The Heart: Closed by disinterest or by sanctimony?

Much is written and said about making women feel safe in marriage. She must feel safe to open up to you. She must feel safe to give of herself sexually. The relationship must have long contiguous periods where she feels safe or it is at risk of her finding a better harbor in which to rent a slip. I’ve had an unanswered question on my lips for years. The question is, what does that mean? I have cataloged dozens, maybe hundreds of answers. After eliminating those that themselves made no sense, the others are each and every one, unique. This means that when 20 women say they need to feel safe, 20 women are saying something completely different from one another.

I understand that my lack of clarity stems from my being stuck in my hyper linear thinking that we males are wont to do. But I do not accept that as my problem to solve. If there is something that can be delineated clearly that I/we can do, then let’s have it spelled out please.

In that vein, reading “Creating a safe Marriage” at FoTF today spurred some additional consideration of this issue of feeling safe. They do their best to make this a two directional issue using the language of safeness to describe a need woman and men both have. They offer points that illustrate the nebulous nature of the idea of safeness that has so baffled me for years.

This sounds really cool:

Emotional safety sets a peaceful environment that allows people to relax.

I repeat, what does that even mean? Well, they try to help:

A heart will open only when it feels safe. But what does feeling safe really mean? I asked more than 1,000 couples for help defining emotional safety.

  • Feeling completely secure (What, an alarm system and a concealed carry permit?)
  • Being accepted for who I am ( 1. The person married you and still is married to you. 2. What if who I am is a pedophile? )
  • Feeling relaxed and comfortable (I recommend a spa and a programmable thermostat)
  • Being free to express who I really am (See number 2 above…..really?)
  • Being loved unconditionally (I get this one)
  • Feeling respected (I get this one)
  • Knowing that my spouse is trustworthy (Knowing that someone is trustworthy requires that YOU be willing to trust, this is significant in many ways)
  • Having my spouse be there for me  (20 plus years married, spouse has kept the lights on, changed your tires, tended you when sick, done their part, etc…..and then this “”be there for me” is expressed here as some nebulous emotional need)
  • Being fully understood (Then you must be understandable)
  • Being valued and honored (I get this)
  • Having loving reassurance
  • Being able to open fully in order to give and receive love (Why would you be unable? Ability is yours in terms of giving and receiving)
  • Not being judged (Be careful, ladies, with this one, it was likely a predominantly male response)
  • Being seen for who I am (Oy, again with the who I am)
  • Having my flaws accepted as part of the whole package (Why? Do you not mean the flaws you want to keep?)
  • Living in an atmosphere of open communication (This is likely a female response and ironically, in a topic of open communication, it does not even mean what it says)

Predictably they conflate. Conflation is often how God’s straightforward word gets transformed into nebulous received nonsense:

Emotional safety is not simply a bunch of psychobabble. Safety is, first and foremost, something that our heavenly Father provides for us.

  • The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)
  • Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. (Psalm 16:1)
  • In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, 
make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

Finally, to the point.

Early in the article the writer said something that made me consider the difference between how a man and a woman consider what it means to feel safe in a relationship and how that difference in perception of whether of not each feels safe is not a refection of the same condition in the two genders. Let me explain.

The behaviors men engage in that would result in the wife feeling unsafe are behaviors born more of indifference or distraction. These are not good things, but they are also not malicious, intentional, nor targeted things. I could make the case they that are things that come often as a direct result of the volitional  things a woman does that make the man feel unsafe.

For a man to feel safe, he needs to not feel like he is in the midst of trickery designed to impeach him. He needs to feel that her words are plain, that there is not passive aggressive voice at work, that no manipulation is present, that it is genuine, and that he can truly share something that will not manifest somewhere in a future time and place as some strung together reason for sanctimony. If he shares his struggles with her, will she elevate her moral self image far above his? She should not, in other words, put all his shared things in a pool and let them marinate with each other crating more and new things with which to subtly torture him later.

Her heart is suspicious or at least calculating versus his being indifferent at best and paranoid at worst, or, in short, closed. Is either REALLY safe? Should they be dependent on each other to feel safe emotionally, or should they take feelings of not being safe captive and live openly, confidently, in grace? Grace replaces the need for safety, it doesn’t create safeness.

