Thursday, May 29, 2008

Whatta Man... Whatta Mighty Good Man

Dear Men:

I started with the fairer sex, now let me hit up the stronger sex (that’s you, by the way). Here are a few things that someone else should probably be telling you, but since you asked… I’m answering. In the same way I approached the ladies, I will address the top three things I’ve noticed as problems in the lives of men I know and the way they approach women/relationships.

1. Find out who God is…. Then find out who you are.
This is the same as the problem with the women, but the fallout is much different. When women don’t know who they are, they tend to become manipulative and controlling (this can manifest itself as being either dependent or independent), but when men don’t know who they are, they tend to become passive. (By the way, it might help to read the previous blog first, because it will help you to see the differences in the way I’m addressing this.) While women need to understand their relationship with God, it seems that men have a greater need to understand their purpose with God… to find the thing He has called them to, the plan that He has for them. Without any knowledge of who He is, it’s hard to know how to throw yourself headlong in the direction He’s calling you to. Dig deep in the scriptures. Seek out mentors who are wiser than you. Find the thing that reminds you of His joy, the thing that makes you feel alive, the thing that challenges you in your walk with the Lord… and chase it!

2. Get your head on straight.
Mostly, your eyes. Don’t pat yourself on the back just because you don’t look at naked girls online (although let’s be honest – that’s unlikely), because you’re still probably scoping out the shapes and lines of every woman who walks past you. Stop it. She is not your wife. And you are setting yourself and your wife up for tragedy. One of my favorite pastors (Matt Chandler) said it best, “Some of you godly young men are going to have to watch your first marriages entirely disintegrate. Your life will be destroyed because of your addiction to feeding your eyes.” Greg Pinkner follows up, “If you walk into a room and automatically look for the prettiest girl, there is something wrong with you.” My guess is that applies to most of you. Every guy wants to marry the prettiest girl in the room, but if you have a room full of 10 guys and 10 girls, each guy is probably going to think the same girl is the prettiest. So who marries the other 9? I’m not saying you shouldn’t be attracted to your wife—that’s vital. But maybe your perspective needs to be shifted slightly. Here is a good article on the subject and three teaser quotes to get you motivated. Take 5 minutes and read it. By the way, it was written by a man.

“…if the physical or personal is entirely (or mainly) what attracts you and these are your highest priorities, then your problem is not with the women around you. Your problem is with God.”

“No one in his right mind ever marries a woman he doesn't find beautiful. And it's no different with Jesus. Except for one problem. We aren't attractive. In our sin and rebellion, we are downright ugly. So what's up with Jesus?”

“Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are a creator of beauty in the women around you.”

While I challenged the women to want more from men in the area of spirituality, I’m challenging the men to want less from women in the area of her appearance. This is one area that I truly feel we’ve welcomed society’s standards and haven’t even checked ourselves. Starve your eyes, men. Starve. And when you marry an amazing woman one day, you’ll be surprised at how beautiful she is to you, in part because you won’t have spent the time between now and then accumulating millions of other images to compare her to.

3. Game ON!
A few of you asked me about how to pursue a woman in the right way. I will speak from my own experience here. I’ve been pursued blatantly without it being righteous. And I’ve been pursued righteously without it being blatant. You really need to possess both qualities. The first camp (blatant but not righteous) are the guys who know nothing about me other than what they’ve discerned from across the room, from the stage, from whatever I wrote in my blog or on my Facebook page. Their lack of knowledge of me as a real human being gives them a distance that feels promising. From the safety of their computer screen, they can imagine me to be all the wonderful things they want in a woman. They project perfection onto me. So they move in for the kill, hoping to attain all those things for themselves. They do not know me, and their pursuit is not righteous. Then there are those who pursue righteously – who know me and have their priorities straight and who would actually be good candidates – but they sit idly by, dropping hints, flirting but never being bold. Once in my life (ONCE!) I’ve been pursued by a man who managed to handle it properly. He cared about all the right qualities AND he was upfront about his intentions. There was no guessing, no uncertainty on my part. From the moment he started pursuing me, I knew exactly where I stood with him. It was incredible. Men, it’s time to man up… I know you’ve got it in you.

