“Uncle Greg, you are not paying attention,” my five-year-old friend Gigi scolded.
I was guilty as charged. It was perhaps the seventh time I had seen this episode of Dora the Explorer. I was starting to root for Swiper. Of course I cherished these times when I returned from work and joined my friend on the couch with Dora, Steve, and Clifford. I knew that attentiveness is essential to any relationship. But knowing this, I still slipped. And she sensed it.
I also knew that I had to acknowledge and compensate for my guy chromosome. As Cecil Osborne infamously recorded,
“Women are insatiable, and men are obtuse.”
Exceptions noted, by my counts Osborne is statistically correct. But don't despair, don't turn cynical. You can save your friendship or romance. I would start with some self-examination.
Are you insatiable? Don’t trust a quick answer. Insatiable people think of themselves as perfectly entitled, as having reasonable expectations in an uncaring world. As J.R. Ewing put it, “I’m not greedy. I just want my property and everything next to it.” Men can be insatiable; they just are insatiable about manly things.
Are you obtuse? That’s a silly question to ask an obtuse person, somewhat like the ad on the side of a bus, “Illiterate? Enroll in our course!” If you frequently fail to anticipate needs, you may be obtuse. It's a blessing if people point out these failings—at least compared to having someone angry at you and expecting you to guess why. Women can be obtuse; they just are obtuse about manly things.
A common complaint—from insatiable people, of course—is that obtuse people have an ISS, an Impenetrable Stupidity Shield. Or as Karen Reiss observed last Sunday, the obtuse one may have HMS, Helpless Man Syndrome.
A common complaint—from obtuse people, of course—is that insatiable people have an RNG, a Random Need Generator. It is hard to anticipate what insatiable people want. Having scaled a mountain of wishes, the obtuse one finds to his dismay a whole new horizon of needs, some clear, some in clouds.
The solution? Love. Is that news? No, but I'd like to point out that you can't start too soon to love.
Love gets a late start because people think meeting must precede love. That’s true of feelings but not so true of really unconditional, sacrificial love. Unconditional love for a specific person benefits from practicing unconditional love for all people.
Romance is like Mark Twain's improvisational speaking: "It usually takes me three weeks to prepare a good spontaneous performance." Practice empathy for other people's needs. Rehearse gratitude for what you are given. Pretty soon, guess what? You're romantic.
Since insatiability and obtuseness are the enemies of romance, controlling these allows more friendship and more romance. Like rain quenches a prairie fire, knowing God’s love will satisfy the "never satisfied". Like sunshine after that rain, considering God's love will bring insight to the obtuse.
Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. — Ephesians 4
One afternoon I came home and Gigi was sitting on the couch playing with dolls.
She smiled and asked: “Uncle Greg, let’s not watch TV. Let’s talk. Let’s just sit and talk.”
I pray for Gigi that a boy I’ve probably not met will see my words here or otherwise absorb those insights from the Bible. I pray he will pay attention, and always be ready to just sit and talk.
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.