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“A man is a dangerous thing. So is a scalpel. It can wound you or save your life. You don’t make it safe by making it dull; you put it in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.” –John Eldredge
Do you know what DRIVES a man?
Men are not creatures who openly “share their feelings” or divulge the deepest thoughts of their soul. As a woman living with four men, (I am raising three sons) I count it my duty and honor to study the male species. While a man’s complexity cannot be summed up in three needs, these points below will absolutely help us walk in greater wisdom with a man.
1. Men NEED our respect and admiration.
“For a man, nothing beats being admired.”-Author Robert Lewis
A man is wired to need the respect of his wife, even more than he needs her love. Don’t miss opportunities to tell them they are making a difference, even in the little things. Affirm him in public, in front of his children, co-workers, friends and peers. Admiration and respect is a man’s deepest need. Make a vow to never correct or criticize your man in public or in front of his children; it will deeply humiliate and wound him. Speak the power words; “I am proud of you.” Those few words speak strength, energy and confidence to his masculine soul. A woman cannot bestow masculinity but she can build it up with her admiration.
2. A Man NEEDS our support and confidence in their work.
“Manhood at the most basic level can be validated and expressed only in action…Men must perform.”
Men are bottom line people. They need to know that their performance yields results. A man has a few mirrors that help him judge/reflect his performance; career, faith and his wife. Men will have ups and downs in their career, but a wife’s confidence in her man’s work is crucial. Some women blindly enable irresponsibility in their men, other women are so harsh and critical they kill the soul of their man. Wise women use sound judgment and understanding with a man as it relates to his dreams and work. Ladies, our men are constantly asking themselves one question: “How did I perform?” They reflect back to us what we believe about them. Start showing and speaking your trust and confidence in him. Your man’s performance will RISE to meet that level of expectation. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen. A simple and powerful statement, I speak to my husband and three performance driven sons is; “I believe in you, I know you have what it takes.” These words speak affirmation and life to the core of their masculinity.
3. A man NEEDS his wife in the bedroom.
“Good sex is life giving for a husband.” – Author William Hendricks
Men need your response to their physical performance. If he knows he has satisfied you sexually, he is on top of the world! When you are pleased in lovemaking, it builds him up, makes him feel like a real man. A wise woman knows what her sexuality is for. She uses these intimate opportunities to give him a boost of energy and confidence when life, career and other issues may be causing him stress. The singer Marvin Gaye got it right when he called it “Sexual Healing.” Do not deny your husband sex, to do so is to deny him what is essential for his life as a man.
Women can never study enough about the opposite sex.
When a woman walks in wisdom with her man, she provides an environment to help him rise to new levels of strength, energy and confidence. Our understanding of men can determine the quality of our relationships, our lives and the destiny of our entire family.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” –Dr. Martin Luther King
Over the past 13 years in marriage, I have recognized some of the core qualities that make a strong man. Any average man can marry a woman, it takes a great man to stay committed to his vows for life.
Are you Strong enough to provide?
No matter how much roles change in our society, a man’s core role is to provide for his family. A family where a husband neglects his role to provide, is a family that will suffer and eventually fail. Something changes in the soul of a woman when she cannot depend on the man she loves. We live in difficult financial times where dual incomes are often needed; but sacrificially providing for his family, is a real man’s number one priority. I salute STRONG men who provide for their families, who count it a privilege and honor to make their wives and children feel safe, stable and secure. Are you strong enough to provide?
Are you Strong enough to Lead?
Are you humble enough to follow God and strong enough to lead? When you lovingly lead your wife, you provide the right environment for her soul as a woman to flourish. A real man wants to lead. A real woman welcomes the safety, peace and protection that come from having a man as her covering. Are you strong enough to lead?
Are you Strong enough to fight for your family?
I went through an incredibly hard season in my marriage, one that I honestly did not feel we would make it through. I was “tired.” I could not fix, save or rescue my family. My husband prayed and fought for our love when I did not have a prayer left. He proved to me that I could trust him to lead our family with loving sacrifice. My marriage has weathered many storms. But over the past 13 years my husband Bryan has proven to me that he is strong enough to be my man. In the darkest hour of your marriage, will you fight to restore what is broken or lost? A real man knows what is at stake. Are you strong enough to FIGHT for your family?
Are you Strong enough to Love?
