Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 Reasons to Write Your Wife a Love Letter

Men, I have been writing my wife a weekly love letter for more than a year. That’s not a sentence I would have ever expected to write about myself. I am not a man of outward sentimentality, and I very rarely make my emotions known. Most people would call me calm and hard to read.

But, men, what I learned is this: as good as it can be for me to remain solid and calm in the storms of life, my wife needs something more. My wife needs to be loved, and she wants to be romanced. I learned after a year of marriage that it wasn’t enough to just show up, and I couldn’t stop with just providing a paycheck. I needed to do more to show my wife how much I love her.

And I don’t think I am alone. I bet that your wives also want to be loved and hear from your heart. They want to know just how deeply you love them.

I am not going to push you all to start writing a weekly blog to your wife. Instead, I want to encourage you to start small. All I want you to do is this: I want you to write a short, handwritten letter to your wife today, right now. Think of one thing about her or one thing she does that makes you thankful to have married her. Write it down and give her that note. Let her know you love and appreciate her.

In case you aren’t already convinced about writing that love note, let me offer you
Five Reasons why you should be writing love notes to your wife.

1) You will fan the flames of love in your marriage.

Gary Chapman famously explained the concept of LoveLanguages, and the first language he describes in book is Words of Affirmation. For many women, they feel most loved when they are spoken to kindly, when they are praised, and when they are otherwise wooed with your words. Your wife will know she is loved when she reads that short note from you.

Go ahead and write a short love note now. Just put down two sentences about one thing you like about your wife. Now leave the note on your wife’s bedside table. Just trust me on this one.

2) The smartest man in the world gave his wife love notes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Strength in a Husband's Love

Love is a sign of weakness and also a sign of vulnerability. According to whom you might ask? My answer would be culture and the world's views. How can you show your strength in your marriage by simply loving? How can you effectively lead your wife if you are perceived as weak and powerless? I get it men because I was there and I lived in my marriage according to this mindset and all it did was fail. In fact, I almost failed it twice.

Do you recall when you first felt love for your wife? The moment may have come after your first kiss or maybe after realizing you couldn't live without her for another day. The words came out of your mouth, I Love You, and something like a fire was born inside of you. A desire and passion was now alive in your heart and all you wanted was more of this love. But as time passed, the passion may have faded or the feeling of being weak in this love arose inside of you. Why? I finally realized that my personal problem was my sources and, quite frankly, you could also have the same source problem.

Since the culture and this world couldn't give me that answers I needed, I decided that I must look for answers in other places. My new source became a source I had known for my entire life, but I had never given him an honest chance. The name of this source is Jesus.

Men, please don't click off this page or doubt my words, you must remember at this point that all other options have been exhausted as they were for me, that maybe you are not happy in your marriage or you just want to make your marriage stronger.

Where is your Bible? Find it and start with the Book of Ephesians. Ephesians 5:25 states, "husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it". Ephesians 5:28 states, "so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife, loves himself". Jesus Christ showed us the ultimate example of love when he sacrificed his own body for us. He was willing to put aside his pride, to set aside his doubt and fear, and allow God to do as needed with him. Are you willing to do this in your marriage?

How often do we put our pride in the way of our marriage or our love for our wives? How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to show her the love she needs? How many times have we embarrassed our wives in order to make us or our friends look good? How can we continue to do this men? We must rely on the proper source.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 4-7)

Men, I pray that whatever stage your marriage is in or is headed that you keep the emotion of Love alive! Love almost always requires us to do things that are out of our "normal" nature, but in the end we will come away stronger and a better man and husband. You may not believe me now, but if you're man enough to give Christ a chance, I know you will not regret it. Do not wait another day to love your wife differently, to engage her faithfully and to seek God daily for guidance and direction. You can do it.

As I am a young man on the topic of love, please feel free to share your thoughts or actual events that have confirmed the strength of love in your marriage!

Monday, June 17, 2013

10 Things I Have Learned from Fatherhood

As a new father of only 5 months, I have already come to learn the value and necessity of having a son in my life. Before he was born I thought that I had life all figured out. I was told by some of my close friends that life would change, but not having gone though it yet, I thought they were just trying to scare me. I was wrong.

At first it appeared life had changed for the worse; walking up in the middle of the night over and over again, a crying baby that I had no idea how to help and a sometimes frustrated wife that didn't want my help. I thought to myself, "What did I get myself into?". As time passed, my wife and I continued to work together and we were soon lean, mean, baby problem solving machines. Well, maybe not quite that...

