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Monday, January 17, 2011

Today I’m glad to welcome back Man Up Monday, a periodic feature written directly to husbands.

I routinely check out the search terms that send people to my blog. This sometimes humorous, always informative endeavor is what leads me to today’s post.

By a significant margin, the terms that most point people here are ones like these:
  • my husband needs to man up
  • i need my husband to lead
  • how to let my husband lead the family
  • i like feeling like my husband has authority over me
  • my husband doesn't lead
  • what if my husband doesn't use his authority

What is striking to me is that the second largest group of search terms are ones like these:
  • husband dictator
  • my husband acts like a dictator
  • sep[a]ration control[l]ing husband scripture
  • how to love a dictator husband
  • dictator like attitude

During the course of our marriage small group I asked the group who they thought had the tougher job in walking out their biblical role in marriage, husbands or wives. It was pretty much unanimous: husbands. I asked why, and most said it was because husbands are called to be like Jesus in loving their wives. (Yes, we are all called to love like Jesus – no argument. We were discussing Ephesians 5 and the biblical directive of wives to walk in submission to a husband’s Christ-like love).

The challenge for us husbands is exemplified in the two groups of search terms above. We must master the tension between being strong and being good. Unfortunately, many husbands fail to find the right balance.

Error on Either Side

Some simply abdicate their authority altogether and refuse to lead (first search group above), becoming disengaged, disinterested and unwilling to, as many searchers put it, “man up.” There are plenty of societal influences that denigrate masculinity and strength, pushing men instead to be “nice guys,” to get in touch with their emotions and remain passive. If you are such a husband, your wife is likely left feeling frustrated, lonely, burdened and unloved.

Failing in the other direction is possibly less common but more hideous. These are the men who act like dictators, using their authority to control, issue edicts and manipulate their wives for their own gain. These husbands may be narcissistic, overbearing and even mean. If you are such a husband, your wife is probably fearful, withdrawn, and feels like a doormat. It is the ugly actions of these men that has caused the societal backlash in the opposite, passive direction.

Be Like Jesus

So how do we, as husbands, learn to be both strong and good? The answer is to be like Jesus. The first thing that we need to realize is that these two are NOT mutually exclusive. Look at Jesus. He was clearly both very strong and very good. Yes, he was a strong man, yet full of love. Full of power and yet completely humble. He was a man of passion and of compassion. He was our model of a servant-hearted leader.

Jesus is our Bridegroom and he is our King, a lover and a leader, without compromise in either area.

Yeah, we husbands have a pretty tall order. 
Be like Jesus. Strong and good.


Anonymous said...

Great blog! I was searching for dating and relationship blogs and found your site through another blog I found searching:

I enjoyed their humor and insight. I'm glad searching led me your way. Thanks for the post! I'll be sure to follow.

Strong Man said...

Right on! That's why I titled my blog: Good Strong Men .

This reminds me of one of my recent posts on Jesus as a Nice Guy .

All the more reason to actually read the whole New Testament and understand both the boldness and the sympathetic, caring love of Jesus.

Strong Man said...

Correction: Here's a working link to my blog home page: Good Strong Men.

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