All right, bring on the hate mail. Hah!


Bob said...

Nice post... and no hate here.

My Google Alert for Chandler served up your blog to me.

I agree with almost all of your comments except the part about "if you walk into the room and look.....there is something wrong with you".

Walking into a room where there is an exceptionally beautiful woman and acknowledging her doesn't make me wrong. Am I at fault that she was blessed with beauty?

Even God, in Job, acknowledges the extraordinary physical beauty of Job's daughters so I wonder if there is not a biblical precedent for acknowledging this. We can appreciate the beauty of a waterfall, landscape, colorful bird... so why not a face?

I'm not saying it is easy for a man to do it properly, but I do believe it is possible.

BTW - 50 and 4 days from my 30th wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife!

TLC said...

Hi Bob,

Thanks for checking out the blog and taking time to post a response!! Maybe I didn't couch that statement in enough of an explanation. The point wasn't that you shouldn't appreciate beauty... that's not the case I am trying to make by using that quote. The statement was intended to convey this: "If, upon entering any room, your mind automatically scans the room to find the most beautiful woman, you have a problem."

In no way do I think it's wrong to admire beauty. Let me be clear on that. But if a man finds that his eyes are always seeking out the most beautiful woman, then I don't think that honors God. You quoted God's statement of the beauty of Job's daughters, but I would counter with this: God can reflect on someone's beauty for as long as He wants, because He created it and it doesn't prompt Him to sin. Likewise, I can say that looking at a mountain or a waterfall doesn't put you in danger of sinful lusts or passions. But if a man reflects too long on the beauty of a woman that isn't his wife, it can be threatening to their intimacy and to the purity of their marriage. It also dishonors the woman being stared at, as well as her husband.

And I will follow this a step further: just because a man is single, it doesn't give him free license to take in all the beauty of every woman he sees. Those women aren't his wife either. He isn't free to drink of their beauty.

When God gives a man a wife, she is his beauty to drink of, to fulfill his needs and be his standard of beauty for the rest of his life. God provides for that man's needs for feminine beauty via that specific woman. He did not provide a world full of women for each man to admire. Scripture seems to be pretty clear on that - Proverbs 5:15-20.

But all that said, I welcome any other thoughts you have on this subject!! Thanks so much!

Grace & peace,

TLC said...

P.S. to Bob: Happy anniversary!!

Bob said...


We're getting closer on this and I know we both agree that the underlying issue here of lust or improper thoughts is a big problem for men and a no-no.

No dispute there.

However, I don't know where I draw the line on appreciation of beauty and I'm not sure I place it where you do because I'm not sure I agree with you that this (physical beauty) should be separate from all other creation. You may be right, I don't know.

Anyway, we will be celebrating a June 3, 1978 wedding in a few days and I gotta make sure I have something really special for her that day.

PS - Kudos for mentioning Matt Chandler. I podcast him weekly and he is a huge blessing to my wife and I both.

Daniel said...

Thanks Tara for being so open about your own experinces.

Been following your music on and off now for a few years. Not many folk/country/bluegrass fans in suburbs of philly. Must be my Irish and Cherokee roots!

First found your music when doing search for artists similar to or influenced by Rich Mullins. Must say I am thankful that at least in some small part you have helped to fill the great void left by our loss of Rich. When I say this, I am not speaking only of the artistic or aesthetic value of his music.

Back to your blog...

I will be 37 years old next week. Much of what you have written about, I have learned the hard way. I am divorced. Over more than ten years of marriage, I grew, and she didn't. Another influence came into her life, and any chance of reconcilliation was gone forever.