In the aftermath of my wonderful first Father's Day, I came up with my top 10 things I have learned from Fatherhood, or top 10 things I have improved on in my life. Word it however you like.

1) Love My parents taught me about love, my wife showed me how to love, but my son has taught me about the strong bond of love. When it took months for me to realize I loved my wife, it took "first sight" to love my son. My love continues to grow for him each day and I pray daily that God would help me maintain that love for him and my wife. (1 Corinthians 16:14)

2) Value of Time  I can't count the times people have asked if the baby was sleeping well or if we've slept at all in the last week. I also wonder what my wife and I did with our time before we had our little guy. From late nights, to early mornings, to staying at home a lot more, I have learned that my time is passing and I want to spend it loving my wife and son to the best of my ability. It's a daily prayer to make sure I am not overly distracted.

3) Necessity of Patience  I really like to think that I was a patient man before our little guy, but after about a month of frustrating occurrences and small battles with my wife, I had to dig real deep and pray for more patience. God is always good and has helped me to become a more patient man. And don't think this is just at home, this patience shines in all that I do now. (Galatians 5:22-23)

4) Great Communication with my Wife  My wife and I were fortunate to be blessed with over 5 years of marriage before our son arrived. Through many ups and downs we were able to establish a strong sense of communication with each other. We discussed many times before our son was born that we were going to have to take this to the next level and we have. My wife is a wonderful mother to our son and we pray daily that God would help us be the very best parents we can be for our son.
(Ephesians 5:22-25)

5) Strong Protector  Being the protector of my family already fell into my role when I became married to my beautiful wife, but with a son, it has become an even stronger trait that I try to possess. From making sure he stays safe and comfortable at home, to making sure he is properly fed and spending quality time with him when I am home. I want my wife and him to know that they are in safe hands and that I will do everything to protect them. I pray daily, especially when I leave them alone, that God would protect our family. (Philippians 4:13)

6) Selflessness  Everyone one of us can admit that we were selfish and self indulged before a child came into our life. The weekends revolved around the wife and I, the dogs were no trouble when thrown in the kennel and we did what we pleased with our time. These days our schedule revolves around our little guy, and because of our deep love for him, this is not a problem and we are glad to it. This might be one that I need to pray about more. (James 4:6)

7) I am Blessed  Knowing that I have a great wife and a happy son, I am fully aware that I am blessed. As I seek prayer in each of the areas listed in this top 10, I make sure that I let God know how thankful I am for what he has blessed me with in my life. I have to stay aware that all of this could change at any moment and that I must continue to seek and rely on my God.

8) Teamwork (wife, family, friends)  As the time approached to have our baby, we knew we were going to need the support of friends and family. God has blessed us with some amazing people from our Church in our life and they were more than willing to help us out. I suppose through this, I learned to put a bigger value on their friendship and do a better job at making myself available and honor the relationship more consistently.

9) Fatherly Maturity  The story of Manturity continues to progress as I add the role of fatherhood to my life resume. The last few years have taught me the value and strength of having God in my life and maintaining a strong and healthy marriage, but fatherhood makes me want to know more about maturity. I firmly believe every man must mature and the path is very similar for all men. I pray that I can be the mature father my son needs me to be. (Proverbs 22:6)

10) God's Love  Our Church recently ran a series about God's love and I think it came at the perfect time in my life. As I could feel that I loved my wife and son more, I still wanted to know more about God's love and what it meant in my life. The verse at the end says that God is love and we must love as well if we are to know God. I can't say everything about this verse now, but knowing that God commands us to love makes me want to be a better man, greater husband and stronger father! (1 John 4:8)

Gents, I have only been at this for 5 months!

I would love to hear what fatherhood has taught you over your years. Share in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why Men Need Accountability

I have come to learn that accountability among men is a two way street. On the one side, we need to have accountability as individuals or for ourselves and on the other side we need to be an accountability partner to other men. Although these roles are very different, they are both very much needed in our lives.

When we break it down, accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. When carefully read, we can see that accountability is something that you are willing to do or you feel obligated to do. After a couple years of having accountability partners in my life, I can honestly say it is much easier to be willing to do this then to feel obligated. Obligation will always make you hold back some of your stronger feelings and your time will be wasted in the end. Men must become willing to be held accountable and accept full responsibility for their actions. 

