What Does It Take to Be a Hero? Facing the challenges of life, finding solutions, and being transformed by the experience. Life’s challenges activate your purpose, and the natural outcome of solving problems is transformation. But where can you find the answers for your marriage? The solutions are usually simple, but not always easy or obvious.
I know The Territory and want to give you The Map. Because you were born to be a hero.
What role are you playing in your marriage right now?
Every good story has a victim, a villain, and a hero.
I love the movies. Stories – written or told aloud – of transformation. Consider the hero of any great story … on the Big Screen or in The Bible.
- Fictional heroes, like Luke Skywalker and The Karate Kid
- Or real ones, like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Saul, Peter, Paul
- The story of each man’s transformation follows a familiar pattern:
What Does It Take to Be a Hero?
In the beginning of every story, the hero wants something he doesn’t have.
In your case, you want to be the leader of your family, to be honored and loved by your wife. It is your God-given desire.
- But when it comes to understanding your wife, you are unsure of yourself, weak, afraid, unwilling to take action, and in desperate need of help in this Uncharted Territory where you don’t know The Language.
- You believe you are incapable. You are filled with self-doubt and not sure you can get this impossible job done, especially since your wife isn’t your willing partner.
Next, like the hero of every story, you encounter The Guide.
- The Guide knows how to conquer The Dragons you are facing.
- She knows The Territory and gives you The Map.
- She knows The Language and acts as The Translator.
- The Guide is incredibly empathic and gives you a way out of this painful mess.
- In so doing, The Guide empowers you to become the hero you are born to be.
At the end of the story, the hero has been transformed.
This time, you are The Hero.
- The Hero is capable, confident, transformed, and passionate.
- He has learned and applied what he learned from The Guide.
- He freely passes his wisdom on to other men and boys.
Yes, you were born to be the hero in your story.
And I am here to serve you as The Guide for your relationship with your wife.
But you might be stuck in a supporting role in your own marriage. You might be playing the part of the victim, the villain, or both. Huh? How can that be?
One psychological theory suggests that you have three options when it comes to dealing with life.
- You can move away from the challenge.
- You can move against the challenge.
- Or you can move toward the challenge.
Although a healthy man does all three at different times and in different circumstances, you can get stuck in one predominant pattern.
Think of the roles this way:
- A victim avoids. He blames his wife and moves away from her.
- A villain attacks. He criticizes his wife and moves against her.
- A hero approaches. He values his wife and moves toward her.
If you are in the victim role in your marriage, you blame your wife for your marital problems. Your primary way of coping with anxiety (yours or your wife’s) is to avoid interpersonal interactions as much as possible.
Although he knows something needs to change, a victim believes he is powerless to change his circumstances. He avoids confrontation. He avoids emotions. He shuts down, pulls back, walks out. He doesn’t feel like a leader, much less a hero.
Sometimes a victim convinces himself that he is a martyr. Doesn’t the Bible say a man must die to himself? Therefore, his resignation to accept his lot in life, his submission to his wife’s demands and control, can make him feel a little holy and righteous. In reality, he’s just found an excuse for doing nothing.
I’ve met quite a few men like this, who wear their victimhood like a medal.
Sometimes a man who feels trapped really does have a wife with a mental disorder, such as Borderline Personality Disorder and/or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
- Some of these men stay because they don’t want to desert their children.
- Others stay because of their commitment to their wedding vows.
I can see why a man in this position feels like giving up. He simply lives a life of quiet desperation. Any effort feel hopeless. But he actually can do a lot.
I recommend the book Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s available on Amazon in softcover, Kindle, and audio books (affiliate link). If this is your situation, and you make the effort to study and learn and reach out for help, you are well on your way to being a hero … especially if you have kids!
However, in most cases a man with a victim mindset feels overwhelmed by his wife’s emotions. He simply doesn’t know what to do. So he goes silent and hopes she will, too.
It never works that way.
The quieter he gets, the more she pursues. Which is pretty much true for all women, by the way. She feels lost and abandoned, which raises her anxiety and makes her appear angry. Which makes you more likely to shut down, pull back, and walk out.
Which is really sad. Because, more than likely, your wife does not have a mental illness. She’s just terrified of losing you … of being alone.
If you only knew how, you could stay in that space with her.
I don’t mean white-knuckling your way through a tirade. You could effectively calm the storm and become a hero in the process. We’ll get to those details, too. For now, I just want you to recognize whether or not that’s what you are doing.
Anger is a natural response to victimization. However, what you do with your anger makes all the difference in the quality of your relationships.
If you are playing the villain role, your primary way of coping with the challenges of life and love is to attack and criticize your wife for anything and everything. Your goal is to make her feel small and powerless. You also effectively avoid addressing your own faults.
If you are a man with a conscience, however, you might feel ashamed of your anger. A lot of Christian guys fall into this category. If you turn your anger against yourself for getting yourself into an untenable situation, you are also powerless to change anything. She’s “bad,” but so are you. You might as well be trying to drive your car in neutral. You won’t go anywhere.
If you only knew how to channel your anger, you could use that energy more effectively. I don’t mean trying to point out her faults in a really nice voice. You could actually turn things around for your whole family. We’ll get to those details, too. For now, I just want you to recognize whether or not that’s what you are doing.
You don’t have to have it all together. That’s not what a story is about.
- Life is about transformation.
- Becoming all God created you to be.
- Taking dominion over your assigned space on the Globe.
You must be open to learning. You will make mistakes. But they can’t defeat you.
A hero knows the dragon he’s fighting. (Hint: It is not your wife.) And he learns how to put out the dragon’s fire. Where to find healing when he is wounded. How to regroup and face the challenge again and again, until he is victorious.
That is your destiny.
No man does it alone. You won’t magically know what to do. You need a teacher. A guide who has the information – the savoir faire – for the task at hand. There is no shame in learning. The only shame lies in refusing to step into the challenge.
Don’t give up. I’m here to help.