It’s not a secret that girls and guys see the world differently. Millions of dollars a year are made and spent on books analyzing how and why we think, act and feel as we do. I hope that men everywhere have just accepted the fact that we (girls in general) are never going to make sense to them. We barely make sense to ourselves some days. I explain the following not to unlock an ancient secret but to say simply, “Boys, you’re not crazy. No, you didn’t actually say anything wrong. She just had girl goggles…”
About 9 years ago, I sat in Hope’s living room convinced that this man I had married was insane. I don’t even remember the issue in question now, but I know the problem was this – David had something to say and I didn’t like it. I was sure he was trying to tell me what to do, and I wasn’t going to stand for it. My one-woman protest had resulted in a very uncomfortable Johnston household, and David called in reinforcements. In a very real sense, he recognized his need for a translator. As we sat and talked, Hope articulated the exact things David was saying and to David’s amazement, I AGREED. Why could I agree with Hope but not him? Girl goggles.
David has been out of town on business the past week. After having just moved to a new state, away from all I know and love, I’ve had some very lonely days. Not only do I not yet have friends to talk to or spend time with, but I have no one to help relieve any of the stress of caring for my high-spirited, rambunctious, mind-of-her-own toddler. Tuesday night, around the time I was hitting my daily breaking point, David sent me a text to let me know he’d call later in the evening. Now, I fully know in the light of day that this was a good move on his part. He was checking in, touching base, giving me a heads up – all the things we ask boys to do but is often hard for them to remember. He should get points. Through my girl goggles, though, that’s not what I heard. What I heard was, “I’ll call you later because I’ve had a productive day with adult accomplishments and interactions and now I’m going to eat a hot meal, served to me by a waiter in a quiet restaurant while I have more adult conversation. I won’t get up 12 times to visit the bathroom and there won’t be coloring or singing involved. Once I get back to my hotel room where the maid cleaned and made the bed today, I’ll give you a call.”
Girl goggles don’t mean you (boys) have done something wrong. They don’t mean we (girls) don’t love you or that we are crazy. Girl goggles are similar to beer goggles. There’s just something in the way, blocking the true thoughts, so all we hear are crazy things. What’s in the way isn’t alcohol, though; it’s emotions. Hormones, to be exact.
During another long-distance call this week, David asked what I had been doing at the house. When he left you couldn’t walk down the hall or close our bedroom door for the piles of stuff. He (as I do) loves our new house and was excited to hear what I’d been doing to make it home. What I heard, though, was not excitement about our home, gratitude for my labors or sadness to be missing out on the settling in process. What I heard was, “I can’t wait to get home after all the work is done so I can enjoy a serene and peaceful retreat. It will be a great surprise to me because I’m not there, leaving you to unpack, organize and arrange our house while simultaneously teaching, training and caring for our child. It will be such fun to come home to a place that feels warm and inviting instead of living in chaos.” Girl goggles.
Now, here’s the light at the end of the tunnel. You hear (or read) me preach constantly about the importance of good, Christian therapy. It’s these girl goggle moments that all those dollars spent come back to you in gold. They say therapy is cheaper than divorce and that’s true. Five years ago, we would be in the throws of an all-out meltdown. David would be looking for the nearest exit, feeling overwhelmed and responsible to fix it all while I would be contemplating just how much I could take with me on a road trip back to the Midwest. He would feel like he could do nothing right and I would agree. Instead, we are here, together, holding hands even when it’s hard because we have learned to acknowledge and accept that girl goggles are a part of life. Like stepping in mud in your fabulous new heels, it happens.
So girls, next time you catch yourself going down the crazy path, take a minute, give yourself some grace and then extend it to the other person. Give the feelings some room so they don’t overtake you, but focus on what’s real. Choose to let the Truth soak in instead of the junk.
And guys…next time you say you like the blue dress only to hear in response, “What’s wrong with this red dress!?”… love her anyway. Keep saying the right thing even when she hears it wrong. Know she’s having a hard time but doing her best and give her some grace. (And maybe a new pair of shoes. That always helps.)