Why is it important to be held accountable?

From my own experience, I have found accountability in my life to be a blessing rather then a curse. When you are able to open up and be honest with another man of God, you will learn that he understands you or has gone through similar problems in his life. God teaches us an effective lesson in the book of 1 Peter that says, "Resist Him (the enemy), standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." -1 Peter 5:9 

This verse always gives me hope, but also makes me want to work harder in my walk with Christ. It allows me to remove signs of selfishness and, again, be more open to sharing my heart, fears and struggles with other men.

Why is it important to hold other men accountable?

Shortly after I found a man to hold me accountable, God showed me a struggling young man in my life that also needed accountability through me. At the time I didn't understand why God was doing this, but I have now learned and come to understand the value it had and still has in my life. It is clear in our culture that men are dying, spiritually, and a lot of it has to do with the pressures of this world. Most men are not willing to talk or share their feelings and that is why we must have a heart to pursue these men. We must learn to love them the way Christ showed love to his disciples. When reading through Hebrews we get a good idea of what holding other men accountable should look like; "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - all the more as you can see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:24-25

Be strong. Be responsible. Be accountable.

So do you think men need accountability in their lives? 

Why or why not?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

5 Daily Challenges for Men

I know what you're thinking, but it's not what you think. Most of us already feel like we have enough on our daily plate so why would we want to be challenged even more? The answer is simple, among all of the chaos of work and family during each day, we must find a way to be challenged in our walk with Christ. Although Sunday service is a great experience and necessary in our Christian walk, we must pursue our walk with Christ the rest of the days of the week.

I have come to believe that this process of being challenged in Christ has to become a desire. It has to become something you almost crave each day, and if you miss any challenges, you feel like you have suffered a loss and not done your proper duties. If it is made a desire in your life, you WILL find the time.

Here are five of my personal challenges that I make myself face each day. Do I have to do these? No, but I do them because I want to be respected among my peers, disciplined in my walk with Christ and because I do not want to allow work and chaos to control my life.

1) Discussion With God. This process can also be called prayer but I like to refer to it as discussion. This could be turning off the radio show on the way to work and talking to him, it could be after a frustrating talk with a co-worker or anytime you have a moment. This time does not have to be fancy, but it must be pursued and must be intentional.

2) Personal Quote. This has become one of my favorite things to do throughout the day. For any of you who follow the Manturity Facebook or Twitter, you will see many of my personal quotes. These are simply born out of situations throughout the day, after discussions with God on subjects or whatever is on my heart. Keep a journal of your thoughts and quotes or post them on your social media as well. This simple, but effective process will make you think on a deeper level and test your knowledge.

3) Attitude of Love and Respect. The first two challenges can happen at any time, but this one really requires a man to take things to the next level. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in hurtful conversations, don't encourage wrong doings and don't allow the negative influences around you bring you down. Your center, your core should be built on Christ and your daily attitude should reflect it whether you are at work or home.

4) Uplift Someone. An unselfish man of God should be able to recognize when someone is in need. Take those opportunities to show the love of Christ and give them some words of encouragement. Maybe you work with someone who does a great job day in and day out? Make it a point to thank them for there diligence and service. You might be surprised what will happen after you take that initiative.

5) Take A Quiet Break. It's not hard to believe that in this busy world one of the hardest things for a man to do is to just take a break. The best ways I have found to do this is to take a walk by myself at lunch, find a bench at lunch and relax or find some alone time when you get home. Even if it's a half an hour or fifteen minutes, this time can be very fruitful to a busy man. Think about Jesus and all the times he would disappear from the disciples or the crowds and just pray. This was no mistake and we should follow his example. Forget about work and the daily struggles and just relax.

This is by no means a complete list. Share some ways or some things that you like to challenge yourself with everyday!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Every Man's Problem with Prayer

We’ve all heard it before: pray more, pray better, and pray continually. What does it mean to pray? Should prayers be verbalized? Does it matter? What does it mean to pray in the Spirit? With all the demands of a 21st century man of God, how do you even start the monumental task of attempting to pray continually?

Certainly there are times throughout scripture where prayers are aloud and in front of a multitude of people: Solomon in 1 Kings 8 (2 Chronicles 6), the priests and Levites in 2 Chronicles 30, Job in front of his three friends, Isaiah’s allusion to aloud prayer in Isaiah 26:16, the apostles together in Acts 4:24, and Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17. According to my research, it is inconclusive as to the expression of prayer through vocal cords for any other prayer in the Bible. Even though it’s written down in verbatim form, surely the Spirit of God that inspired our scriptures knows what each and every prayer said regardless of verbalization.

