What was a physically fatal error for Samson is a relational fatal error for many men. There is a myth in the church that your wife should be your best friend, your confidant, and your confessor. This is a lie. There is no expectation, let alone requirement, for patriarchs to behave this way toward their wife. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find examples of this sort of behavior in scripture. Samson caves to Delilah's terrible nagging and gets himself killed in the process. Presumably, he told her "no" until he finally broke down and told her his secret. He ought to have let his no be no.
Nonetheless, Samson is a fallen man and ultimately is undone. Samson's lover, Delilah, learns the secret to his strength and tells his enemies how to defeat him. Samson is then captured and tortured, only to find released in literally crashing a house party, killing himself and 3,000 enemies with him.
This post isn't to look at the various interpretations and applications of this story. Instead, we will examine a single critical section.
"And [Delilah] said to [Samson], "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies." And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. And he told her all his heart..." - Judges 16:15-17
Any bells ringing? Does this sound familiar? It probably does.
"How can you say, 'I love you,' when (fill in the blank)"
This is a common fitness test that is literally as old as the Bible. Most men who have become involved with a woman for any considerable length of time will likely encounter this one and the objection is seldom based in reality. In fact, guys who go out of their way to try and show their woman how much they love her often get this test the most. The problem is that she doesn't feel loved, and "feels is reals" despite concrete evidence to the contrary. A man might try to make her "feel" like he loves her, only to come off as desperate,disingenuous, and effeminate. Some men go too far the other way and become emotionally constipated emergencies.
So where does this test come from and how does a man go about his life in such a way that this isn't a problem for him? Simple: be successful in your mission and provide her with ways to participate with you in those achievements. The thing is, often women who don't "feel loved" aren't lacking for affection, but starving for affection from someone they genuinely admire. This makes intuitive sense. The affectionate gestures and words of a weak unaccomplished man mean nothing to her. Such a man cannot make her feel the love she wants because the problem isn't quantity of affection, but quality.
Conversely, she will not soon forget the smallest attention or affection from a successful, accomplished, driven, strong, admired, and talented man. Such a man can explode her feel sensors without speaking a word. A genuine smile or a knowing wink from such a hero-in-her-eyes will make her feel more loved than a hundred gestures or words of praise from a man she doesn't admire or respect as capable of exerting his will on the world.
The only thing better for a woman than having the affection a man she deeply admires, is to be able to participate in some way in the activities that he does that make him so admirable. Whatever that is, if she can do something to help him be successful in his mission, she will feel a deep sense of inclusion, contribution, and belonging. Despite the incessant propaganda from Hollywood, women are not heroic in nature. The mythologies, legends, tales, and histories of humanity are packed chock full of men and their accomplishments. The handful of exceptions that feminist point to are exactly that: exceptions. Feminists have to scour the history books or bend historical accuracy to the breaking point to find truly heroic women. Even so, this strong desire on the part of feminists reveals that women, despite their lack of innate heroism, have the desire to be heroic.
So how do they do this? They participate in the heroic through helping their men accomplish heroic deeds. For this Christian this should be obvious: God created women for the purpose of being a help-mate to men. A man who does not include his woman in some way in his mission is not only denying her participation in the heroic that she likely cannot fulfill herself, he is hindering her from being what God created her to be.
Back to Samson. Notice that Samson, while heroic, does not include Delilah in his mission. In fact, it is difficult to discern Samson's mission (if he even has one) from the text. It is little wonder that Delilah ends up in the frame of the Philistines and assisting them with their mission. This in on ways excuses Delilah of her treachery. Rather, it demonstrates the high cost of not managing your mission and your woman's participation in it.
"You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies"
Because Samson didn't tell her how to get him killed by his enemies, he was making a fool of her. Because you didn't take the trash out to the curb the night before, you made her slip on the icy sidewalk, which made her back hurt, which led to her having to take a longer shower, which caused her to be late to work, which almost got her fire. You carelessly putting her job in danger by not taking out the trash last night must just be your sick way of mocking her since you're a sociopath.
Women say wild things and make insane leaps of logic. Don't take the crazy bait. Sampson took the crazy bait and it cost him. Had he fogged, AA, AM, or simply STFU, the rest of the story may have been avoided.
"And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death."
Ultimately, Sampson permitted this behavior. Whether it was oneitis, lack of abundance, or something else, Samson did not withdraw his time, presence, or attention when she engaged in this awful soul crushing behavior. Men, you will be treated as well as you expect or as poorly as you allow. Develop a low tolerance for bad behavior from people in your life, men and women alike. I cannot count the number of times women who behave poorly toward their men, yet automatically treat me with respect. This is something I cultivated early on in life and it has been extremely beneficial. The alternative is vexation to the point of death. Your call.
"And he told her all his heart..."
What was a physically fatal error for Samson is a relationally fatal error for many men. There is a myth in the church that your wife should be your best friend, your confidant, and your confessor. This is a lie. There is no expectation, let alone requirement, for patriarchs to behave this way toward their wife. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find examples of this sort of behavior in scripture. Samson caves to Delilah's terrible nagging and gets himself killed in the process. Presumably, he told her "no" until he finally broke down and told her his secret. He ought to have let his no be no.
Imagine a Samson who had super-human divine strength. Imagine a Samson who had a mission that he was laser focused on, yet still made time to be humorous and enjoy life. Imagine a Samson who gave Delilah a part to play in his mission, despite her faults. Would the story have turned out the way it did? Likely not. In fact, such a Samson would strongly resemble Christ. It is as though Christ were a better Samson.