Your need for empathy

I have had some deep conversations with several women recently, and I walked away from those talks with spirits lifted. In fact, my heart seemed lighter and my path ahead seemed clearer.  Even though I used to have some pretty good talks with my husband, it was so delightful to have an extended chat with some females.  Talking with women filled a definite need for empathy.  It also really helped me to more clearly process some things going on in my life as I verbalized what was happening and how I felt about those events in my life.  These women were good listeners. They were able to handle my long and detailed account. They were able to empathize with my feelings.  I’m so glad I have friendships with women, and not just with a man.

How about you?  Do you have at least 2 deep friendships with other God-believing women? Do you have at least 2 women in your life who encourage you, empathize with you, or make you laugh?  We NEED each other!  A husband cannot possibly meet all your relational needs.  Men aren’t wired the same as women.  In case you haven’t noticed, most women need to talk about all the things happening in their lives, and we need listeners who will empathize with us!  Most men are not wired to listen to a lengthy discussion, and they generally aren’t wired to express a lot of empathy either.  But a good female friend can fill that void for you, and you can do the same for her.  We need another woman to speak sweet words of empathy and encouragement in a way that most men just don’t understand.  Proverbs 16:24 reminds us, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

So, be intentional about making some solid female friendships.  Invite a woman from church or work to coffee.  Be a good listener yourself.  Ask her to tell you about herself, her children, her challenges, her successes, her spiritual giftings, her hobbies.  Be a good listener.  You’ll be on your way to developing a good friendship.

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God sees your distress and cares

We all go through challenging days…whether in your marriage, with your kids, with finances, at your job, etc.  It’s at those times; we tend to feel so alone.  We desperately need to know that God notices our distress.  We need to know that He is with us and that He cares.

Well, despite what Satan is whispering in your ear…that nobody cares…that you’re all alone…that your broken heart will never get better…the Bible tells a different story!  I find so much comfort in these verses:

  • The Lord is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18)
  • Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
  • You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13)
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
  • Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.  Psalm 103:2-4

Prompting empathy from husband

Are you often really disappointed in your husband because he doesn’t seem to have a lot of empathy in your times of stress or sadness?  Do you find yourself longing for him to comfort you during times of discouragement or heartbreak, but he doesn’t seem to notice your distress or understand what you need?  Well, join the club! 

For most of my marriage to Raul, I found myself getting repeatedly frustrated that he didn’t comfort me when I needed comfort or even seem to notice that I needed empathy!  Then one day about 2 years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and say, “He doesn’t know what you need unless you spell it out to him.”  What?!  I remember thinking that if I have to tell him exactly what I need in those moments of despair or frustration, then his attempt to comfort wouldn’t be meaningful.  You might think the same thing.  However, I was wrong.

When I finally spelled out to my husband EXACTLY what I needed in moments of heartbreak, discouragement, or stress, he followed through.  He actually thanked me for TELLING him what I needed.  And guess what?  Even though I told him what I needed, it was still very comforting when he did what I instructed him to do.  Just in case you’re wondering what I asked him to do.  I said “Come up to me and wrap me in your arms and hold me tight.  Then pat my back gently 3 times and say ‘I can understand how that would make you feel and it’s going to be okay’.”  It was amazing!  I was comforted!

Husbands are not mind-readers!  If you need something, tell them!  Otherwise, your husband will sense that he’s failing you but be unsure of what to do.  Explaining exactly what you need is actually an act of compassion toward your husband.  This reminds me of the verse in Colossians 3:12  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW