Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul by John Eldredge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I spotted this book on a friend’s bookshelf and he generously lent it to me.
I normally steer clear of text written by a pastor and the jacket blurb containing references to God and Jesus.
However, the religious part is not heavy-handed and makes perfect sense. I believe that the life lessons I learnt from ‘Wild At Heart’ will help me understand myself and others in a more profound way - and also get a grip on the gospel, the Bible and why people are drawn to have a relationship with God.
The author argues that men have been emasculated and metaphorically castrated by society’s restraints on the fundamental need for a man to strive for something with meaning and in the interim, prove themselves worthy.
A mans purpose requires risk and danger; so these must be present for a man to feel fulfilled.
All males crave the blessing of their father and have their masculinity bestowed with phrases like “well done son. I am proud of you”. Each father validates their sons’s strength and initiates his confidence “go on, you can handle it”
By associating mans search for meaning and masculinity via his relationship and friendship with God (the Father) men realise they are a Hero no matter where they are or what they do.
The 3 basic concepts state that all men need
A battle to fight
An adventure to live
A beauty to rescue
That’s why violent films, brutal sports, and extreme competitiveness and combativeness will always attract a male audience - most often from those who have been ‘protected’ by their well-meaning parents who discouraged rough behaviour and condoned toughness as anti-social.
Thus the rise in the rebellion of tattoos; which is a cheap (albeit short-sighted) way for a man to assert his individuality. Tattoos are permanent statements and inhibit personal growth as they constantly remind the wearer of the past.
However, every man has a choice to ‘fight’ for something or someone. Ironically, many dont because they fear a backlash from their wife! The author is particularly critical of the church and how it promotes a ’nice guy’ image.
The biggest surprise for me came towards the end of the book when the author used the biblical story of Adam and Eve to explain a mans often difficult relationship with women. This was a revelation as I was able to finally recognise that my desire to understand women was misguided, fruitless only because women are not in a man’s life to be understood.
As long as a man tries to find a solution for women, they will remain frustrated. They should learn to instead, just appreciate women and forget trying to control the partnership.
The alternative is for the man to give up on the partnership and check out emotionally because they cannot engineer an answer.
But as John Eldredge points out, there is no answer and never will be. Realising this has been an enormous AHA moment in my life.
But the weird part about it is that I didn’t worry about trying to understand my two daughters; I should’ve tried to do the same with my female partners. Suddenly I’ve experienced a sense of freedom in my relationships with women that I've never had before. Thank you John Eldredge - you have just saved my heart and soul.
A few quotes that I took down are:
Desire reveals design. Design reveals destiny. If you know what something is designed to do e.g. a man to explore, build and conquer, then you can work out its purpose.
“Where a man’s wound is, that’s where his genius is’
’The early death of a man’s warriors keeps the boy in him from growing up’
‘When you deny anger, it becomes fear’
‘Let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it’. In other words, reveal your masculinity without fear of people waging disparaging fingers at you - let the wild man run free.
View all my reviews
I adore music; I find it hard not to start dancing if a cool tune invades the ears.