Q. My wife and I were scheduled to take a long-awaited vacation, but since the events of September 11 she has been too afraid to fly and we had to cancel our entire vacation. We'd been looking forward to it for over a year and now she let her fear ruin it. I feel bad for her, but at the same time I'm frustrated by her unwillingness to have enough faith to just get on the plane and go. Am I wrong to feel this way?
A. With all of your anticipation and planning it's understandable that you'd be disappointed with not being able to take your vacation. At the same time, dealing with fear isn't always as easy as just getting on a plane. The fear your wife is experiencing may seem irrational to you, but millions of other Americans have been grappling with similar fears.
The tragic events of September 11, produced psychological and emotional shock waves that have touched the lives of every American in different ways. One national study showed that eight out of ten adults nationwide reported symptoms including increased fear, anxiety, loss of sleep, lower frustration tolerance, decreased energy, bad dreams, increased negativity, and difficulty in concentrating.
The best starting place is for you to make time to listen to your wife. James tells us to "be quick to listen" (James 1:19). So many of us men think we are doing our wives a huge favor by giving them the solutions that work for us. Most women would tell you that's just what they don't need.
Proverbs 18:13 says, "He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him" (NASB). You have an opportunity to "love your wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25) by listening to her, working hard to understand her, and not trying to fix her.1