How Guys Unintentionally Sabotage Their Relationships

There is a relationship killer that seems to be particularly hard for men. It’s hard because men’s brains are designed in a way that sometimes prohibits them from even seeing this issue.

Bill & Pam Farrel wrote a book called Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. The Farrels identify how men tend to compartmentalize their lives. That is, guys can be so absorbed in one “box” in their life that they are completely oblivious to the other boxes. For instance, when a man is at work he seldom thinks about the other areas of his life (his wife, his kids, the bills that need to be paid, what he’s going to have for lunch).

In addition, men’s brains are also designed to stay in those boxes where things can be quickly fixed. A guy likes fixing things, so the boxes where he can do something and see an immediate result is a box he’s going to keep going back to again and again.

Here’s the trouble… Relationships don’t fit in nice, neat boxes. Neither are relationships something that can be “fixed.” And relationships are never, ever fixed or improved quickly.

So if a guy isn’t aware of these things, he can be unintentionally sabotaging the relationships around him.

King David illustrated this in his unintentional lack of involvement in three of his sons’ lives—

  • Amnon pursued an unhealthy relationship with his step-sister. David got mad but never did anything about it (2 Samuel 13:21).
  • Absalom got revenge for what Amnon did and then fled the country. When David finally allowed him to return to Israel, they never met to resolve what went wrong (2 Samuel 14:28).
  • Adonijah wanted to be king after David, but the Bible says, “His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” (1 Kings 1:6).

Dave Wills wrote, “We all tend to craft a self-focused view of the world where we emerge as either a hero or a victim in every scene. We’re never the villains in the story. The truth is, though, that we’ve all been the bad guy more often than we’d like to admit. A life of love requires that we look in the mirror and give an honest and humble self-assessment.”

The way to defeat this relationship killer is to become aware of it through humble self-assessment. David learned this truth and shared his prayer with us: “Search me, O God. Show me any areas in my life where I am off-track” (Psalm 139:23-24).

In response to this prayer, the Holy Spirit must have showed David how he had unintentionally starved his relationships with Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah, because he became highly involved in his son Solomon’s life.

So much so that as Solomon talked to his children about how they should live, he also told them where he had learned how to do this—his father taught him (Proverbs 4:1-4).

Guys, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been unintentionally in another box. It doesn’t matter how strained the relationship may have become. If you will humbly ask God to search you, reveal to you where you’ve messed up, and ask Him to help you get better … your relationships WILL begin to improve!

Don’t wait another day to pray that “Search me” prayer!

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Every Man’s Battle (book review)

Every Man's BattleMen are wired differently from women (surprise!). While not all men struggle with pornography, the way men are wired makes it easier to allow lust to begin through what we see with our eyes. This is every man’s battle, and this is the reason Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker have given men an essential book called Every Man’s Battle.

If you’re a guy and you say, “I never battle with lust. I can control myself,” I’d like to remind you of one piece of Scripture: If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. In other words, a little humility and a little help is never a bad thing. In fact, it may just help you keep your guard up.

If you’re a guy and you say, “If the truth were known, I do battle lust quite often,” perhaps your battle with lust has even gotten the best of you, and you’ve begun sneaking a peak at things your shouldn’t be looking at. Maybe those quick peaks have even become longer looks … or even turned into a pornography problem.

In whatever category you find yourself, Every Man’s Battle is an invaluable book for men. The authors are very honest about their own struggles with lust and pornography, including the things they tried to help them kick their habit that ultimately failed. What’s presented to us in this book are successful strategies for defeating lust and eliminating pornography from our lives.

I found the strategies they shared to be practical. They weren’t just some “pray a lot and trust God” approaches, but truly things that any guy can put into practice. That’s not to say that they will be easy to do. After all, rewiring the way you’ve been used to doing things is a lot of hard work. But Stephen and Fred give you a biblical foundation, their own lives as examples, and simple next-steps that any guy can do!

There’s a workbook included, which I would recommend for guys to do with an accountability partner. I would also recommend the website We Dared (where you will meet author Stephen Arterburn) to get some daily help in your battle against lust.

GUYS: GET THIS BOOK! Your family, your church, and your community need you to be strong and victorious over lust and pornography.

