Father. Husband. Leader. These Are My Confessions

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I’ve been married for six years and I’ve learned things about myself I wouldn’t have learned in any other context. There have been times I’ve wanted to walk away and times I’ve wanted to spend every second of the day with my wife. There have been times I couldn’t keep my eyes off her and times I didn’t want to see her. I’ve experienced an array of emotions, but seldom felt empowered to authentically express them. Although I’ve grown in many areas, I realize how silenced I became and why so many men feel the same. Sometimes we refuse to share because we fear hurting our spouse, being ostracized, being unheard or belittled, but we have feelings and they are significant. They are confessions we confine in tightly guarded places that need to breathe. Here are some of mine.

I frequently struggle with isolation

I’ve been a loner for as long as I can remember and although I was aware of this prior to marriage, somewhere deeply embedded was a belief that marriage would make this go away. It wasn’t until years into marriage I experienced recurring episodes of loneliness and wrestled with the inadequacy of trying to fill that void through my wife. I deal with this much better, yet I still experience pockets of profound isolation and have come to realization my wife cannot, and will never fully satisfy that need. She is ill-equipped because it’s part of my personality and a spiritual void. I now manage my expectations by interrupting falsehoods with spiritual truths, became more expressive when these feelings arise, and accepted the reality that this part of who I am.

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I relentlessly wrestle with feelings of inadequacy

I frequently battle with thoughts of whether or not I am good enough, smart enough, and whether or not I am leading my family in a God-honoring way. I am a logical person, so I tend to judge the circumstance based on results, not intention, and internalize blame when things aren’t what I think they should be. I always assess my family’s success with an uneven ruler that often leaves me with the short end of the stick and most of the criticism. 99 percent of these criticisms are internal and I have to fight them with biblical truths daily.

I lust for other women

I love my wife, I am deeply committed to her, I have never been unfaithful, but there are times I want to have sex with other women. No attachment, life-term commitment, or genuine relationship, just sex. The truth is marriage doesn’t diminish your lust for other women. As men, we are attracted to what we see and no matter how incredibly beautiful, intelligent, and freaky our wife may be, there will always be someone prettier, more fit, funnier, more gifted and seemingly willing to do what our wives won’t. Always. I know men who won’t make a marital commitment because they feel it’ll close the door on all the other women, and I know some men who believe making the commitment will curtail their sexual attraction to all the women. Neither is true. I’ve met many men who have engaged in extramarital affairs, infidelity, and or heavy pornography use because they failed to realize this.

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I now understand the psychology of a sexually repressed man and how he can rationalize the validity of self-satisfaction and or infidelity. Because so many men have the false notion that sex is an inalienable right, they acquiesce to the antiquated notion that if it’s not available at home they have a right to get it elsewhere. This is an inherently flawed construct because it sits on the pillar of self-happiness and fulfillment. However, this doesn’t license to women to wage sex as an incentive for good behavior. This can cause its own array of dysfunction, resentment, and conflict. Although sex is a critical part of holy matrimony, it doesn’t supersede the other tenants like unity, selfless love, and mutual submission.

“They acquiesce to the antiquated notion that if it’s not available at home they have a right to get it elsewhere.”

Sometimes I don’t want to come home

As previously mentioned, I’m been a loner for as long as I can remember and there are some days I don’t want to come home. I love being at home, but when I know I will be greeted by a crying child, an empty plate, dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and only 30-45 minutes to connect with my wife I’d rather stay out. I’d rather avoid all of these for limited personal peace. I’m not saying it’s healthy, I’m just saying it happens.

I love my family, but sometimes don’t miss them when I’m away

When I travel I don’t miss them as much as I thought I would. Since I’m an introvert, I really enjoy not having a curfew, not looking after a child, not sleeping with someone else in the bed, and not coordinating schedules for simple things like church. I enjoy being able to come and go as I please without considering another human being. If I know my family is safe and secure, I can live freely when I’m gone.

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Sometimes I hate being married

Marriage is a phenomenal teacher of character, but the lessons don’t come easy. They are mostly through difficult circumstances, disagreements, and the normal challenges of trying to build biblical unity with someone. Ephesians 5:25 instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and quite honestly, the practicality of this really sucks. Really, really sucks. This means you have to fight against your own inhibitions, biases, unforgiveness, idiosyncrasies, and problems you didn’t know you had while administering love of divine proportions to someone who may be the very agent of your agitation. How Sway! Let me make it plain as some old church traditions say. This means even of you aren’t happy or getting your emotional and sexual needs met you still have to love selflessly without reservation. Again, How Sway!

