Early in my marriage, maybe even before I was married, I heard a speaker say that one of the main things a woman seeks in marriage is security. I think the teaching came from James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. If it was someone else, I am sorry; I try to give credit to the right person whenever I can.
It was a good lesson to learn early on. It has served us well over time. I continue to learn the significant nuances of what this means.
As I was thinking of how to communicate this, the movie TITANIC came to mind. On the surface TITAINIC looks like a movie about a tragic accident at sea. That is not the case. The story is about Rose DeWitt Bukater who is speeding on a crash course to disaster. She is engaged Cal Hockley, a rich, handsome young man, that can provide financial security for Rose and her mother. The problem is that Rose doesn’t love him and he views Rose as another one of his possessions. Although she will have financial security she is at her wits’ end. There is something missing, something much more important. She becomes suicidal and is ready to jump off the back of the ship. Jack Dawson sees her and comes to the rescue.
Rose is intrigued by the daring young man who would apparently risk his own life to save hers. Jack is the antithesis of Cal. Jack has no money, no home and no solid plan for the future. Jack is an artistic free-spirit, spontaneously moving from one adventure to another.
Why would Rose be interested in Jack rather than Cal? What does he have to offer?
As a father, when I see a movie like this I cringe. I am afraid that my daughters will see a movie like this and decide that they want to run off with some flighty, irresponsible, free-spirit, adventure seeking artist and ruin their lives. A young man will lead her on an adventure and then tire of her and move on to someone else. Jack has a lot of those qualities and it is a little scary to watch. Part of the story is Rose rejecting being forced into a mold and choosing her own way. There is this element of youthful, rebellious adventure.
So Jack could offer rebellious adventure, but was that the whole story? Is that really what Rose was looking for? I don’t think so. Cal could give Rose financial security but he destroyed her emotional security. Jack on the other hand valued her. He came to her rescue more than once. He stood up for her. He valued her opinions and encouraged her to express herself. He wanted to share experiences with her. As the Titanic began to sink Jack was strong. He never gave up in trying to save Rose and himself. He was innovative and courageous. Even in the most hopeless of situation Rose felt secure as long as she was with Jack. To the very last moment Jack worked to make Rose secure; to make her believe that she could survive, and she did.
It is important for a man to provide security for his woman. Often we see this in terms of financial security, and that is very important, but it doesn’t end there. I learned some of these lessons early in marriage. A couple of times Beckie had come to me with some things that she was sure would shake up our relationship. I suppose they could have, but they didn’t. I assured her that they didn’t matter and that nothing was going to challenge my love for her. Someone has said that love is a choice and at those points I made a choice to love Beckie.
Early in our marriage we had some points of adjustment. Okay they were arguments, as much as Beckie argues (we really don’t argue and I can thank Beckie for that). The first few times it happened I saw fear in Beckie’s eyes. It suddenly dawned on me that the way I was reacting to her was shaking her security. I backed off and have tried to be sensitive ever since.
Much later in our marriage I went through a long period of unemployment. We were secure in our relationship so we weathered it rather well to begin with. I learned some important things during that time. One was that I could not find my security in a job or my ability to earn money. I needed to shift my confidence from myself to God. God is my provider and protector. He is the one in whom I should place my faith. It was an important lesson to learn. Since that time I have worried much less about money. Whether I have it or not really doesn’t matter much because my security is in the Lord.
Emotional security became much more important than financial security. If we were secure in our relationship with each other then we would we able to handle the financial stress. Our faith contributed to our emotional security. I heard a quote once that I really like, “An atheist is a person with no invisible means of support.”
I relate that like it was an easy lesson, it was not. I was without work, picking up odd jobs here and there, for almost a full year. As time went on Beckie felt more and more of the responsibility for the family. She was under a lot of stress but she tried not to show it. It was not right for me to let that burden fall on her. As we neared the one year mark, my confidence began to fail. When you have been without work for a few months, you can prop yourself up with, ‘It is just temporary. Something will come along soon.’ But when it has gone on for almost a year you question yourself. You begin to wonder if there is something wrong with you. You wonder if you will ever work again. Maybe you will become one of those families that live forever on public assistance. By then we were reaching a point that Beckie would have the additional stress of trying to support me emotionally as I was giving up. God in His mercy provided me with a job and we did not fall into total despair.
That year was 1990. It is now 2015 and I experienced another layoff. We have learned the lessons of the past and our confidence is in God as our provider and protector. But there were still lessons to learn. I knew that if I would place my full confidence in God that my faith would be contagious and that Beckie could feel confident in God also. We would be secure even though we were on a sinking ship. She would look to me to lead in faith. What I didn’t realize was how that works. We decided to spend some time seeking the Lord’s direction. I told Beckie that even though I often pray for God’s direction, I often don’t feel like I receive a clear indication from God as to what I should do. This seemed pretty normal for me so it didn’t really bother me. I have often seen people overstate their “Leading from the Lord”, and I don’t want to be one of those people.
When I shared this with Beckie, I saw that look in her eyes again. It was fear. I realized what was happening. We were seeking God for direction. She was looking to me to receive that direction from God and I was telling her not to trust my ability to discern God’s leading. Once again I could see that her security was shaken. I could see that I was placing responsibilities on her that clearly should belong to me.
The burden was on me to do a better job of seeking the Lord, discerning His leading and providing leadership in taking action. As it worked out I still did not hear a voice from heaven but I do think that God clearly led. I don’t think this is the last time we will be in a learning situation like this. Each time l learned a little bit more about myself a little bit more about faith and my amazing God, and a little bit more about Beckie and the emotional security of a women.
I hope you have learned some things through my sharing.