Are you like me? Do you find yourself making lists to remember things? Even things that should be and used to be second nature to remember? Don’t feel bad if you are, in our culture of go here go there, careers, school, kids activities, family vacations and even volunteer duties it is all too common to forget the simplest things.
From time to time I even need to be reminded of the importance of my role as a husband and father. Being the man who God designed me to be sometimes requires me to make a list or mental reference. I know, sounds manly right? Well I recently found the below list on Familylife.com which I think you will find is a very good reference and plenty manly enough to share.
7 Things a Man Needs to Know About Marriage
by Jeff Kemp
1. A man needs to know that the ultimate team is marriage. It’s the union and oneness of man and woman in lifelong covenant. It’s the team that anchors a family. It’s a bonded relationship that mirrors God’s sacrificial, unconditional, lasting love for His children (those who by faith have accepted His sacrifice and adoption into His eternal family).
2. A man needs to know the difference between being a consumer and an investor in life, in relationships, and in marriage. Don’t let an advertising-saturated, consumer society make you act like a consumer in relationships. Decide to add value to a wife, not take value.
Just like great quarterbacks serve receivers, and great receivers serve quarterbacks, we need to be investors, not childish consumers, takers, or complainers. We are to model ourselves after Jesus, the ultimate relationship Investor. He is the definition of a man: responsible, initiating, courageous, self-sacrificing, healing, peacemaking, justice-doing, others-centered rather than self-centered, loving others in ways that add value and nobility to them.
Before he is married, a great husband will be a relationship investor who will build friendship that adds value into the life a young woman, her self-esteem, and her potential to serve God. He will channel his sexual desires and expression into devotion to God and commitment to one wife for life. He will marry and be sexually exclusive–only having eyes, imagination, and sexual intimacy with one woman.
3. A man needs to know that a marriage and family depend upon God as their Maker. God is the authority. He provides the blueprints for marriage and the power source of love, wisdom, and health. God can heal any marriage if the husband and wife will submit themselves to God and let Him change them.
4. A man needs to know that marriage is meant to mature him and develop Christ-like character in him. It can help conform him to the image of Christ, reshaping his will and identity into union with, and deference toward, his wife. This is like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who honor, defer to, and glorify each other.
The friendship of marriage helps spouses become better versions of themselves, closer to what God designed and redeemed them to be. They must face the truth about themselves–their strengths and their imperfections. They will face conflict and difficulty and must grow empathy and teamwork. Selfishness must melt away if they are to become healthy, strong, and mature together.
5. A man needs to know the meaning of love. God defines love not by how much you want to receive, by by how much you are willing to give of yourself–your will, your freedom, your time, your emotions, your forgiveness, your resources. The model is Jesus, who demonstrated love for us by dying for us while we were yet sinners.
A husband does this by choosing his wife as a priority in his life over all other pursuits, possessions, and distractions–regardless of whether she is kind, lovable, or respectful. Love brings out the best in her. A man initiates love, rather than waiting for or demanding respect or kind treatment. Love is not dependent upon feelings. Decisions and choices to love can regenerate the feelings of love.
6. A man needs to know the Christ-like role of servant, husband, and lover. He is to be an investor in his wife, and he sacrifices himself for her best. He defines his manhood as pursuing purity in Christ, chastity before marriage, and enthusiastic fidelity in marriage.
7. A man needs to understand sexuality as God’s good creation, distinct from its counterfeits. He understands that sexuality makes sense in the context of union to God and the union of marriage. Outside that context it’s often reduced to moralism, rules, suppression, secrecy, illicit imagination, temptation, and shame. Or, commonly it is reduced to a consumer experience–materialistic self-interest, physical gratification, entertainment, techniques. This causes shallow, stunted human bonding, untold stories of abuse, damage, abandonment, and fragmented families.
Be Strong. Make Lists and Act Like Men.