"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You're THAT Blogger! ... An Unlikely Meeting

Yesterday I had the joy of attending an Iron Sharpens Iron conference in Albany, NY.  It's been a long time since I spent an entire day with my brothers in Christ, traveling, praying, fellowshipping, and learning how to be better husbands, brothers, sons, fathers, and just plain men. (I won't mention the unlikely trio of middle-aged men in the backseat of a certain old Toyota who were singing and waving their arms and bumping their hips like school children.) 

The day was chock full of informative seminars from men, each of whom is a humble example of Christian manhood in his own right. And while it was wonderful to hear the speakers, eat the muffins, and drink the free java, the best part for me was the conversations that took place in between sessions.  As I walked from room to room to see the information from each vendor and speaker, I struck up many conversations with men whom I did not know, but with whom I share an important bond - brotherhood.

One pastor I met was quite versed in marriage blogs, so I visited with him to continue the impromptu conversation we had begun after the morning seminar.  It was cool to talk to a fellow blogger who also reads most of the blogs I read and contributes to comments and questions, just like I do.

We compared notes for quite a while, then he got a very thoughtful look on his face, and looked at me in a most unusual way.  I have to say I was a little taken back.  But then he said, "Did you used to be Tenorboy?"

"Used to be?"  I said.  "I am Tenorboy, but I moved most of the useful husband/marriage stuff from TenorboyJournal to another blog called Genuine Husband, then I trashed the garbage." 

"Genuine Husband!" he said almost in unison with me,  nodding and pointing simultaneously.  "You're THAT blogger!"  He went on to say that too many bloggers circumvent the real meat of difficult issues for Christian husbands, but there are a few who have the guts to say what needs to be said, in a way that is strong and truthful, but not too offensive. (I'm pretty sure that was a compliment.)

Anyway, he congratulated me for my intestinal fortitude (aw, shucks), and passed along a valuable list from what he referred to as his "husband arsenal."  The "arsenal" as he explained it, is a collection of information that he has compiled over many years of counseling husbands. 

This particular list encompasses a wide range of emotions centering on why husbands leave their wives (it isn't why you think).  According to his information, a husband leaves his wife because of how he feels when he's with her.

Does he feel ...
  • significant?
  • loved?
  • respected?
  • youthful and vibrant?
  • sexy and desired?
  • intelligent?
  • useful and needed?
  • virile and powerful?
  • hopeful and positive?
  • in control of his own life and future?
  • free and liberated?
  • as though he has a trusted, equal partner/side kick in her?
  • as though he can count on her? 
  • generally good about himself when he is with her?

Or does he feel…
  • unimportant?
  • unloved?
  • that he lacks respect from her or others?
  • old, worn and decaying?
  • unsexy and undesirable?
  • stupid, flawed or unnecessary?
  • impotent and powerless?
  • hopeless and pessimistic?
  • as though he has no control in his life or his future?
  • limited, suffocated or burdened?
  • afraid or threatened?
  • as though he and his wife are not on the same team?
  • as though he can't count on her?
  • generally feels negative about himself when he is with her?

According to his research, when husbands feel lousy about themselves, they will seek out (consciously or subconsciously) situations and people who make them feel better.  When that happens, they naturally gravitate toward the good feelings and away from the bad ones, and voila!

I left the conference with joy in my heart, but also with a stronger burden to improve my marriage and to help other married people.  In the next few weeks I will be exploring the topic of why husbands leave, and what can be done to prevent it.  I hope you will indulge me as I will be addressing both husbands and wives in this difficult but important area.

From the inside out,


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