Wild at Heart is a book that I’ve loved incorporating with my male clients since I started practicing as a Therapist. In my previous post, I mention the author, John Eldredge, is a Christian therapist who does a great job of being able to speak to Men with all different types of backgrounds from a mental health standpoint. Wild at Heart walks men through an adventure into discovering, or rediscovering, their purpose by looking at their wounds as well as the desires of every man’s heart.
We have covered, “The Question,” and, “The Wound,” and walked through, “Healing the Wound,” and what Eldredge describes as, “A Battle to Fight.” The last piece I’d like to review is the final notes titled, “A Beauty to Rescue,” and, “The Adventure to Live.” If you are just jumping in now, it may be confusing so I’d suggest going back to the first two posts for some context by using the link above.
A Beauty to Rescue
The second desire of every man’s heart is a beauty to rescue. Now, I know how the title sounds, but every man grows up with dreams of saving their future love ones from a tragic event. That is why Hollywood has made so much money off of movies like Gladiator, Brave Heart, Saving Private Ryan, 300, and the examples could go on and on. The book is not saying that we are going to have to save our significant others from dying, but the essence of this message is saying that as men, we need to continue to fight for our marriage.
We have to continue to pursue our wives even after we have been married for years. When sitting with my couple clients, there’s often a point where the wife will say that she doesn’t know where the man who used to pursue her and make her feel wanted went. I had one couple sit with me and after a few sessions, the spouse broke down, asking why her husband doesn’t tell her that she is beautiful, or that he loves her anymore. She asked why he doesn’t hold her hand or be physically intimate with her anymore. So many men will bring their wound and the underlying question to their wife to answer.
Unfortunately, a spouse cannot answer the question to heal our wounds, only God can heal our wounds. If we allow God to heal our wounds, then we can be more present and stronger husbands. A lot of men are afraid to offer what they have to their wife because they feel like it’s not enough. You’re right, it’s not enough. They will always need God more than they need you, just like men will always need God more than they need their spouse. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t offer our significant others all we can on a daily basis. A women doesn’t want to be fixed, and she definitely does not want to be treated like something to be solved. She wants to be seen, heard, loved, and known.
An Adventure to Live
To recap, the initial desire of a man’s heart we discussed was having a battle to fight, followed by beauty to rescue. The final and third desire of every man’s heart is an adventure to live. We get wrapped up into thinking that life is a problem to be solved, when life is an adventure to be lived.
In this section of the book, John Eldredge writes about how God made the world in a certain way. It only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, meaning that we need to live by faith. He believes that a man will not be happy until he’s got adventure in his work, in his love, and in his spiritual life.
In our society today we have gotten so good at eliminating risk, or making risk more manageable. All of sudden, I have men who will come in and say, I feel like I’m suffocating, or I’m bored, I feel stuck. This is what happens when we eliminate risk in our lives. It may result in sitting still, avoiding action, and sometimes feeling paralyzed.
An Adventure to Live in Action
So, what does it look like to live life like an adventure? It means listening and following your faith. It means taking the next job opportunity if you are bored or hate your current career path and to follow your dream. It means booking that trip to Europe that you have always wanted to take but were too scared to go. It could mean going back to school to get a different degree that interests you. In the end it means giving up control or being faithful in what God has in store for us.
For me, most recently at least, it meant turning down a fulltime job because it just felt like God was telling me he had something else in store for me. It meant applying for a Doctoral program even though I’m not sure where the finances are going to come from just yet because God was urging me to continue my education further. I am choosing to live my life putting faith in God that he will provide and guide me in the direction he wants me to go, and in the end where I want to go and join Him there.
The book talks about how too many men forsake their dreams because they aren’t willing to risk or fear they aren’t up to the challenge or are never told that those desires deep in their heart are good. A man’s life can become an adventure when he releases control in exchange for the dreams in his heart. Sometimes those dreams have to be unearthed because they are buried deep, but they are there, and they are waiting to be unearthed.
If you are reading this post and you feel like something is moving inside then it’s likely that some of Eldredges’s content resonates with you. If any of this struck a nerve and you feel like you need someone to talk to and figure all of this out, then please don’t waste another moment and reach out. I’d be happy to help you identify these things by mapping out your options and charting your path. I look forward to sitting down with anyone brave enough to make a start to work through a wound that has been held onto for too long.
Written by therapist Alex Parlette
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