COMBATING SOUL HUNGER by Dr. James Dobson
Focus on the Family
Women who feel isolated and lonely often look to their husbands to satisfy what has been called their "soul hunger." It is a role men have never handled very well. I doubt if farmers came in from the fields 100 years ago to have heart-to-heart talks with their wives.
What has changed in that time is the relationship between women. A century ago, great support and camaraderie existed between wives and mothers. They cooked together, went to church together and grew old together. And when a baby was born, aunts, grandmothers and neighbors were there to show the new mother how to diaper, feed and discipline.
Today, however, the extended family has all but disappeared, depriving women of that traditional source of support. Furthermore, the average American family moves every three or four years, preventing long-term friendships from developing.
It’s also important for women to understand that some of their needs simply can’t be met by men.
In the classic book Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy M. Montgomery, there’s a wonderful moment when the teenage Anne says, "A bosom friend – an intimate friend, you know – a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life." She expresses a longing that is common to women, but not so typical in men. It’s the need for intimate friendship. I think this is a key to understanding the incidence of depression common among many women today.
To combat this sense of isolation, it is extremely important for women to maintain a network of friends through exercise classes, group hobbies, church activities, Bible studies or bicycle clubs. The interchange between them may sound like casual talk, but the bonding that occurs there makes life a lot more satisfying.
My thoughts: I think we all know this intellectually but if we don't have women in our life we try to get men to play the roll and get frustrated when they are not good at it. The church is such a wonderful facilitator of female friendships. We have been in our new home for 9 months and I have a visiting teacher who is interesting and interested. I love talking to her. I have two ladies I visit. One of them has become my good friend and writing buddy even though she is young enough to be my daughter. We both feel like God put us together. I didn't get to have a sister but consider my sister-in-laws special sisters in my life. Alicia lives close to me and I know that there is nothing she wouldn't do for me. We can comiserate for hours. And I have a daughter that I feel close to. I understand her soul. I hope she does mine. I plan to be there for her whenever she needs me. My soul hunger is filled even by my husband because I am one of the lucky ones who has a man who likes to talk. But, I still need women.