March 21, 2011

Masculinity Matters

Unlock the gridlock in relationships

I called a friend recently who shared his marriage was in trouble.
After we talked for awhile, it was clear that he wanted to take action
but wasn’t quite sure what to do. It is extremely unnerving for men when
they’re not sure what to do next. Men are at their best when they
initiate action. Men are built to move! If you don’t believe me take
care of some young boys for a weekend; you’ll be begging to go back to
work.

My friend’s frustration was that he had tried counseling, and though
it was helpful, it was not bringing them together. As he continued to
share his frustration he was searching for the right action. He wanted
to discover what he needed to do to unlock the gridlock in their
marriage.

I asked him a question; “what do you want in your marriage? He began
to share an amazing vision of his marriage and family. He spoke of love,
joy, laughter and special times together. I asked him some more
questions; “Have you shared your vision with your spouse and discovered
her vision for marriage and family”?  “What do you together believe are
the challenges that are blocking your marriage vision becoming a
reality”? He was excited about the talking points we had discussed and
went home early to have a heart to heart time with his spouse.

Before we ended our call we talked about the condition of his heart. I
wanted my friend to avoid a mistake. He clearly was frustrated with his
spouse, and I knew if he brought that frustration to his conversation
this afternoon it was over before it got started. Frustration easily
moves to anger and anger as James says “does not achieve the righteous
life that God desires”. Frankly, anger never works in relationships. I
brought anger in my marriage and it nearly destroyed it.

We discussed the power of leading with love. Love shows honor and
builds bridges where there are none. In fact, love comes with a promise:
“it never fails.”  When men lead with love, something powerful occurs.
Initiating love in a painful situation is one of man’s most masculine
moments. But it’s not easy. In order to lead with love you must practice
humility and empty yourself of pride and prejudice.

The first day of leading with love was tough. My friend’s spouse
began to open up and share core challenges in their relationship. We
connected again and I encouraged him to; “put service before self”.  Yes
that is tough; but he did it!  He determined to serve his spouse by
praying with her and praying for areas of her life.

I got a call the other night from my friend giving me an encouraging
update saying; “I wanted you to know its working.” That was sweet music
to my ears. I was so encouraged by his courageous and bold action.
Imagine if you and I took more initiative to lead with love?