I have a dear friend who is extremely healthy, and physically fit; he is a former pro baseball player. Fitness and physical beauty were tops on his list when it came to seeking his mate. When he met his future wife she was a passionate, intelligent and stunning fitness model. When they exchanged solemn vows; he had no idea that after nine years of marriage he would endure watching his beautiful wife lose her hair, her physique and eventually her life to cancer. As he loved her through her battle with cancer, he said; “her inner strength and faith made her even more beautiful in my eyes.” Author John Eldredge states; “A real man does not go to a woman to get his strength; he goes to her to offer it.” My friend offered his loving strength to his wife when she needed it the most. He loved and cherished her till death do us part. Are you strong enough to love her if her beauty or health fails? A wise man knows that after the wedding bells stop ringing the character tests begin. Men, ask yourself honestly, are you strong enough to be her man?
When my youngest son Joseph was smaller, he was no match for his two older brothers in words or smarts. When they fought, he became overwhelmed quite easily. Since he could not verbally match them in battle, within moments he would be on the verge of exploding! He’d ball up his fists and haul off with rage and anger! He was not using the strength of his mind, or inner confidence. He was using anger; birthed from feelings of inadequacy and frustration. Women who are in relationships with angry men, are witnessing strength “gone bad.” True masculine strength is not birthed from pride and bravado. The anger in our men stems from feelings of powerlessness, incompetence and inadequacy. God is calling these men back to truth.
A woman dealing with an angry man must be wise.
A woman does not want to be forced into respect; she wants to be inspired. A WEAK, needy woman will passively allow a man to treat her harshly, because she has lost her voice. A STRONG, Independent woman will foolishly fight “fire with fire” using her will and force to rebel against his will and force. A REAL woman is wise enough to step back, seek God and trusted counsel for direction in her relationship.
“You don’t measure a real man by how successful he is in business. You measure him by how successful he is at home. No amount of career success will compensate for failure at home. Reputation is who people THINK you are. Character is who your wife and kids KNOW you are.” – Author Jentezen Franklin
A man should never give a neighbor, a church member or a co-worker greater respect and politeness than he does his own spouse or children. Our private lives, not our public ones are the greatest reflection into the true condition of our hearts.
A man’s anger often stems from feeling overwhelmed and alone in a world that demands more than he believes he can give.
A man who uses anger to demand respect, fails to receive the greatest gift his wife has to offer; the beauty of her heart. You can intimidate a woman into a temporary “performance” of respect, but you will lose her faith in you in the end. The greatest need a woman has is to feel safe, nurtured and protected by love. When a woman shares her vulnerability, it is an act of extreme courage. When a man rejects her trust through anger and pride, he wounds her soul in ways that could take years to repair. Often women are not the recipients of a man’s true heart. When our men respond in anger, we are feeling their wounds, their own hurts and defense against pain. Women, please take yourself out of the Savior role. We cannot “save” men. You cannot make up for what a man needed and never received. There are no formulas with God; your man’s journey to healing will be as deeply personal as your journey has been.
“God is fiercely committed to restoring the masculine heart. But the wounds a man refuses to acknowledge are the ones he will never heal.” Author, John Eldredge
Wise men don’t want a battle.
Men, don’t forfeit the blessings your life could reflect if you chose to dwell with your wife in love, patience and understanding. Chose your battles wisely, your wife is NOT the enemy. Bless you my brother as you seek wisdom, healing and true strength. Bless you my sister as you seek wisdom and allow God intervene on your behalf and restore your heart to wholeness and truth.
“Some men search for “safe women,” women who make them feel like a man, but never actually challenge them to be one.”- Author John Eldredge
This is a man’s great loss. Women living from truth and wholeness can elevate and reawaken greatness in a man’s heart. And while I wholeheartedly believe it takes a man to make a man. A woman can certainly make a man a better man. My own husband pays me the greatest compliment when he tells me, “Baby, you have made me a better man.”
Women cannot CHANGE men, but they can help them evolve into greater men.
The biggest lie women believe is that they can CHANGE a man. If you are dating a man now with hopes of marrying him, please do not marry him for what he “can be.” There is no guarantee that a man will change. The best insurance is to choose your mate well in the beginning. When you choose a good man, with integrity, faithfulness and character, you have the surest foundation. You can wholeheartedly trust that this man will evolve into an even greater man. Part of this “evolving” is directly related to you, using wisdom in your relationship with him.
