Posts tagged passive men

3 reasons wedding anniversaries matter

There are three main reasons why your wedding anniversary should be important to you.

The first reason is that it’s important to God that men make a point of remembering and outwardly celebrating His blessings to them.  In the Old Testament, God commanded His men to gather together 12 stones as a “remembrance” of miracles he performed for them (Genesis 31:1; Joshua 4:8; I Kings 18:31).  Just as those men remembered God’s blessings to them and praised God for them, we need to remember our anniversaries, celebrate, and thank God for our wives.  Anniversaries are milestones, opportunities to honor our wives and God.

Second, wedding anniversaries matter to our wives.  And, guys, whatever is important to them, must be important to us, because God tells us to love our wives as Christ loves the Church, and even gave His life for her (Ephesians 5:25).

Finally, our kids are usually aware of our anniversaries, and they are watching.  A man who honors his marriage, his wife, and God is showing his kids that their home is a secure place to be. They can count on him.

Happy couple on the floor - wedding anniversaries matter

Wedding anniversaries matter. They’re a memento of a life shared.

To me, though, not just any date night works for an anniversary celebration.  An anniversary calls for a special deal.  This past year, for example, I took my bride of 13 years on a tour of all of the special places around town that had special meaning for us as a couple.  We started at the restaurant where we went on our first date.  We drove by the coffee shop that had been our favorite, on by the apartment where she lived when we first met, and where I lived when we met.  I took her to the place where I proposed to her.

At each spot, we stopped to talk and walk around a while, remembering all of the memories sparked by that spot and the surrounding area.  It was a great time of remembering and celebrating because it was planned in advance, and intentional.

My wife has already begun to remind me that our next anniversary isn’t too far off, and she’s looking forward to it.  So, I’m working up a plan for this next one now.  Although I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like yet, it will be good because I know who I will be celebrating with, and she knows I’m planning ahead.

What about you guys?  Does your wife know you are planning now for your next anniversary celebration?  What do you do to demonstrate your thankfulness to God for your wife?

3 lame excuses for why I don’t initiate


The Courage to Initiate

Initiative is the essence of manhood. Nothing comes to the man who is passive, except failure.

Men are not meant to be spectators. Real men accept responsibility rather than making excuses and look for solutions instead of casting blame. They reject the “I’m a victim, so let me off the hook” mentality and find a way to push ahead through the storm. On the other hand, the disengaged man, whether single or married, will settle for diluted, bland maleness. Life happens to him; he doesn’t happen to life. His expectations are low. And so are his achievements. I hope you’re not counting on him. I hope you’re not him.

Abdicating their roles

Some men demonstrate more courage in their jobs than they do in their families. A friend recently made an observation about a neighbor and expressed questions about why some men don’t step up at home:

Rebecca is in her late thirties and is married to Bill, a man in his early forties who is a successful CEO of the leading oil company in a Middle Eastern country. Bill was a U.S. oil-company exec when they met fifteen years ago; then they moved [to the Middle East], had children (his second family), and raised them until they started school. Rebecca [and their children] moved back to the U.S. to get the younger son, who has ADHD issues, the right educational environment. For the past five to seven years, she’s lived here, and Bill has visited about once every month or two — it seems to work for them. However, the boys are growing, now twelve and fourteen and out of control, and she can’t handle the virtual single-mom thing anymore. Finally, Bill announced last month that he’s stepping down from his international gig and coming home to spend more time with the family. Everyone is excited. His twenty-two-year-old daughter by a previous marriage is posting the news to her Facebook page — “Dad’s coming back!” Sounds like he’s finally agreeing to engage in the family he supports financially, right? No. Yesterday I learned that the twelve year-old son is being shipped off to military prep school, and Dad is considering a new job in Ireland. Jaw dropping.

Why is it that some men can initiate great tasks and conquer overwhelming obstacles at work, yet remain passive in relationships or in leading at home? It’s as if there’s a disease that infects the male species. None of us is exempt from the passivity virus. Over the years I’ve done a little inventory of my life and listed some of my own lame excuses for why I haven’t taken the initiative when faced with a duty or challenge:

Lame Excuse #1: Taking the initiative is hard work, and I’m tired.

I hate to admit this, but pure selfishness and laziness have been the cause of most of my passivity. In years past, after solving problems at work, I just wanted to vegetate, watch television, and not get involved with cleaning up the kitchen, helping with homework, or putting the kids to bed. And I certainly didn’t want to deal with bigger issues, such as repairing a breach in my relationship with my wife or addressing a disciplinary issue with a child. On multiple occasions I’ve had to pry myself out of my easy chair and into situations that I would rather have ignored. Being a man will involve pain. Initiative requires sacrifice and self-denial.

