Friday, August 29, 2014

Glass Walls and Rubber Hammers

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Dear Alice:

I have fallen in love with the only woman I know who enjoys being single. To be honest, Janet seems like the kind of person who doesn’t need me — I only know that I am quite sure I need her. She is on the shady of middle age, but blessed with an ageless spirit, full of life, energy, and fun.

Her colleagues and friends hold her in high regard. She is successful in her career, independent and talented. She is committed to the Lord, and to the ministry she feels He has called her to. People tell me Janet is always “up” — I certainly have never seen her otherwise, though she honestly shares her struggles and weaknesses.

The only flaw that I can see, if you could call it one, is the invisible barrier that keeps anyone from getting too close to the “real” Janet. Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t “standoffish,” but there exists a reserve, a glass wall that allows you to see her, but not touch her. That’s my dilemma — how do I get past the guard at her heart’s gate? I’ve met the woman of my dreams and I have no idea how to approach her.

Hopeless Romantic

Dear Hopeless Romantic:

Janet sounds like the kind of gal who would set her table with crystal and white linen, make a gourmet meal, light the candles, and then happily have a RO-TIC evening (that’s Romantic without the “man”) all by herself.

However, all is not lost. While it is true that there are some people who are called to singleness for the sake of the Kingdom, you obviously believe that Janet isn’t among their number. One of you must be wrong. Nevertheless, let’s assume, baring Divine intervention, that you are right and that Janet is the one God has for you.

Glass walls need to be approached carefully. They are fragile — too much pressure and someone is going to get badly cut. Not enough pressure and neither of you is ever going to find out who’s got the inside track on God’s will for your relationship.

First of all, respect Janet’s ministry and calling. Be interested in what interests her: not simply as a source of information or curiosity, but dig a little to find out how she feels about what she does. Don’t give advice or criticize, simply listen and support. Her wall may be built of insecurity. Others believe she has “all her ducks lined up,” but Janet may not be so sure that she really does, and fears to let anyone get close enough to discover how she judges her own abilities, and why God has blessed her life. When she trusts you, the crack in the wall will begin to widen.

Ask her to tell you her story. Find out about the experiences in life that have made her strong. Share your story with her, especially where your histories might come together. I’ll bet she is looking for someone who understands where she has been.

Be honest and vulnerable. By being vulnerable, you are not being a wimp: you are showing Janet that she is as safe with you as you feel with her; that she doesn’t need to compete to gain your respect. She sounds like she has learned to succeed in a man’s world — no easy feat! She needs to understand that you are not looking to deny, or to denigrate, what she has earned. Treat her as an equal. If she’s the woman you think she is, she’ll return the respect, and respond with interest.

Last, but certainly not least, if her commitment to God is as high a priority as you think it is, she’ll need to see that same commitment in you. As a person content with being single, she won’t consider giving those privileges up for anybody who is simply “warm and breathing.”

And hey, no woman, no matter how independent is adverse to flowers and the like. Just be sure that the gift reflects the woman. She’s obviously no pansy; so don’t give her any of those. She’s strong, so don’t give her roses, — they won’t last as well as she has. Try Birds of Paradise: exotic, flamboyant, and tough!

Remember, cracking glass works best with a rubber hammer.

Let me know what happens. I’m willing to bet that Janet will discover that she needs you as much as you need her (DV).


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