When men get married, they begin a journey to shed some of the final aspects of their “boyish,” selfish and immature behavior. Their wives beckon them to rise to the occasion of being stronger, wiser men.
Wise women speak LIFE, not death into their man’s heart.
I have been guilty of using the most damaging weapon in a woman’s arsenal, my mouth. “A foolish woman tears down her own house, a wise woman builds hers.” When I was “verbally” tearing down my own home through criticism and pride, I was destroying my man’s confidence and my own. When women speak “life” to their men, we challenge them to reclaim their role and live up to the call of authentic manhood.
Women “add” to men, when we use discernment.
Women who seek Godly wisdom and counsel have another gift, discernment. This “spiritual radar” enables us to “see” things that our husbands might miss. A dear friend of mine recently shared a story about employing her spiritual “radar.” Her husband was involved in a high-profile financial transaction. Before the deal was sealed, the business men invited the two of them out to dinner. During the course of the dinner, my friend became increasingly uncomfortable with these men; “something didn’t sit right.” Later that night she conveyed her reservations to her husband and advised him to “wait.” Her husband was wise enough to listen to her heart regarding this matter. She was right. Months later it was discovered that these men were becoming notorious for bad business dealings within the city.
A real man welcomes the insight and instinct of a woman. It expands and increases favor in his life.
The average woman is led by her feelings. The GREAT woman is led by wisdom.
Women guided by knowledge are “quick to listen and slow to speak.” When wise women speak to their men, their words are anchored in proper timing and understanding, not “feelings” or manipulative tactics. A wise woman can discern truth from fiction and distractions from priorities in her relationships. We must be bold as women and yet vulnerable enough to let our men know what we need from them.
Women give life. They can walk into an empty room and fill it with colors, beauty and abundance. They elevate their environments and increase their surroundings, real men welcome this.
“Behind every great man is a WISE woman.”
Be wise; pray about how to draw out the “greatness” in your man. Speak life to his buried dreams, and to the deeper longings of his heart. Be disciplined enough to hold him accountable to his word. For every woman, the journey will be different. Our confidence in them is key. One of the most powerful statements you can say to your man is, Baby, I believe in you. I know you have what it takes!” Or a genuine, “I am so proud of you.” As women, we must be patient and trust God to protect our hearts as our husbands develop into the men He created them to be. If they are real men, they are growing in truth, just as we are. I hope one day every woman receives those beautiful, life-affirming words from her husband, “You have made me a better man!” In her heart she smiles, because she knows it is true.
“Mom, where is dad?” When this question is asked by one of my three sons it typically yields one of the following responses; “at work, at a business meeting or out running errands.” My boys are never left with an uncertainty that lasts longer than my response to their question. But what about the little boy whose question remains unanswered into manhood? 70 percent of African American children are born out of wedlock, 20 percent of white children are born out of wedlock. Only 34 percent of all children born in America will live with both biological parents through age eighteen. With these sobering statistics, a large majority of people reading this may be dating or married to a fatherless man.
Children suffer the greatest when a father is absent.
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
80% of rapists with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
“It is far easier to build strong boys than it is to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglas
Men are wired to “model” behavior.
A father’s main role in a home is to provide a “model” for a young boy to follow. He shapes his son’s masculinity, integrity and character. He influences his son’s understanding and treatment of the opposite sex. He prepares him for purpose and trains him to understand his role as a man. When a father is absent a boy must formulate his manhood out of thin air. While many single mothers have done a tremendous job of bringing up boys, a woman cannot give a boy something she has never possessed; authentic masculinity.
A generation of Fatherlessness has produced; broken promises, broken families and the rejected hearts of boys who have become broken men.
What role should a woman play?
A man’s deepest question will always center on his performance, “do I measure up?” A fatherless man wrestles with this soul question in an even greater way. While a woman cannot validate a man’s masculinity she can certainly further wound him. When we constantly criticize, control, critique and verbally diminish our men, we inflict greater damage to their souls. A man will rarely offer his strength where he perceives it will be met with ridicule or failure.
“Fatherless boys spend up to 80% of their time with women. They don’t know how to act when they grow up. This directly affects the relationships between the sexes. Men become more helpless, like big kids.” – Sociologist Peter Karl
How can a man offer what he was never given?
