LETTERS TO MY SON: words
Dear Matthew, In Proverbs chapter 31 a mother writes to her son.
I can imagine her sitting at her desk in front of a window. A warm breeze wafts across the pages as she ponders what to write. She starts and then she stops, waddles up and throws away her first attempts, then finally decides to just say it.
And as a mother to a son, I feel that same angst. How do I say what my heart longs for you to hear?
Dare I say it? Should I?
When this mother of a king finally gets up the nerve to write what she knows her son needs to know, she does it, I believe, because she cares more about him than what he thinks about her.
And that’s no easy choice for a mama to make.
There is this nagging worry in every mother’s deep down places that if she’s not careful, if she says the wrong thing, if she says it too often and not just right— her son may move away from her heart and never come back.
And so King Lemuel’s mom and I have much in common. On these pages I’ll attempt to say what I mean in straight up man-talk form. And a few of the things I want to say I’ll probably say all wrong and too much. After all, women talk a whole lot different than men do.
We converse in circles and long sentences with lots and lots of before and after softening so we don’t hurt anybody’s feelings or step on toes or push people away from the relationship we crave and can never get enough of and don’t ever want to lose… yeah, like that.
Men talk short.
But before I even get started, let me tell you something you need to know about women:
We love words and we love with words.
Some women talk a lot right from the get-go. You meet such a woman with a manly “hey”, and you get a paragraph thrown at you out of nowhere. The shorter your response, the longer hers will be. Because talkative women think that the way to coax a man to open his heart to her is to talk.
And talk. And talk some more.
You know these kinds of women because they’re my best friends. I love women who can carry the conversation, dragging me along into their fascinating world of verbal response. I can just listen and nod and throw in an occasional mh-mh to keep the bonfire burning.
Some men reject these kinds of women because they think they’re too much. Or that they’ll require too much from them. Or that all that verbosity signals something sinister like… neediness.
And sometimes it does… but most often those really talkative women are just a little nervous. And words start flowing like a broken pipe spewing water. Once she gets started she just can’t turn it off for the life of her. She’s terrified of silence and is begging you to jump into the flow and help her.
My advice to you? Be a man and rescue the poor girl.
What she wants is for you to know her. She’s inviting you into relationship at great risk to her heart. She’s bold and brave and beautiful in her attempt to bridge the yawning gap between your maleness and her femininity.
The absolute worst thing you could do, would be to leave her hanging there. Or to look away. Or to laugh. Please, please, don’t ever do that!
Ask her questions. Chime in with your own viewpoint.
Lead the conversation.
Most talkative women will be relieved that you did. Then they’ll settle down to a more reasonable pace of words… and you just might discover a delightful treasure of ideas and thoughts and passions and life.
Other women can barely sputter their thoughts out-loud. They back away in terror that they might say too much, or the wrong thing — so they say nothing.
And that can make men uneasy.
The whole world labels these kinds of women shy. And shy little girls are cute. But shy women? They’re stuck up and remote and cold and anything but cute. And that’s so not fair!
Women are not shy. Quiet maybe, but never shy. Because we women are all about words. Whether those words are streaming out of our mouths or galloping across our minds, we’re always talking. Always.
My advice to you? Be a man and rescue the poor girl!
What she wants is for you to help her. Just like the talkative girl, she longs to be known. And liked. She wants to know you too but doesn’t have the courage to overcome her angst about all that maleness standing in front of her to ask.
I know all about this kind of girl because that’s who I was when I met your dad. My mind would be racing with words that caught in my throat because I was so terrified that if those words left my tongue they’d just hang uncomfortably in the air between us.
So I said nothing.
But that didn’t stop your dad from talking. He led me into conversation. And as you know, I’m anything but shy now.
I talk. A lot.
And the only difference is that now I know how and now I feel safe and wanted and known.
That’s what a good man can do if he’s willing to lead.
And so, my son, here’s what I want you to know:
whether she’s shy or
she’s way over the top talkative,
needs to share her thoughts like you need to breathe.
If you’ll pave the way and lead her skillfully, you’ll discover a land you never knew existed… a land that’s filled with ideas and dimensions and help and wisdom and perspective that you’ll never glean from just your guy friends.
And that, my dear son, is worth talking about.
P.S. For next week’s post I’ve listed and explained 10 WAYS A MAN CAN LEAD A WOMAN WELL WITH WORDS.