There are also other times when aloud prayers are discouraged because they can draw undue attention to the prayer issuer rather than the message or intent of the prayer. Such instances Jesus addressed in Matthew 6:5 (Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47) while he was denouncing the teachers of the law who basically were praying just to satisfy the need of themselves or their constituents to hear a prayer. Apparently, the apostles were so confused as to the method of prayer that they directly asked Jesus to teach them how to pray in Luke 11. Even the most pious of the fathers of our Church were clueless when confronted with the example of Jesus contrasted with their societal knowledge of prayer.

There are certainly examples where individuals make known their private prayers to the many for the encouragement of the many: Paul repeatedly informed the churches and various individuals of his personal prayers in every one of his epistles. Surely praying together with the same intent helps in times where we need someone to agree with us in prayer (Matthew 18:19) and for the mutual bearing of burdens with your Christian brothers. As men, we don’t like letting other men in to our personal problems or desires - but there’s nothing wrong with it; in fact, it is right and true and good. And then we’re confronted with the command to pray continually in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. By definition, we physically cannot continually pray aloud since God created us with the need to sleep, eat, and socialize. Therefore, there has to be an underlying coordination with the Spirit of God who prays for you and issues prayers, while coordinating with your soul, when even your mind may not be aware (Romans 8:26).

Praying, by definition, is a communication with your creator - the one who knows you on the level of intent and desires. He knows you past all the external walls we put up as men. He knows what we are really praying for, regardless of any words we may actually be saying, at all times. His Spirit is inside us constantly searching us, discovering our hearts’ desire, and detecting how we respond to various crises of ourselves, loved ones or community.

Jesus repeatedly went off in the wilderness or somewhere else by himself to pray and commune with his Father. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when he was raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11:41, one of the few times he prayed aloud in the Bible, that he directly told his apostles and disciples that he was praying only so they could hear him. Jesus also indicated that praying by yourself while behind closed doors is acceptable and encouraged in Matthew 6:6. Jesus was leading by example when he went off alone for prayers and fellowship and he actually taught that praying and fellowshipping alone with the Father is pleasing to the Father.

Since Jesus was the firstborn of many brothers (Romans 8:29/Colossians 1:18), we should expectantly follow his example and instruction in order to become the men of prayer that God expects of us. After Jesus, and after we accept him as Lord, the Spirit of God makes his home in us and he continually ushers us into Truth and Goodness.

As we increase and grow regarding maturity in the Lord and spiritual maturity, we are gifted with an exponential increase in ability to engage in successful praying. As we are transformed into the likeness of Jesus, the intents and desires of our hearts are molded to the intents and desires of the will of God. As the Spirit of God groans and intercedes for us when our intents and desires are congruent with the will of God, we issue effective prayers - whether or not we are actually verbalizing them through the linguistic approximations of our minds.

In conclusion, I believe that every man has two choices: to want to be like God or to want to live life your own way. One way leads to becoming mature in the Spirit where you can effectively pray continually and the other leads to becoming further from the character of Jesus where your prayers are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 28:9). Therefore, whichever path you choose, even on a daily basis, depends on whether or not you can effectively pray - let alone pray continually.


Men, each day you must make a choice that today you want to be a little more like God, that you trust him to mold you into the image of Jesus, and that you allow him to highlight times/people/places where you need to be. If our intents and desires are truly congruent with being like God, becoming perfect even as he is perfect, then our hearts will immediately commune with the Spirit of God to call forth a pleasing spiritual prayer to the Father. When the Spirit of God groans and prays with you, assuredly you should know that you’re partnering with God and that it pleases him.

Then and only then may we rest assured of the promises of Jesus in Matthew 21:22 and Mark 11:24, where we are promised that whatever we shall receive the desires of our hearts. Practically, this means that a little more God comes into our lives or circumstances and results in a little less suffering and pain.

Each day, every morning, make a conscious decision to trust God, to be like him, and to want to become more like Jesus. If you do that, your desires will increasingly be in accordance with the Father’s will, your prayers will increasingly become more effective, and you will see the power of God in your life. Are you ready to become an effective man of prayer?

This is a Guest Post by a great friend of mine, Ryan E.