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  • Writer's pictureBernie

Dudes and “Com·part·men·tal·i·za·tion”

Classic Compartmentalization

Classic Compartmentalization

I recently sat through a truly hysterical presentation on marriage by Christian comic Mark Gungor called Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. I watched it with a group of couples from our church representing many different age groups and marital longevity. We were all in stitches. His description of how us guys operate out of carefully organized boxes that “never, ever, touch,” was spot on. It was hilarious! He even carefully described how there’s a “nothing” box which guys frequent rather often to escape reality. He  has good stuff, but afterwards I found myself a bit disturbed by his insistance on men being fairly disconnected, compartmentalized, dopes only interested in their wives for sex.

Don’t get me wrong, I think his caricature was spot on. Where my discomfort comes in is that I didn’t hear anything about redemption, or restoration. I didn’t hear him hint at recovery. He left me with the impression that that’s where all guys are, and we’ll live in that rather shallow, compartmentalized, place until Jesus comes. He made us guys sound rather “zombie” like, only emerging from our soulless state to copulate with our multitasking, evolved, better half. Whether you’re a guy or girl, as fallen men and women, there’s no question we live out of those “boxes”, until we meet Jesus and are set on a journey toward wholeness and integrity. Clearly, a great deal of our energies are spent resisting a relapse into our comfortable, compartmentalized lives. We’ve all lived out of those boxes, but I dont’ believe we were meant to. In fact that’s really no way to live at all.

I believe integrity is our way out of the compartmentalized life. It is the transformation we all need and want. It comes at a lofty price though. We give up the security of what we’ve come to believe is control. Integrity makes us vulnerable because we won’t allow ourselves the indulgence of a fractured existence. The word integrity comes from the same Latin root as integer. Like a whole number, integrity defines a state of “being“ and “living“ characterized by unity, completeness and wholeness. 

Integrity is at the heart of recovery. A friend of mine describes recovery as God’s attempt to, “reclaim created intent.” That, to me, is an accurate description of recovery. It is to bring us back to God’s holistic design for us in the first place. If you’re telling me that Adam played this same game with Eve I don’t buy it. I don’t believe he lived out of his boxes and placated to Eve’s emotional “neediness” in order to get what he really wanted. I don’t believe for a minute that is what God has in mind for fallen men being redeemed either.

There’s good humor in watching how we deal with human nature. We have to laugh at ourselves cause I’m certain God must smile when he sees some of the whacky things we do to make sense out of this existence. But we are meant for so much more and by God’s grace both men and women can experience the integrity redemption brings.

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