Most of my coaching involves encouraging people to do what their parents should have taught them growing up. Whether the need is to exhibit more self control, show contentment, be thankful, or to love unconditionally, I find that the greatest ailment plaguing our society is that of immaturity.
Though I have many other articles and excerpts out of my marriage book on what it means to act like an adult in marriage, I would like to supply to our readers one major mark of maturity that is lacking in so many marriages today.
What Gives You Joy?
When I was a child I often wondered why Christmas was a happy time for my parents. In my childish mind, I felt they were settling for second best since all they were really getting for Christmas was a dollar candle from us or whatever the Christmas budget would allow once they spent their money on us. However, as an adult, I am finding that their Christmas gifts lasted far beyond a one or two month period. Their gift was the gift of giving to us.
As a 43 year old man, I have found that my life is consumed with meeting the needs of others, especially my family. Some look at this as a sacrifice. A therapist may call it codependency. Jesus calls it obedience (John 12:25 and Romans 13:10).
I am not even sure that we even begin to live until we die to living for ourselves. To be frank, at this point in my life, I am seeing that my greatest joy comes when I see others enjoying life.
What I Hear from Men
It is almost not enough any more to tell men to act like men (I Corinthians 16:3). This is largely because I don ‘t even feel we understand what a Biblical man is. Therefore, it is really hard to shoot at what is a moving target in many people’s minds.
Nevertheless, good counseling does not involve talking as much as listening. If you will let people talk, they will reveal their faulty thinking and logic.
I often hear men say things that reveal their level of maturity. These include but are not limited to any of the following:
I just wish she would pursue me more
I don’t feel she validates me as a man
I need affection too
I wish she would make me feel more comfortable in conversation
If she would give me respect, then I wouldn’t feel so angry
Honestly, I feel that men in such a state are in dire need of growing up. In fact, in other articles I have said that when God fails to fulfill a man as his Father, then his wife will slowly become his mother and she will be faced to do the impossible job of being what only God can be in his life, his all in all.
Furthermore, I feel that men in such a state have failed to mature in the area of knowing how to live a joy-filled life. They have fallen short of learning that a large part of what brings joy in our lives is doing what it takes to ensure that others are in a better state.
Fat With Joy
Proverbs 11:25 tells us that the “liberal soul shall be made fat.” I love this verse in that it tells us that the soul or the inside of you will be filled when we allow ourselves to be emptied for others. Though paradoxical in essence, it is, nonetheless, the pathway to finding true joy.
To be frank, I hear a number of people basing their joy on the treatment they receive from others, especially their spouse. This is utterly unbiblical and a person in such a state will find themselves looking a long time for something that does not exist.
In chapter 1, page 9 of our marriage book, I wrote:
“The promises of God concerning your own happiness and contentment never hinge upon your spouse’s obedience or disobedience to God.”
They only rely upon your faith in his wonderful promises and your propensity to die to your own interests so that you may be able to meet the needs of others.
Food for thought – Dr. Force