Links & Quotes

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Calling all Christian men: “If men begin praying together, God promises to stay His hand of judgment and restore the blessings of His people. If men will pray. If they will pray together” —T.M. Moore. Fellas, please check out this short call to prayer that T.M. has written, and then let’s start praying!

Board member overlapThis is fascinating! R.J. Andrews wrote, “The CEO of Disney is on the board of Apple, whose CEO is on the board of Nike, which has a board member on Disney… which all got me thinking: how many powerful companies are connected via their board of directors?” So click the picture or here to read more and see this infographic in a larger size.

Despite the rhetoric Planned Parenthood trumpets, there are painful psychological consequences for women who have an abortion. Choose life!

Married couples, check this out: How to fight fairly with your spouse.

Dr. Tim Elmore has another good post showing us the importance of our family history for our kids. Your history with them starts now.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“If evangelical Christianity is to stay alive it must have men again—the right kind of men. It must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and it must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of men of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made.” —A.W. Tozer

“Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.” —C.S. Lewis

I believe the biggest reason why families are being redefined today is not because of liberal vs. conservative ideology. It’s because we had to embrace a new ‘community’ when the nuclear family exploded. Traditional families have been broken, yet people still want to be in a ‘family,’ even if it’s temporary. Sadly, this family thing often fails. Whether in a home, a team, a dorm, a company, a gym or a church, we tend to walk away rather than work at difficult relationships. We’re like porcupines—we tend to hurt each other when we get close.” Read more of the outstanding post from Tim Elmore: How Eating Alone Costs More Than You Think.

A great post to cut through the mis-information: Myths About Roe v. Wade.

According to some research, over half of women who have abortions do so under pressure, while those who resist can face violence and death. …The Center for Disease Control lists homicide as a leading cause of death among pregnant women.” Here are more facts contradicting the pro-abortion crowd’s rhetoric.

Good stuff: 8 Things Every Healthy Marriage Has.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Ten Evidences For Creation.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Facts on illegal immigrants.

The Solomon Seduction (book review)

Solomon SeductionI love Bible character studies that read like a biography, and in The Solomon Seduction by Mark Atteberry, that’s exactly what I got. Not only that, but this book is an excellent discussion book for men and a pretty good leadership lesson as well.

Pastor Atteberry uses the life and writings of King Solomon to show us that even someone called the wisest man can be reduced to a fool. Solomon was given a gift of wisdom unequaled in any other man, but his gift was misused and mismanaged by Solomon, and led to his downfall.

This is a timely book for men today. Atteberry wrote early on in the book—

“Simply put, Solomon was better equipped to see through satan’s deceptions than any man who has ever lived, other than Jesus. But in the end, he became just as blind to them as everyone else. This, of course, is quite a tribute to satan’s cleverness. If he were an author, his blockbuster best seller would be How I Made A Fool Out Of The Wisest Man Who Ever Lived (And Why The Program Still Works). And it does still work.”

It’s true: satan’s seductions still work today, and Atteberry gives us ten seductions that worked on wise King Solomon, and will work on men today if we don’t pay attention to them.

I hope men not only read The Solomon Seduction, but that they use it as a springboard for discussion with other men too. This is a needed book for our time.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men (book review)

Mansfield's Book Of Manly MenIn my experience, men today aren’t allowed to be true men, manly men. I’m sure there are a lot of reasons why (but that’s another subject for another time), but for those men who are yearning to be the manly men that God has created them to be, Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men by Stephen Mansfield will make you jump up and growl!

Men are wired by God in a unique way that makes them, well, men. When men embrace their God-implanted uniqueness they become manly men (which is another way of saying God-honoring men) who are better husbands, fathers, friends, and citizens. Stephen Mansfield quickly outlines his four maxims for manly men, and then shares a list of manly qualities to which all manly men should strive.

Each of these manly qualities are introduced by the life story of a manly man from history’s pages. Mansfield presents these men in all their manliness, including both their strengths and weaknesses; there are no perfect men, but there are many real men from which Mansfield allows us to learn. These manly qualities also come with some real in-your-face challenges of how to assess the growth of that quality in a man’s life.

In the foreword, written by retired Lt. General William G. Boykin (himself a true manly man), is this challenge: “This book is a must read for every American male. We must restore the understanding of what it means to be a manly man. The nation’s future depends on getting back to the fundamentals of being men of courage and values.” I couldn’t have said it any better!

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Book Reviews From 2013

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