I’m going to go way out on a limb and tell you what you want. If you’re a married man with kids, these three things are ‘it’ . . .
- Emotional connection with your wife – You may think you want sex, companionship, cooperation, respect, admiration and even submission, but what you really want is emotional connection. You want her to track with you emotionally and be close to you physically. You want her to care about what’s going on in your life and how you feel about things. You want to know she’ll be there for you when you’re unsure, upset or feeling down. You want to know that she’ll come when you need her and that you matter to her. You want her to miss you when you’re not there. You want her to understand you, love you and accept you. Say it ain’t so!
- Adult children who like you – The goal of parenting isn’t to raise good kids . . . it’s to raise good adults. Parenting is tough and sometimes overwhelming. If you’re aware of and follow the four “C’s” of parenting, with a little luck, your adult children will come back and take care of you when the ‘end is nigh.’ But taking care of aging parents is expected . . . you sorta have to if you want to do the good and decent thing. What I’m saying is far above and beyond that. I’m saying what you want is for your adult children to want to spend time with you when they don’t have to. That’s the litmus test of true love and companionship.
- To have eldership ascribed to you by your church and community – John Eldredge writes about the season of life when you’re no longer a king with authority but a sage who leads through influence and is sought out for his wisdom. I’m not talking about the job of elder as it’s called in ‘church-world,’ although many sages are chosen as elders, deacons and vestry members. I’m talking about men whose experience is valued and whose voice is heard. Eldership as I’m describing here can’t be asked for, only aspired to through faithful living, lifelong learning, generosity with time and treasure, consistent humility and a servant heart.
So, you’re thinking . . . “but what about wealth and power and fame and houses and titles and cars and boats and airplanes. You think I don’t want any of that? What planet do you live on?”
Sure you do, or at least you want to want those things. But I’ll bet dollars to donuts when you read the three paragraphs above about your wife, kids and community, something resonated at a much deeper level. Something deep inside tells you these things matter more than the “wood, hay and stubble” of worldly stuff.
I’m convinced men can have these three things only by following Jesus and living a Christ-centered life. Think about the men you know who have fabulous marriages. Watch the men whose kids come back and hang out with him. Look around at the older, wiser men you most respect in your church and community. You’ll see Jesus in them. “Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
Scripture: Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)
Mentor Tip: Have conversations with your guys about what they really want in life. Help them see “fruit that will last” in their homes and communities.
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