For the Women with Walls Around Our Hearts. And for the Men Who Love Us.
There’s been an awfully lot of talk about a wall lately. And not the Pink Floyd variety. But there may be an unassailable wall much closer to home….regardless of where you live.
The one around a woman’s heart.
If there is one quality women value among each other, it’s strength. Women esteem strong women; they command our respect. There is an oft unspoken appreciation among our ilk for those who can master the juxtaposition of femininity and fortitude.
Unfortunately, we often mistake being well-fortified for being strong.
We take up brick masonry at an early age.
We are wall-builders.
This wall is our response to hurt. Father hurt, abuse, rejection, mother hurt, abandonment, loss, being devalued or objectified. Our little girl selves often lack the skills to respond to emotional trauma in a healthy way, so many of us withdraw behind a barricade camouflaged by a winning smile.
Over time our construction technologies become more sophisticated, catalyzed by more hurt until…
…there is no passage in or out.
I have been a woman living behind a wall of her own creation. I liked it there. It felt safe. Really, really safe. Until I realized I was trapped. And realized that “safe” is no way to live a life when it requires us to forfeit love and connection. Scary, scary love and connection.
So, fellas, where does that leave you and your barricaded beauty?
Well, I would send you to a military strategist who knows a little something about the destruction of walls and the capture of walled cities.
[Enter stage right, JOSHUA].
Joshua leads the Israelite army to defeat an impenetrable Jericho with the most unorthodox battle plan in the history of ever. But he is successful so we can probably learn a thing or two if we’re open to it. I suggest reading the first six chapters of Joshua, which I’ve linked above, but I’ll give you a quick recap of what goes down:
- Chapter 1: God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous four different times; He tells him to be careful to obey God’s Word, and He tells him to get ready to take the land God has already given him. God tells Joshua in advance that he’s going to win, but he has to go fight for the land and take possession of it.
- Chapter 2: Joshua sends spies into Jericho to assess the vibe and gather intelligence.
- Chapter 3: God tells His people to “consecrate” themselves because He’s about to do some crazy amazing stuff among them. Then He tells them to cross the Jordan River at flood stage. As soon as they step in, the water stands up in a heap for all the people to cross on dry land.
- Chapter 4: While the crossing is happening, God tells them to do a curious thing. He has them remove stones from the middle of the riverbed and take them to the other side to build a monument. The monument is to remind them of that crazy amazing crossing God provided and is to be a tool for telling their children about God’s faithfulness.
- Chapter 5: THEN. God has Joshua circumcise all the men. Fun times, man. And afterwards they celebrate the Passover.
- Chapter 6: God downloads the battle plan to Joshua. They are to march around the city once each day for six days and then on the seventh they march seven times, give a long blast on the trumpets, yell, and the walls come tumbling down. They rush in, take the city, and God keeps His promise.
Following Joshua’s lead, this is where you come in…
Acknowledge that fighting for a woman’s heart is scary business.
God doesn’t keep reassuring Joshua in Chapter 1 to be encouraging; He does it, repeatedly, because Joshua is afraid. What if she rejects you? What if she thinks you’re dumb? What if she embarrasses you? Acknowledge that those concerns feel like real obstacles but don’t allow them to deter your efforts. What you stand to gain is far greater than what you may lose.
Preparation is as vital as execution.
God tells Joshua to prepare to take the land He has given them. Dudes, this is a battle that will take time and thought and preparation. But, if the lady in question is your wife, there is no doubt her heart is a land the Lord has given you. But you may have to fight to take possession of it. Here are some ways you can prepare to win…
- Be a good listener. Be careful to obey God’s Word. The admonition God gives Joshua applies to you.
- Do your homework. Joshua sends the spies. You, too, need to assess the vibe and gather intelligence about your lady. Be smart.
- Believe. Allow God to grow your faith. The crossing of the Jordan is to remind Joshua and his men that God can do what He says He can do, but they have to exercise big faith – before the battle – to believe God will come through.
- Clean up. Consecrate yourself. God tells the army to cleanse themselves before Him, so He can work through them. “Consecrate” means to be set apart for a special task. Guys, the state of your own house is directly related to God’s willingness to work through you. To shoot straight, if you’re looking at porn or blatantly indulging other sin, you stand little to no chance of winning her heart. Even if she is totally unaware of your choices.
- Trim down. Aggressively cut away what He says to get rid of. The significance of circumcision was that God’s people would be set apart, different, than other unbelieving people. This “cutting away” symbolized the removal of what was unnecessary. Honestly ask yourself, “What is God saying I need to remove from my life?” It may be a friend, an attitude, a hobby that detracts from your family, an addiction, an ambition or work schedule that makes you absent.
- Celebrate good times; C’mon. Remember God’s provision and faithfulness along the way. This is the point of the stones from the Jordan’s riverbed and the celebration of Passover. Before we have to take a giant step of faith, our courage is bolstered by remembering all the ways God has provided and kept His promises in the past. Intentionally, remind yourself and commemorate God’s faithfulness to you personally as you diligently pursue the heart of your gal.
Follow the battle plan.
Do what He says. Because He will tell you how to crumble the wall. A walled city was extremely difficult to conquer; it usually took a long time. The attacker would often cut the supply of provisions to the city and wait to starve out the inhabitants. And this usually happened with great casualty to the outside force. That’s not how this went for Joshua. He conquered the city in record time with what, by all standards, was a foolish and silly plan. He will tell you how to dismantle the wall around your lady’s heart, but you have to be willing to follow the plan. Even if it seems foolish and silly and ill-advised.
And if all of this feels too daunting and heavy, according to John Eldridge, this is the kind of stuff you were made for. In his book, Wild at Heart, he asserts men are built with three desires; men want a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. He and his wife, Stasi, also attribute three innate desires to women; women want to be fought for, to share an adventure, and a beauty to unveil.
Culture likes to harp on the differences between men and women, baiting a continual gender battle. However, I am struck by the complementary nature of our desires; in this I see a divine design, an image of how we are meant to thrive in relationship with each other.
So, good fellow, you were made for this.
…and may the walls come tumbling down.
If you’d like to read more, you can check out a post about my time behind the wall, my thoughts on how a woman wants to be pursued, and the most popular post on our blog, Passive Men and Overbearing Women.