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Our spouses are a mirror that reveal the slightest cracks in our leadership and personality and I can understand why some people call it quits. It can be much easier to stop looking in the mirror than to change what you see. We made a commitment to a life of sacrifice, personal healing, and unconditional love against all human logic. It’s not all doom and gloom, but honoring God’s covenant is serious business that too many of us take too lightly. On December 8, 2012, I made a commitment before God and my family to love my wife to death do us part and by God’s grace that’s’ what I’ll do. This is what all men should do regardless of how we feel and the direction society attempts to sway us. We have a responsibility to honor the legacy of family and build the character of nations through the commitment of marriage. These are my confessions, but not my covenant. What will be yours?

 

Six Tips to the Dating Man

Get ya money right: If you’re dating then hopefully it’s someone you can see yourself with long term. If this is the case, you should really start preparing financially. Although I had an inkling about the importance about financial planning and stewardship, I didn’t understand how much it impacts every area of your life. You don’t have to have a certain dollar amount, or earn a certain income, however you should seriously seek financial guidance. Check out these resources: Dave Ramsey and DFree 

“You don’t have to have a certain dollar amount, or earn a certain income…”

Don’t be scurred: OMGoodness! If I had a dollar for every fearful brother I met,  I’d be rich! I talk to so many men who try to over-spiritualize their insecurity, anxiety, uneasiness, uncertainty and downright fear! A woman doesn’t expect you to be made of iron, she just wants you to be real. I know scurred single brothers and I know scurred “involved” brothers.  I know guys who will meet an incredible woman, know for certain they want to marry her, but postpone “putting a ring on it” simply because they’re afraid of commitment or they wrestle with the idea of not measuring up. Let me help you: YOU NEVER WILL! Move on and put a ring on it anyway. When start stalling because of your overly-amplified, idiosyncrasies and fears you make the relationship all about you. This, at its root is selfish, narcissistic and an inability to walk in faith. I’m not advocating rushing into anything, especially something as serious as marriage; equally I don’t advocate fearful living.  

Take the lead: You don’t have to wait on the heavens to open up and hear a James Earlish voice before you make faith steps. If you like a woman, tell her. If you want to date or court (depending on how you define the process) her then be upfront and be unafraid of possible rejection. There should not be any point in your relationship where your woman has to guess or assume your relationship status. You should have the courage to initiate important conversations, including defining the relationship. Your relationship should progressively move towards the future, even if you realize along the way it’s not with each other.


“Believe it or not, being emotionally vulnerable takes tremendous strength…”



Communication isn’t key, it’s the whole door: If you’re like most guys on the planet, this will probably be the hardest for you. Learning to talk about feelings and emotions isn’t an area in which most of us have proficiency. Believe it or not, being emotionally vulnerable takes tremendous strength, and communicates to your mate you’re willing to grow and you care. This also involves learning the art of listening.

Set boundaries: If you haven’t made a commitment for life, then you’re dating someone else’s wife. I don’t care how spiritual you are, how much you pray and how many accountability friends you have, all is forgotten when you’re turned on.  Nothing functions properly except one thing and it will get you into trouble. Despite what we have been taught by popular culture, media, and music, taking a test drive, having taste tests, using free samples and 30 day trial periods are not real measures of a relationship’s durability or long-term potential. All of these ideologies are MANufactured and don’t consider the very real and costly implications of diverting from God’s original intent for sexual intimacy. Condoms can cover body parts, but they cannot cover hearts. Ideally, in a dating relationship, the man sets the physical and emotional boundaries, not the woman. Not the woman. As a man you lay the foundation in the relationship. She’s looking to you to lead her well and trusts you with her heart and body. Don’t abuse her trust, its’ not worth it. When the purpose of something is unknown, abuse is inevitable. Know what God’s word says about his daughters.

 

“Condoms can cover body parts, but they cannot cover hearts.”



Get some help: I recommend every couple have another couple, preferably older and more experienced, as a support system. You can’t go somewhere you’ve never been without directions so ask for help. Take their advice. Don’t be afraid to allow trustworthy people to get all up in your business. That’s called good leadership and accountability.

Brother to Sister: Seven Tips to the Single Woman

1. Singapore_Road_Signs_-_Warning_Sign_-_Danger.svgBelieve What You See: When you see who or what a person is, please, please, please believe it. I beseech you therefore sisteren, do not try to rationalize, over-spiritualize or trivialize what is right in front of you. Whomever you’re getting acquainted with will be the person you are with: the good, bad, and indifferent. What a man says is what he believes. What a man does is what he values. If you see incredible aspects of a Godly man you can envision yourself with long-term, great! Likewise, if you see legitimate warning signs, believe them!