Lame Excuse #2: I don’t know how to initiate.

When I was single, developing a relationship with a woman was risky. The learning curve was steep, and there was always the fear of rejection. Later, as a husband, at times I found it easier to abdicate leadership to my wife. As a dad I knew I needed to develop a relationship with my daughters and take them on dates, but what were we supposed to talk about? Other responsibilities, such as having a “birds and bees” conversation with my children, were awkward and easy to rationalize putting off until sometime in the future.

Lame Excuse #3: Taking the initiative means I might fail.

Or it may mean I’ve already failed, and it’s easier not to risk failing again. Whether it was asking a young lady out on a date when I was single, hammering out boundaries and discipline for the children — or just dealing with the basics of leading my family, I found that the fear of failure creates a gravitational pull toward passivity. But real men take action. And when they do, great things can happen.

So, men, what is it for you?  Do you have some “lame” excuses that you’ve used or maybe continue to use to keep from being real men who accept responsibility?  What is it that today you can say “no” to or “yes” to that would be a departure from yesterday and be a step toward initiating leadership in your family?

Adapted from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey. © 2011 by FamilyLife Publishing. All rights reserved.

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A real call of duty to fight real modern warfare

REAL Men fight the REAL Call of Duty

The REAL Call of Duty

Sometimes the simplest gesture can make a big statement.  I remember the weekend when I first brought my Merry (who eventually became my wife) to meet my family in Oregon.  My parents took us to a college basketball game, and it was raining hard when we arrived at the arena.

We had only one umbrella, so Dad dropped us off so we wouldn’t get wet. That really impressed Merry — she thought if my father had that type of servant attitude, some of it must have rubbed off on me.

And though I confess that I haven’t always followed my father’s example, I did learn much from him about being a husband, a father, and a man.  I’m fortunate to have a father who modeled how to take responsibility — he provided well for his family, he loved my mother, he was involved in his church and community, and he worked hard at helping raise my sister and me.  He was consistent, stable, and wise — and he was there for us.

In fact, he still is.

The REAL Modern Warfare

I thought of my father as I was reading about men who won’t grow up.   A number of media reports over time have focused on what some call the “Peter Pan Syndrome” — the growing phenomenon of young men who drift from job to job, live with parents or with a crew of buddies, and focus much of their energy on drinking, carousing, watching sports, playing video games (like Call of Duty® and Modern Warfare®), and chasing women.

It’s as if these young men have developed a warped idea of manhood.  They think becoming a man means getting to do whatever they want.  So for them, starting a family means giving up their cherished independence.  With that type of mindset, you wonder what type of husbands and fathers they will be when they finally set aside their childish ways.

But my father showed me that being a man means taking responsibility — for your choices, for your family, for your community, and for the next generation — this is our REAL call of duty as men — taking responsibility when we would rather be passive.  And a key step to becoming that man is to eventually find a wife and raise a family.  This is hard to do if we are still at home, playing video games and not working.

Our sinful, human nature craves independence; we want to go our own way, and avoid the responsibilities of commitment to God and to other people.  As Isaiah 53:6 tells us, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”  In other words, we are prone to be men who won’t grow up.

Yet we live in a culture that celebrates youth and beauty and independence — even at the expense of growing up.  Many young men today immerse themselves in a world of media entertainment and diversions that tell them it’s okay to live a self-centered lifestyle, free of commitments to anything beyond endless and mindless pleasure.

I could also make a good argument that this culture can influence men in their later years.  How many men revert to adolescent behavior in middle age and leave their wives and families to pursue the excitement and adventure they feel they’re missing?

What Men Need to Grow Up and STEP UP

In a culture like this, where can men — young and old — learn how to become real men?  The simple answer is:  From other men.  Whether we are young or old, we need other men in our lives who will teach us, model for us, and encourage us to make the right choices.

Husbands and fathers need to step up and take responsibility for raising the next generation.

Boys growing up without fathers need men who will step into their lives and mentor them.

And men who refuse to grow up need peers and mentors who will exhort them to act like men.

As Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife, writes, “While none of us ever outgrow the need for having other men to mentor us, to watch behind us, to hold us accountable, it is an absolute essential for those who would admit that their teenage tendencies are still pretty strong inside. If you find yourself grown but still exhibiting immature, adolescent behavior on a fairly regular basis, you need people around you who can call you up and out.”

And that’s how men grow up … they step up with each other’s help.

Copyright (c) 2014 FamilyLife.

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