In reflection of my life and the hundreds of couples I’ve married off, coached, and mentored, I have come to a conclusion- we are in a shortage of a few good men. Men that are willing to tackle life head on with the courage to make healthy choices, taking responsibility for their actions, and understand that their attitude plays a huge role in their family.
Your wife responds with a critical spirit. Your kids don’t listen to you when you ask them to put away their clothes for the millionth time. Your boss dumps more work on you with zero appreciation. You experience pressure, anger, loneliness or fear. What do you do? How do you respond? The way I see it, we as men make 2 choices, we either man up or numb out.
I write as one that has made the wrong choices in my life too many times to count. I mourn the loss of time and missed opportunities to shine and set a good example. I hope this post will nudge you to take just one step today to start leading your wife and your family well.
Let me explain first what I mean by NUMBING OUT. I pretty much have this perfected at this point. Something happens to me that makes me feel unhappy- the tone, that lack of appreciation, the inability to control a situation. My immediate response is to run away from the yuck and move towards making myself comfortable. I go to my man cave, that deep dark hole inside me with beer, tv, video games, and distractions that keep me from confronting my own stuff.
Unfortunately, I’ve run away from issues so many times that my man cave becomes my home, my habit, disconnecting me from engaging in life and the relationships around me, including my wife. Your man cave may look different than mine (maybe it’s porn, gambling, drugs) but it’s still a man cave! But none of these things truly satisfy us and ultimately we experience shame for making a poor choice. And it’s shame that keeps us there longer than we want and costs us more than we are willing to pay. We allow ourselves to believe that if we stay disconnected from our wife that it will eventually go away or be better than what it is today. Let me be honest with you men, I think most of us would rather numb out and ignore our problems rather than face them head on, which would require….well manning up!
Now MANNING UP, well that’s the stuff William Wallace is made of (Braveheart plug). The willingness to step into the chaos of life and make sense of it. Confronting your own brokenness, taking responsibility for your actions, thanklessly leading others with humility, letting go of ego when you’ve been wronged… this is not for the faint of heart.
It comes down to one quality that is needed to move from numbing out to manning up- COURAGE.
Courage is the ability, the stamina, to hang in there when things aren’t pretty. In those moments, you get the ‘opportunity’ to CHOOSE LOVE. These moments have nothing to do with how you feel or how much coffee you’ve had. It is purely a decision that you make based on courage. In fact, choosing love will require you to act in direct violation of what you may feel in those moments. When my wife says something that hurts me, I don’t want to respond with kindness. I want to lash out and hurt her back. It’s courage that reminds me that I’m after something bigger, grander and more honorable.
Where does courage come from?
If courage is the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or laziness, then we know it starts with a vision of something bigger than yourself. I am a small component within the greater context of leading the family, which means I’m not always first, and I’m not always right. I serve a greater purpose- to serve and protect. I serve by speaking love into the heart of my wife and my kids. I serve by doing the dishes or cooking, by engaging in the relationships around me. I serve by making sure I’m healthy with good sleep, time for meditation, even time to myself. And the thing with courage is that it’s like a muscle. If you don’t use it, it will wither away. But, if you use it often, it will be strong, empowering and will protect others.
I ask you, what do you want to be remembered for? Stop and jot down 3 qualities that you want to be known for. Now ask yourself, are you there? If not, what’s stopping you from achieving that? What seems to be more important than handling the things that are going on in your mind or heart?
- Plan your next date night. Take the initiative, schedule the babysitter, and do something fun together. Think adventure!!!!
- Ask your wife this one question when she is sharing a story, “How did that make you feel?”
- Identify what your man cave looks like. Be aware of what triggers your escape.
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