Responding to Hardship
God, as we know, is an author. Like any skilled author He includes hardship, trials, villians, and other obstacles to be overcome. Our lives, Jesus promised us, will be filled with trials. We ought not be surprised when they come along.
All the World's A Stage
When we watch a movie or read a novel we watch the characters face the challenges set before them. How they respond to these challenges is often the greatest defining element to their character development. If we watched King Leonidas in 300 hand over his kingdom in the face of persian invasion, we would rightly dismiss the character as a loser. When Leonardo DiCaprio's character fought tooth and nail to survive, even after being mauled by a bear in The Revenant we view him as some sort of tenacious superhuman. How characters respond to conflict in a plot determines our estimation of them.
Life is the same way.
Your wife, your kids, your co-workers, that cute girl in small group, they all judge us based on how we respond to hardship. More importantly, God watches us in our hardship. Job and Jesus are our prime Biblical examples. Both were given undeserved and extreme trials, both continued in faithfulness to God.
When we are given trials, especially the obvious physical kind such as injury, how we respond will massively impact how our wife views us. If you get sick and whine about it like a pussy, needing constant care and affirmation, you are telling your wife that you cannot protect her or her offspring if you get a cold. This plays out deep down on their subconscious. Think about it. Until fairly recently in human history, her ability to get married, pregnant, nurse children, and raise them in safety depended 100% on having strong men in her life. Not having strong men protecting her meant being extremely vulnberable to strong men who wanted to pillage her.
When a man acts like a wimp in the face of minor adversity he undermines his wife's ability to see him as an alpha protector/provider. Such a man is teaching his wife to worry about every little thing, since it only takes a little thing to defeat him. On the other hand, a man who acts like a champion in the face of major adversity teaches her that nothing, even a massive challenge, will hold him back from his mission. Responding like a man can turn a bad situation into a situation that soaks her panties.
At the beginning of this year I went snowboarding with my wife and a good female friend of ours. On the last run of the day I caught an edge, landed on a sheet of ice, and broke my collar bone completely in half. This happend right in front of my wife. (Funny side note, my very first thought was how I was going to be set back in the gym. DYELB?)
As I lie there in the snow and ice in excruciating pain, I knew my response to this would be critical. So I got up, checked to see if it was dislocated (it wasn't) and finished the run. I went to ski-patrol and they confirmed it was broken. On the way to the ER I was cracking jokes, teasing the girls, and being a great sport about the situation. I never once complained about the pain or the circumstances. This is how I was taught to handle sickness or pain. Shut up. Suck it up. Focus on solutions. Complaining fixes nothing. I was genuinely more annoyed by the situation than upset.
The entire rest of the weekend both girls were blown away by how I handled it so well. You could basically see their estimation of me rising in their eyes.
Interestingly enough, following this injury, my wife and I have had the best sex of our entire marriage. I had an arm in a fling and couldn't do half the stuff I normally do to rock her world, yet she was more in ecstacy than ever before.
I'm not suggesting you go break a bone, but this situation easily could have turned into a major sexual setback. If I had whined about the situation, complained about the pain, blamed fate for ruining the weekend, she would have rightfully been turned off. Instead, she saw first hand how I respond to physical set backs. Now, I'm sure she believed I would not let something like this set me back because of the way I conduct myself normally, but it's one thing to believe something in theory and another thing to see it tested for real. Seeing me suffer through it like a man confirmed for her subconscious that if I was ever in a position to defend her or our family, it would take more than excruciating pain and broken bones to stop me. This is a powerful and arousing thing for a woman to learn about her man.
The Bottom Line
When you are given a set back, a trail, a cross to bear, you are being given a gift. Does it suck? Absolutely. But you get the opportunity to prove your mettle in concrete terms for the world to see. Suffer like Jesus: Don't complain. Don't be a pussy. Get big things done inspite of the suffering.
"...Act like men, be strong..." - 1 Corinthians 16:13