Initially, she was the one the one that all the guys drooled over. I would not say that I was overly shallow (not overly anyways). I was more naïve than anything, with some romanticized "christian" ideas of what marriage is.

One thing about a "trophy" is that over time it loses its significance. It tarnishes. There will always be newer and greater trophies.

Now, before you women blast me, I am speaking of her own view of her ownself. When we were married, she was extremely hot, and she knew it. And yes, she had big boobs. And yes, she loved to flaunt them in a "modest" way.

At the beginning she said all the things I wanted to hear. It was all smiles. "Prince Charming" had come into her life. And they lived happily ever after...

Well, maybe not. Life has a way of happening. For some of us, it seems to happen more often than for others.

When life happens, we generally have a choice between humbling our hearts before God, or hardening them. The first is actually more painful, but brings with it freedom and joy. The second leads to anger, frustration and bondage to one's own unfulfilled dreams.

There's no need to go into details here. All I can say is that pain and suffering will show a person's true character faster than anything else. This is true of myself as well. I learned many less than virtuous characteristics buried deep down in... things that I never would have learned otherwise.

By God's Grace, I will learn, and will continue to grow.

By the way, I have met a wonderful young lady who has quite a unique story of her own. I have previously confessed all of this to her. She is absolutely beautiful in all ways, but not a "bombshell" in a physical sense. I told her I was so shallow 20 years ago, I probably wouldn't have even made an effort to look her way.

I wasn't worthy of her then, and perhaps still am not. But, I am now more completely in awe of her, more completely in love with her body, mind and heart than I have ever been with anybody else. Unlike with my first marriage, I say this with a sober heart. This young lady tells me the right things, but she has also lived them out in her daily life.

Brantley said...

Point 1:
How can someone want something but never go for it? I've never understood this but there are worse things then a girl saying no. She could say she can't and not give a reason leaving you wondering if you should try harder or move on. I would further your point here to say for the men to not beat around the bush. If you pursue with out clarity, her response will be in kind. Therefore if you're afraid to ask her out so you just say something about a group of people getting together and she should come, don't expect a "Yes, I'll go with YOU" from her. That would be her making the move and it is not her job.

Point 2:
This point was delivered through a female perspective. A male would say there is nothing wrong with 10 guys in a room liking 1 of 10 girls in a room. You can't help who you're attracted to and if you like some one, go for it even if others are doing the same. Assuming they follow point 1, if she says no, they will move on thus the next woman they are attracted to will be pursued. I'm not saying that she is any less attractive as beauty differs from woman to woman. If she says yes, she is no longer to be pursued by others and then they will have to move on.

I think a better example of point 2 would be driving in your car and checking out the girls in the car next to you. In this example, you are allowing yourself desire with out direction. This was nicely summed up in your follow up comment to bob.

And obviously, naked girls online is out of the question. TLC, why so pessimistic about this?

Point 3:
Great advice here but I would clarify some things. While you don't know them emotionally as a person, you can know everything you need to know to start a relationship by observation. Remember that a dating relationship is pretty much an interview process to determine if things will work.

How does she interact with others when her guard is down (her guard is almost never down on a date) tells so much about some one. You can know if she is Christian, what are and how does she use her spiritual gifts, what kind of friend would she be (based on how she treats her girl friends), and many other things.

Now, knowing that she is Christian, she has a similar heart in the way she serves, and she is the kind of person you would want to get to know, you can then start to pursue her.

Here is the tricky part though. Women do not understand what I just wrote and often think you need a connection first before they can be pursued. I would therefore suggest before "going in for the kill" you should spend some time talking to her. Develop a base friendship before making any official pursuit. I've done it both ways and I can say that despite my intentions both times being "righteous" there were very different results.

Jud said...

Okay, I'm late to the discussion, but I wanted to add my 100% affirmation of everything you said. Putting passivity to death is perhaps the #1 challenge for today's Christian man. I've only begun to realize that in my own life.