Spiritual Leadership

Steve Arterburn

 

 

In an article in Psychology Today, psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple wrote that twenty years earlier, when he first began to practice, no one ever complained of a lack of self-esteem or of hating himself. Now, he wrote, hardly a week goes by without a patient making that complaint. One young man concerned about his low self-image came to visit him. In fact, the young man and his mother said this condition caused him to beat up his pregnant girlfriend, which resulted in a miscarriage.

The doctor said to him, ‘It couldn’t be the other way around, could it?’

‘What do you mean,’ replied the young man.

‘That your behavior,’ said the doctor ’caused you to have a poor opinion of yourself.’

The patient, of course, wasn’t too happy with this suggestion.

I like the question Dalrymple posed to this young man, and I think it bears consideration. When a man sees himself as inadequate it is for one of two reasons:

Either he literally doesn’t have the ability necessary to be adequate (for example, I am inadequate to perform brain surgery)

Or, he has the ability but has retreated into a passive place.

Have you allowed your passive behavior to create a self-image of inadequacy? Perhaps you don’t feel adequate to lead your family or to love your wife. I think a change of behavior would go a long way toward dispelling this image. Sometimes the head and hands have to lead, to show the heart where to go.

The Importance of Asking

Steve Arterburn

Every married man is joined to a person more complex than a NASA space shuttle. Besides the fact that the human brain is infinitely more complex than anything else known to man, it’s also had several decades of outside influences by the time a woman marries.

Think of all the things that could’ve influenced your wife in her developmental years: praise and criticism, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, a large or a small family, school experiences, sexual experiences, intelligence, abuse, self-image, male and female role models, models of marriage. The list goes on and on.

Every woman’s life map is different. As a result, no two women are alike. Wouldn’t it be nice if husbands and wives, on their wedding day, in addition to exchanging rings and vows, could hand each other a book titled My Life So Far? And in it would be a closing chapter entitled ‘How to Meet My Needs.’

But this doesn’t happen. So what can you do? How can you begin by better learning your wife’s needs? The best place to start is simply by asking.

If you have a track record of insensitivity, you’ll need to start this process with an apology and a sincere request for connection. Tell your wife you want to know her and begin asking questions’about herself, her hopes, desires, dreams, and fears. Her world may just open up to you, if you’d only ask for entrance.

Friendship After Forty?

Steve Arterburn

A motivational speaker noted in his talk that after age forty, men typically possess no close friends. What’s a man to do? We can learn from him. When he and his fianc’e were planning their wedding, he realized he didn’t have a single male friend whom he considered close enough to be his best man.

 

This shocking realization brought impetus for change. He identified two men he knew that shared his faith and values. Then he prayerfully approached them regarding the possibility of exploring and developing long-term friendships. They both responded positively, and they’ve continued a deep, trusting relationship for several decades. From those relationships came the insights for a book, The Company You Keep: The Transforming Power of Male Friendship, written by David Bentall It’s a great resource for men on the subject of friendship.

Every man without at least one close friend is missing three important things: (1) someone to walk with despite failures, (2) someone to explore a vision for life with, and (3) someone to face the darkness of our world with.

If you’re looking for reasons to seek and build friendships with other men, these are as good as any.