2. You’re Not Marrying The Man You Want; You’re Marrying The Man You’re With: I talk with so many women who suffer from Mother Theresa Syndrome, MTS for short. They try to fix, repair, and mold a man, believing he will magically become amazing and they will live happily ever after. Believing the best for someone doesn’t mean living oblivious to reality. Sometimes you can have a great guy, but he’s not your great guy. Trusting the in the Lord’s prevailing purpose will enable you to develop an open-palm philosophy: you’re open to receive and open to have it taken away.

“Believing the best for someone doesn’t mean living oblivious to reality.”

3. Pray For Him: Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. Sometimes God will use prayer to give us wisdom about the decisions we need to make. Don’t pray your man will change for your sake; pray he will change for God’s sake.

4. Don’t Try To Change Him: I don’t care how many times you’ve heard it, inevitably some women will still try to do it. I have a friend who really wants the man she’s with to become more spiritually mature. He doesn’t initiate his spiritual development so she often sends him Christian articles, bible verses and other materials to read. This is a NO NO! When a man senses someone is trying to change him, he will do one of two things: rebel or recluse. Neither is good. Whomever or whatever your man wants to be has to first start with him.

“If a person hasn’t shown significant change for a consistent amount of time, he or she will likely repeat the past.”

5. Get Some Counsel: You wouldn’t get in a car and drive to a place you’ve never been without directions would you? Why would you do so with your future? I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have anyone I can trust”, or “I’m not that close to many people.” Well, find someone, some books, workshops, or something to guide you. Just like driving in a car, ultimately, you are responsible for where you end. Ignorance doesn’t alleviate responsibility or nullify the consequences of bad decisions.  
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6. Past Performance Predicts Future Behavior: If you’re looking to hire someone, you ask for a resume. They show an employer what skills a candidate already possesses, not the ones he aspires to possess. Employers don’t hire based on aspiration; it’s based on experience. A dating relationship is like an interview, and each person should assess their candidate’s resume. This is why open and truthful communication is vital. I don’t advocate casting judgement based on past mistakes, however if a person hasn’t shown significant change for a consistent amount of time, he or she will likely repeat the past.

“A good man, with good guidance will ensure he initiates communication…”


7. Keep Your Eyes On The Road, But Don’t Drive The Car: There’s a balance between having good communication about the relationship and trying to forcefully steer its direction. It’s perfectly ok to question or initiate conversations about the status of a relationship. A good man, with good guidance will ensure he initiates communication about the relationship, as well as progressively steer it towards healthy development. However, sometimes women find themselves with a man that falls asleep at the wheel. Consequently, the relationship falls into a “pending verification” phase while the man gets himself together. You’re not obligated to stay in the car while he joy rides, but before you get out, it’s very appropriate to question- with elegance and wisdom-where the two of you are going. If he’s serious about moving forward he will step up. If he’s not, he won’t. In this event, consider yourself blessed. Sometimes the hardest lessons produce the biggest blessings.

Brother to Brother: 10 Types of Women You Shouldn’t Date

In one of my recent posts, I gave women ten types of men to avoid, and although lots of women enjoyed the insight, the brothers felt left out. So, what about all the good brothers out there? The ones who love God, have common sense, are hard-working, and have a vision? Where do they find love? Although it’s arguable who has it worse, the fact is, for some men it’s very difficult to find a lady who is attractive, spiritual, (but not spooky), and isn’t loco.  As you’re in pursuit, watch out for these of women.

Thirsty Thelma: She’s always looking for man, and will do whatever it takes to get anyone that somewhat resembles a man. Her self-worth is predicated on her relationship status, and unfortunately this makes her vulnerable to scrubs, thugs, and bedbugs. Her Facebook status affirms her. Not God, her uniqueness or creativity. Not even the man she’s with. It’s simply the satisfaction of knowing she has a man.

Freaky Felicia: Self-explanatory right? She’s the kind of  vixen open more than your local Walmart. She’s open for business for anyone…and I mean anyone. You don’t know where she’s been, or with whom she’s been with. Bye Felicia.

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Sleeping Sasha: She’s the main character in a story that’s all about her rescue from the perils of singlehood.  She’s stuck in a Disney movie, waiting for her handsome prince to ride in on a stallion, take her hand, and whisk her away to an enchanted land where love lives forever. A woman waiting on a man to become who she is destined to be is a woman out of touch with reality. These women will put unrealistic expectations on men and often play the victim instead of living victoriously.