A fatherless man often times has never had his significance validated by another man. For many of these men, the deepest question of their soul remains unanswered, “Do I have what it takes?” He has grown up never hearing one powerful, life-altering phrase, “well done” from his father. These men can often become driven, chasing public success, accolades and affirmation. But their “ache” is a private one it will never be healed by outward success. Fatherless men may fall into passivity in their relationship, refusing to offer their strength and leadership where their women need it most. A man’s core role is to provide, protect, lead and cover his family. But when he has not had a father to teach and set a tangible example for him, his entire family may suffer.
“Fatherlessness is the greatest social problem facing society today. When you cut off the head, the body falls.” – Filmmaker Andrea Wiley
It takes a man, to make a man.
“Every time you raise a loving, wise, and responsible man, you have created a better world for women. Women today are having to bond with half-men, boys not fully raised into manhood, they don’t know what their responsibilities are, and don’t have a strong sense of service. Today’s father’s have an opportunity to change that.” – Dr. Michael Gurian
Women must choose wisely.
Please choose your mate wisely. You would do better to ask about his relationship with his father than to ask “where he works?” or “what he drives?” If a man felt loved by his father and learned to respect his father’s authority, he is more likely to make a good mate. If you chose a man who has not had his soul healed through his relationship with his Creator, and other male influences, prepare for a harder journey. Loving on this level is challenging, it is NOT for the quitters or faint at heart. God can validate a man’s soul and restore a Fatherless man to wholeness, greatness and truth. One man restored can reach back and restore countless other men. Bless you ladies as you seek wisdom. I pray for your courage and understanding as you love, affirm and stand by your man.
The movie was written over 15 years ago and yet so many of us are still “Waiting to Exhale!” As women, we are skilled at “holding it down, keeping it up, and making it happen!” But, we get tired too. Beyond our outward bravado and independence; we deeply desire to know that someone “has our back.” Are you still “holding your breath,” afraid to exhale? To exhale means to surrender, to let go and simply trust. When we exhale, we release fear and welcome peace and goodness.
A lesson in love and trust.
A couple of years ago, I fell in love with a beautiful sun dress in the window of an upscale boutique. I would drive by often and just stare in the window at my fantasy dress. My husband knew I wanted the dress. He even encouraged me to go inside and try it on, but I just wanted to dream. Fast forward two months. My husband informs me on a Saturday afternoon that he has arranged our entire date night. He says he is taking me “somewhere special” and it is a “surprise!” That evening he gives me a beautifully wrapped red box. I open the box to discover my fantasy dress from the boutique window! I SCREAMED! I almost cried! But, this date night was the beginning of a much deeper spiritual lesson.
My Invitation to Exhale.
On the ride through downtown Los Angeles, I was both nervous and excited. I kept saying to my husband Bryan, “Baby, where are we going?” Bryan knows me very well. I was used to feeling some form of “control,” I feared uncertainty. He lovingly smiled and said to me with a sexy, masculine confidence: “Baby, don’t worry, I got you!” In that moment something shifted in my heart. I heard the loving whisper of spiritual truth through the words of my man. Those few simple words: “Baby, don’t worry, I got you!” were a divine invitation from God to EXHALE.
Releasing fear and receiving love.
Our wonderful date night, which included my new dress, a fabulous dinner and tickets to the SEAL concert (I am a HUGE Seal fan) was simply symbolic of God’s goodness towards me. It was time to let go of my need to handle, arrange and manage everything through my own lack of trust and pride. The enemy’s greatest ploy is to convince us as women that we are unlovable, not enough, not worthy. When we stress, strive, toil, and worry our fear based actions validate the lies of the enemy. The truth is we are adorable. We are precious. We are enough. Even when our husbands and men fail us, God’s love never will. He whispers to His women daily: “Baby, don’t worry, I got you!” Now, exhale.
A woman’s heart.
A woman’s greatest need is to feel safe. When she knows she is cherished, provided for, honored and loved she is prettier, more peace filled, bold and productive. God lovingly whispers to our hearts daily, those powerful, soul changing words, “Baby, don’t worry, I got you!” Now, it’s up to you. Will you receive the gift of rest and surrender in your heart? Will you chose to receive the peace and abundance that is already seeking you? Take and deep breath in, hold it, now EXHALE!