer will hit a man right in his core values. Remember I said it would hit below the belt so put on your cup before you step into the ring.
The ash heap of history is filled with stories of men who believed women were put on earth to meet their needs. Men who have this perspective of women will suffer from battle fatigue and start looking for someone to provide for them what their wife no longer can give to them. Male PMS has been described as Power, Money, and Sex. This means a man may not become a victim of his lust for another woman. He may throw himself into his career, or become focused on financial succes so that he can spend his energy on a battle that he can fight on his own terms.
The fact remains. Breast cancer turns a woman inward. A man who has been used to being the focus of his wife's attention has to know that she will be forced by the fight to focus all her powers and energy on learning a new vocabulary, changing eating habits, reversing sleep patterns, exposing herself to strangers, driving thousands of miles to doctor's appointments, receiving chemo, losing her hair, and hearing countless numbers of horror stories from people who feel compelled to remind her that they know someone who died in the war with cancer.
So what is a man to do? First things first. Repeat this phrase. "This is not about me." Second: Act like what you have just said is the truth, and not just a pious platitude. Some ideas come to mind. Clean her toilet, vaccum the house, wash the dishes, cook a meal the way she needs to eat, and bite your tongue when she isn't as attentive to your needs as you have come to expect. Third: Find a trusted friend and repeat out loud the lies that the enemy is constantly playing in your head. Have this friend on the speed dial of the communication device of your choice. Fourth: Take no prisoners. The fight against breast cancer requires a relentless destruction of the thoughts, and tricks of the enemy. If you flirt with an invasive thought longer than 20 seconds, then you are rationalizing the disastrous results that are meant by this incoming stealth missile to the mind. Five: Place your arms around your wife, and hold her as you pray with and for her when the cancer drains her resources and she is running on empty. This will be the hardest for most men because they have always considered prayer to be women's work. Remember this is not about you and the title is, "Teaching Men How to Fight Like a Girl."
When Senator Edwards of North Carolina was campaigning for the office of President of the United States, he carried on a clandestine affair with a temporary staffer. He cheated on his wife, and secretly fathered a child and supported the woman who bore his daughter out of wedlock. It seemed to be a shock to the most hardened media mouthpiece. They sputtered increduoulsy that he did this while his wife was fighting breast cancer. Over and over again it was played over the airwaves that it was a particualarly calloused treatment of his wife to do this while she was in a fight for her life. I am no defender of this man's behavior, but I do know where it comes from. It is in the heart of every man who believes his wife is put on this earth to meet his needs. When those needs are not met, then that same man will begin to rationalize his resentment into a strategy to have his needs met. King David had many wives and concubines, but still felt the need to have Bathsheba scratch his itch. Sin for a season always produces bitter fruit.
When the battle with breast cancer begins, a shift of priorities takes place. A woman who has always had time and energy to be a nurturing, loving force for others calls upon all her resources and reserves to bring the best she has to the fight of her life. A man who wants to learn how to fight like a girl will get over himself, and follow her lead. He must admit he is unprepared for what is ahead, and find strength in his Lord in order to supply God's kind of love for his lady. This kind of love does not keep an account of what is owed. It must be done without any expectation of a return on his investment.
When a man prays with his wife in the fight of her life, he must get out of the pity bunker. When he prays for her, he takes his place by the side of the one he loves the most. It is not a natural thing for him to do. It feels funny to him because he is finally fighting outside of his comfort zone for the love of his life. The schemes of the enemy will not be quite so effective because they are calling in the heavy artillery, and God is sending His own "shock and awe" missiles into the camp of the enemy. If you listen carefully you can hear the schemer screaming, "INCOMING!"
"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial...Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." James 1: 12-14