Kangaroo Katie: She jumps in and out of relationships. Every time you see her she has a new man. She changes men like handbags. Usually, these types of women have issues they may or may not be aware of, and are looking for someone else to help fix. Sometimes they will superimpose unrealistic standards NO MAN is able to meet. They can search for minuscule, insignificant reasons to break up, and it’s on to the next one. She may even try to “build-a-boo”, by having two, three or five men on the side, each embodying a characteristic she desires.

Holy Heather: Ever met someone so spiritual they were out of touch with reality? Well fellas, this is Heather. She’s disconnected from the universe and masks genuine emotions, desires, and ideas-the ones God gives us-with spirituality. She is the, “Jesus is my boyfriend”, and “I’m just waiting on the Lord” kind of woman. She doesn’t know where she wants to go, what kind of man she’s looking for, or what qualities make her unique because, “The Lord ain’t revealed it yet.” She’s a bystander in life, and in relationships.

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Insecure Ida: Every person deals with insecurities, idiosyncrasies and issues, but Ida is unreasonably insecure. She frequently speaks and behaves in ways to seek attention or affirmation. Initially, it can be cute or attractive to think you’re genuinely needed by her, but it’s fool’s gold. Trying to love an insecure person is like trying to cut down a redwood with a razor blade. You will never say enough, do enough, or be enough to give her what she needs: real self-love that comes from above.

Wonder Woman Wanda: It’s her way or the highway. She runs a strict dictatorship, and being with her is a privilege, or so she thinks. She makes the rules, the money, and tells subjects lucky enough to be under her rule what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. She feels the need to be in control and refuses to relinquish her Queendom. Frequently, people like this are deeply insecure and feel the need to overcompensate in areas where they may feel out of control. It’s a means of security. With her, “don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.”

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Krazy Keisha:  Just like Krazy Kevin, she gets hotter than the pavement in Arizona. She screams, cries, manipulates, and is emotionally unstable. One minute everything is fine, and the next, it’s like a scene out of, The Exorcist. She can also get physically violent, and best believe will slash tires and bust the windows out your car.

Cash-in Candace: I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold-digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke… well, you know the song. If she’s overly-concerned about cheddar, then your life will not be better.  It’s all about the money… dollar, dollar bill y’all.  Her concept of manhood and womanhood may be rooted in false and erroneous ideologies that she will inevitably project on you.

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Heartbroken Haley: Sometimes she walks in circles.  She’s been broken so many times she has built walls taller than Jericho and you ain’t getting through brother. She may have an emotional and spiritual  deficit that may require professional counseling. She’s the younger sister of Wonder Woman Wanda, and without a real intervention, will grow up to be just like her.

It’s tempting to be Billy Graham and go on a crusade to try save a woman from herself, but trust me, you cannot do it. When hurting people hurt people, and are in need of healing, the first step is to recognize the problem. The next is getting the appropriate help. After God made the first woman, that job became obsolete. We cannot make ourselves a wife; we must allow Him to present her to us. This means, like Eve, God makes her. He never told us to fall in love, he told us to walk in it, and sometimes walking in love means knowing what paths to avoid.

 

Brother to Sister: 10 Types of Men You Shouldn’t Date

All my single ladies… all my single ladies… now put your hands up… and pray! Yes, pray. That’s exactly what you need to do if you’re looking for a good man in today’s times. We are living in a hypersexual, pseudo-romantic and superficial society that continually narrates the old and fictitious tale of guy meets girl, the two fall in love, then they live happily ever after. Well, it’s just not true; it’s possible, just not highly probable. Sometimes it’s hard to find a good man and I want to help you as you’re waiting on Mr. Right or looking for him. I want to help you spot the NOTs so you don’t waste time trying to warm a fire that was never meant to burn. Here are several types of men you need to avoid:

 

Casanova Carl He treats his women like Lays Potato Chips: he can’t have just one. The most important thing you need to know about Carl is stay away. Although he may not sleep around with many women, he likes his “friends” a little too much and doesn’t know how to appropriately detach. He craves feminine attention and affirmation and may not know how to relate to men. He may be  good to hang out with, but keep him in the friend zone.

Krazy Kevin: Here’s Kevin! Run! Get out the way! This is the, “I called you 10 times in one hour because I can’t live without you.” The, “I went looking for you because you were gone more than 30 minutes” kind of brother. He’s unpredictable, controlling, overly critical, sensitive and abnormally attached. He can be verbally and physically abusive. He is literally crazy. A couple of red flags: (1) He tries to get too close way too soon, (2) He show signs of aggressive pursuit too early without knowing anything about you, (3) He is a ticking time bomb. Anything can set him off.  He has so many issues you could fill two landfills and still have more room. These relationships are highly flammable and have a high propensity to turn dangerous. Please stay away.