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13 thoughts on “The Heart: Closed by disinterest or by sanctimony?

  1. I was tempted not to comment since I shall not be around as the convo unfolds, but I just want you to know that your thinking is perfectly fine. The whole “feeling safe” thing seems nebulous to you because it is.

    When I say I feel safe with my husband, I am referring to something more concrete, like we can walk through the old neighborhood and enough people respect him there that we aren’t as likely to get jacked, LOL.

    As for the emptional stuff, I’m kind of stunted, so he doesn’t have to work overtime to make me feel safe emotionally. I don’t even know what that means.

  2. Empath:
    When women say they want a man whom they can feel safe and secure with, they are flat-out lying. In the first place, they can’t resist choosing men who are (not infrequently) violent and dysfunctional thugs.

    In the second place, their inbred ‘all men are pigs’ and ‘nice guys aren’t really nice’ attitudes precludes them from feeling ‘safe’ with any man. All they want is an excuse—a way out from genuine commitment.

  3. The problem is that it’s actually utter nonsense. It’s one of those things people like to say that actually has no basis in reality. “Women need to feel safe” somehow is true along with “women need to feel excited”?

    I read an article in the Huffington Post recently about this woman who got an ‘epiphany’ while on a plane. Essentially she’s with her husband traveling from India and they get the advice from a flight attendant about putting your own mask on first. This gives her this ‘insight’ into how she needs to be ‘compassionate towards herself’ and she tells her husband of six months “I want a divorce.” Apparently she doesn’t feel able to follow her dreams while married. She admits in the article that he’s a good decent man. That he was trying to ask what she wanted, how to work things out. She doesn’t care, she’s done. She is then able to follow her dreams. It is not clear why she was not able to follow her dreams of being an educator of children while being married–she just decided it was so.

    There’s no way that we can get the Church to stop pandering to women or get education systems to, because women are good money for them. We have to stop giving these selfish stupid women a pass though, because the only consequence they will understand is our utter indifference to their insanity and our respect for women who actually know how to be good and decent people.

  4. Eric, yes of course, but they do not really say that safety is what they are after. they do not contradict themselves about real safety….indeed they put themselves in harms way so to speak for the thrill.

    Thats not the safe in the topic

  5. Maybe I was on the plane.

    Wow, what a stupid thing to write. She needs to take care of herself first, her epiphany was more likely created by seeing the uniformed man in the, um, cockpit.

    I am trying to take it to the stupid selfish women by writing about it. I am trying to get other men to do the same by pointing it out. An infinite number of monkeys like me would randomly write, what? Surely not this blog. I have no idea why I said that.

  6. It was the penultimate paragraph that resonated. I believe the sons of Adam take great comfort in knowing AMALT, even our father Adam himself. The daughters of Eve are just as predictable, but each wants to be her own unique brand of sinful.

  7. Empath:
    Emotional and physical safety are closely tied together. Now it may be normal for women to be attracted to men who do exciting things—but that is a proxy of safety; for example a commando has a dangerous job, but a woman knows he can protect her. And if he’s willing to do that, she can feel emotionally safe with him too.

    But a drug-dealing felon with a history of violent abuse towards women is NOT somebody she can feel safe with. Yet that’s the type most women prefer rather than the one mentioned above.

  8. “Vicarious eavesdropping” reminds me of a woman who was perfectly described as being “twice British”. Same thing.

    Your version of #1 describes lots of the women out here in fugly redneckville. Pictures of ’em in camo wieldling assault weapons are almost as common at the singles sites as pictures of them with their kids and/or pets.

    Makes me wonder if there isn’t some secret underground female rebel militia out there.

    Anyway, it doesn’t seem like safety was such an issue back when women were more feminine. Sometimes I think they think we’re all gay and want as masculine a woman as possible, probably because they think we hate femininity as much as they seem to.

    Or something like that. Walking the fine line between indifference and sanctimony is a lot like the one between ignorance and arrogance.

  9. Pingback: Managing our emotional “needs” | Loving in the Ruins

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