Monday, April 14, 2014

Let Your 'Yes' be "Yes'

As usual, I’m amazed at how God speaks to us, in a new way, through verses we may have read often before.  I’ve been reading Genesis 27 and in studying Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, I have been made aware of a personality flaw that affects many women. The characters in the Bible speak clearly about the behavior of men and women, even in this day and age.  We really haven’t changed a lot.

Rebekah is a very manipulating woman.  First, in Genesis 27:18-29, she has Jacob pretend to be Esau so that Jacob can receive Isaac’s blessing which is usually reserved for the firstborn (Esau).  Then, at the end of this chapter, we see her manipulate Isaac with her words.

In verses 43-45, Rebekah tells Jacob to go to her brother Labans in Haran because Esau has threatened to kill Jacob. Not only did Jacob take Esau’s blessing from Isaac, but Jacob also stole Esau’s birthright in chapter 25.

In verse 46, Rebekah says to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women.  If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.” (A bit dramatic, isn’t she?  Sound like anyone you know?)

And what does Isaac do?  Genesis 28:1,2 – “So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him and commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan Aram to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel.  Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.”  Just what Rebekah thought he would do.

Woman often have a difficult time expressing the truth.  We speak around it.  Maybe we don’t want to sound offensive, or we try to avoid confrontation, or we may be fearful of asking for something.  So we easily manipulate others into doing what we want to avoid the truth of the matter.  In Rebekah’s case, she wanted Jacob to be safe but couldn’t admit to Isaac how she helped Jacob get Esau's blessing. So she gets Isaac to send Jacob to her brother’s with her manipulating way of avoiding honesty.  (Sounds like a storyline for a soap opera.)  How easy is it, though, to justify your behavior for the love of your children,

I adore my mother, but she has been a master at not being forthright with her thoughts and desires. (Nothing to the extent of Rebekah, though.) My mother doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or upset them.

For example, say my mom and I plan to go do some errands, together, first thing in the morning.  If we wake up to rain and nasty weather, she’ll call me and say, “I don’t think we should go because I know you don’t like driving in the rain.”  Now that may be correct that I don’t like to drive in the rain, but the truth of the matter is, more likely, that she doesn’t want to go out in the rain.  Why didn’t she just say “I don’t want to go because it’s raining.”? She wouldn’t want to let me down by saying she doesn’t want to go so she dances around the issue, not being totally honest.

We women have the tendency to speak like this because of men.  No matter what women’s lib or any other worldly guru may tell us, we still have an attitude towards the men we love that we don’t want to hurt their feelings, or we don’t want them to see the real side of us.  Or maybe we just do it because we don’t want them to get mad at us.  In my mother’s defense, she had been reprimanded often in the past for her honesty and has learned to stifle it.  How many of us have had a similar experience – usually brought on by a dominating man?

Rebekah had to cover up her tracks by suggesting to Isaac that she wouldn’t be happy if Jacob took a wife among the women where they lived.  She was such a master at manipulating with her words to the men she loved that she knew exactly what to say.  It worked!  They never even knew what hit them!

We don’t always speak openly and honestly, partially because we don’t always know what’s really going on with our emotions and thoughts.  We may ramble around the issues not ever figuring out the truth.  No wonder men think we are crazy!  Besides, their thinking is much simpler than ours.  They don’t understand the complexities that rage on in our thoughts.  They  don’t understand this little “flaw” in us that sometimes keeps us from being truthful and may appear to be manipulation.  They totally miss it, thinking we are forthright as they are.

Below is a clever example of the difference between men and women’s English.  I’ve posted this numerous times before but it’s still funny and true, no matter how often you read it!

Woman’s English
Yes = No
No = Yes
Maybe = No
We need = I want
It’s your decision = the correct decision should be obvious
We need to talk = I need to complain
Sure, go ahead = I don’t want you to
I’m not upset = Of course I’m upset, you moron

Man’s English
 I’m hungry = I’m hungry
I’m sleepy = I’m sleepy
I’m tired = I’m tired
What’s wrong? = What stupid self-inflicted psychological trauma is it now?
What’s wrong? = I guess sex tonight is out of the question
I’m bored = Do you want to have sex?
I love you = Let’s have sex now!
Let’s talk = I’ll impress you by showing you I am a deep guy and then we can have sex.

I think we owe it to our spouses to learn to be honest with them about our thoughts and feelings.  We have to learn to simplify them first, in our own mind, so we make some sense to our husbands.  I’ve worked hard on this for many years now, and I’ve come a long way in communicating in a way Rick can understand.  My advice would be KISS.  Keep It Simple Sweetie.  Focus on the problem at hand, not what happened yesterday or a year ago.

Matthew 5:37 – from the mouth of Jesus – says, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ be ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”  Notice, He said “Simply” here.  We speak too many words to our husband that they will never hear.


If you’d like to read more about how women don’t say what they mean, check out my article under Communication – “Why Do Women Not Say What They Mean?”

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