I recently had a great talk with an old friend over a couple glasses of nice single malt. My friend grew up Christian but abhors corporate religion and refuses to go to church because of this, however his wife attends church regularly with their young son. My friend conceded that his wife secretly emulated my wife and I's marriage and I took this as an opening to subtly minister to my friend. I'm a firm believer that relational ministry and setting the example as Christians is by far, the best advertising and form of ministry available. The following is a paraphrased version of the ebb and flow of our conversation, the points we discussed and my opinion on three critical areas in a man's life.
This post is meant for the 10% or those men that desire to be in the 10%.
The 10% being actively engaged, passionately present husbands and fathers. Leaders, Example Setters and Pillars in the Church, Community and Workplace. - The Men among men.
This leads us to the current problem and downfall with some men - Passive Manhood.
Defining the Problem.
I define Passive Manhood as tending not to take an active or dominant role in marriage and family matters.
Paul at Hardcore Christian Men defines it well..."A passive man is one that does not take an active role in decisions or actions. Often this is a person who submits to another person’s will simply because it is easier than figuring out what to do or taking responsibility themselves. It is submission to another out of ease regardless of the consequences. Another view of passive nature is passive aggressiveness. This is the nature of supporting someone to their face while stabbing them in the back. This is the person who will leave a note griping about people using something of theirs and then act like it’s perfectly fine if you use it. Passive aggressive people do everything they can to avoid direct conflict, but stir the fire incessantly anonymously."
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." - Ephesians 5: 25-28
We often hear people throw around the term "unconditional love" but I have truly only met a few couples who truly live up to it's definition:
I told my friend this."Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations or conditions. Unconditional Love is that type of love which has no bounds and is unchanging. In psychology, unconditional love would refer to a state of mind in which the individual has the goal of increasing the welfare of another, despite any evidence of benefit for them self."
What we're really saying is...I love you, No matter what.
Even if you don't reciprocate it.
Even if you disrespect me.
Even if you withhold sex.
Even if your physical appearance fades.
It's saying that whether the other person holds up their end of the bargain or not, you will hold up your end.
The number one reason cited for marriage infidelity is neglect. It is almost always the reason women cite for their extramarital affairs. Everyone needs psychological stimulation. Without it one begins to suffer from mental and emotional neglect and will search for affection in other areas.
Women lose interest in their husbands for the following reasons:
- a desire for emotional closeness and intimacy (someone caring to confide in and bond with on an emotional level)
- a desire for attention (wanting be the center of a man’s attention again)
- to reaffirm her desirability (To feel validated as a woman)
- to re-experience feelings of romance
- a desire to feel “special”
Think back to when you were dating your wife...how did you act? How did you speak? How were your manners? How did you dress? How often did you call her? How often did you buy her gifts? How often did you take her on dates?
If your answers to these questions have changed from then until now, Why?
God has commanded us to love our wives as we love the church, as we love God.
I don't know about you but I'm not one for passing blame or responsibility. As a man, my marriage is my responsibility.
If our marriage has failed or is failing, it's our fault. Period. We have not upheld God's command or our promise to our wife. That's the bottom line.
Society and the media will tell us that love is based on personal desires and emotions. When we feel loved, we return the love. When we don't feel loved, we don't love back.
Society will tell us that marriage is just a legal contract. "I feel loved, I want to marry her." but when the feelings change "I don't feel loved, I want a divorce."
All this is conditional-emotions based love. This type of love says...I love you except when you do this....
This is not the love or marriage God describes to us in the Bible.
But God commands us not to die literally but to put to death our own selfish desires to meet our wife's deepest needs. It's about being willing to sacrifice our "lives" every day for her.
As men, we want a woman who deeply respects and appreciates us, but the kind of man a woman appreciates and respects is one who sacrificially loves her, who patiently honors her and who lays down his "life" for her on a daily basis.
So my challenge to my friend and you is to love your wife unconditionally. Failure is not an option. We hold the keys, it is our responsibility and we must be held accountable daily.