Krazy Kevin

Wild Wendall: When you see this man please move. NOW! Like, right now! He exhibits unreasonable anger, doesn’t like authority, rules or boundaries. He wants what he wants and when he wants it, including you. Initially, his character deficiencies can be masqueraded by emotional authenticity and admirable drive but buyer beware! Quite often this type of behavior is rooted in insecurity, privilege, and a host of deep fractures. It may also reveal some deeper issues you’re not the person to help fix. I repeat, you’re not the person to help fix. Marriage is a magnifier for who we really are. If he can’t control his habits, sexuality, anger and emotions now it won’t change later.

Passive Paul He doesn’t breathe unless he gets permission first. He waits for you to make the first move for everything. He waits for you to express interest. He doesn’t initiate important conversations, is overly fearful of rejection, and incapable of making decisions and sticking to them. He likes whatever you like and goes wherever you lead. He avoids conflict and seldom steps up, speaks up or stands up.

Passive Paul

Selfie Santiago Simply put, it’s all about him. He spends more time in the mirror than you and everything is about him. His looks, his feelings, his ideas, his dreams, his life! He’s vain and overly focused on appearance: yours and his. Do yourself a favor: take one last picture then crop yourself out.

Brandon the Baby Two words: mama’s boy. Unfortunately, we live in a society where a lot of our boys were raised by single mothers. Historically, this has negatively interrupted our men’s identity development, sense of independence, and unfortunately, you have to deal with it. This guy still lives at home, doesn’t work nor looks for work and still depends on his mama for basic survival. He is a lot like Passive Paul in the sense he doesn’t control his life and waits for others to guide him through it. He will sometimes compare you to his mama and will criticize when you don’t measure up. If you’re not looking to be a mama then leave him alone.

Brandon the Baby

Lukewarm Larry This guy loves his freedom and doesn’t want to be confined to any religion, world doctrine, or anything that requires commitment. He lives by a smorgasbord of religious, philosophical, and self-derived principles. Essentially, he’s confused. Although he may be intellectually astute and a great conversationalist, unfortunately he stands for nothing. Larry might not lead you down a path of wickedness, death, or destruction but equally he cannot lead you to a place of indisputable truth.

Superman Sean This brother has so much on his plate he bought another one just to make room for everything. He’s the ultra-busy, “sorry, I’ve been too busy to call you back” guy.  He has too many things to do. He habitually returns your calls unreasonably late, misses the appointments you and he set, and puts you at the bottom of his to-do list. He’s not ready for a relationship; he’s just looking for another trophy to add to his mantle.

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Blind Bernard: Bernard is visually impaired and has no vision. He is unable to plan long-term and suffers from nearsightedness.  Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t have to present a ten year plan, but he does have to have a clue about life. He doesn’t know, nor has ever thought about his life passions, the legacy he wants to leave, or your future together. He is often vocationally, educationally, and spiritually complacent. He lacks motivation and frequently exhibits a “good enough” attitude. That is to say, regardless of opportunities and how they potentially impact he and his family; he does just enough to get by.  Not too little and not too much: just enough. Buy him some prescription lenses and leave them at his doorstep.

Nathan Nonbeliever: If you and he don’t spiritually agree, then chances are it ain’t meant to be.  Need I say more? I don’t care how fine, strong, funny, charming, spiritual, articulate, good to his mama and granny he is. If he is not wholeheartedly committed to his relationship with Christ you are going to have trouble. This is not to say if you marry him all hell will break loose. This is to say marriage is a sacred covenant between two people for expanding God’s work on earth. Yes, it can be fun and nice to have someone to lay beside, but if you two don’t have a basic reference point for life then there will be trouble. The price tag of settling for less than God’s best can be very, very expensive and sometimes you need the courage to say goodbye.

 

If you find yourself becoming frustrated and overwhelmed by the perceived lack of good men, be patient. In your singleness try investing in the lives of others and learning more about yourself. We unfailingly find ourselves in broken relationships because one or both of us started as broken people looking for someone to fix us. If you’re single keep an eye out for these men. If you’re currently in a relationship with one of these men and you aren’t married, you may want to seriously consider ending it. You don’t want to spend precious years trying to water and nurture something that was never supposed to grow. Stand in courageous faith, trust fiercely and keep hope alive until God brings you someone.     

 

Books I Recommend:

Too Close Too Soon

101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged