My 4 daughters range in age from 13 to 22 years. All 4 of them are well aware of guys and are attracted to different aspects and traits. I don’t pretend to know what those specific attractions are but I do know they exist. I’ve heard the comments and seen the Facebook postings.
Functioning as the CEO of a pregnancy resource center has exposed me to all kinds of relational issues that affect both guys and girls. I have firsthand experience with both the elation and devastation an unplanned pregnancy can generate.
As I equip older men to be coaches of young guys I also see the lack of preparation most men and young guys have regarding the responsibilities of fatherhood and what it really means to be a man. This letter won’t deal directly with those issues but there will be references to the observations I have made over the last 20 years as a man, a father and an executive.
I hope that this letter will give you some insight and wisdom from which to make your decisions about guys.
The 1st and most important aspect of choosing a guy is to understand a few important things about your father. Not your earthly father but rather your heavenly father. He created you and you were in his heart before any biology occurred. Scripture tells us that before we were formed in our mother’s womb, Father knew us and had a plan and purpose for us. A lot of emphasis is put on the circumstances of conception. But you should realize that the circumstances and biology associated with conception were only the tools Father used to get you here. This one simple fact should totally change how we think of people; their skin color, their abilities and disabilities, their socioeconomic surroundings, and even their family history. All of those things are tools Father uses to shape us but they don’t define us. By definition we’re made in Father’s image with a purpose and a plan that he is fully aware of, and we are precious to him. You are precious and valuable to Father regardless of your height, weight, hair color, or any other description that anyone may use to describe you.
Of course the Gospel message is a part of this. He sent his only begotten son so that each of us could become his adopted son or daughter. Grasping this truth in your heart will change your life.
It is important to understand that Father isn’t requiring you to perform for his approval. As your earthly dad I have expected or required you to perform well. All too often, you could have thought my love for you was conditional and based on your performance. I apologize for sending that message. Please forgive me for making you feel that way and for actually putting that condition on my love for you. I have learned that Father loves me unconditionally and that his love for me is never subject to my performance. I can disappoint him but his love for me is unconditional. I must learn how to father my children the way my Father, father’s me. You must learn that what I am saying is absolutely true.
The next thing for you to grasp is that Father has a “best” for you. His instructions in what we call the Bible are not the rules and regulations for making him happy with you. The bible is a book filled with rules and regulations as well as wisdom and insight. The rules and regulations were given to us so that we learn that they are impossible to keep. They are not there to modify your behavior. Behavior modification is the way most people who call themselves Christians see the Bible. But Father’s intent was for us to attempt to keep those rules and regulations until we became frustrated and defeated in the attempt. The rules teach us that they are impossible in our own strength. They also teach us that they were written for only one man to keep. That’s right, only one. Jesus was that one man and he kept them…fulfilled them. He was the only one capable of that and our only hope is to let him do it for us. Some teach that because Jesus fulfilled those rules and regulations we now have the power to keep them if we are empowered by his spirit, the Holy Spirit. That’s a great discussion for a later time. But for now, suffice it to say that even those empowered by the Holy Spirit are fully capable of failing in the keeping of the rules and regulations. And I dare say we all have. The guy you choose will have as well.
A number of years ago, when we were young in our faith and had just started home-schooling our children, we thought that if we could introduce you to Jesus, teach you the principles of purity, and make sure you chose a Christian as your husband, all would be good. Don’t get me wrong, those are all good accomplishments but I have learned that they are woefully inadequate. Because of the previous paragraph, I understand that you are capable of making bad decisions. Every Christian is capable of making bad decisions, and every guy is capable of making bad decisions. One purpose of this life is to teach us how to make good decisions. But making good decisions takes practice and one way we practice is by making bad decisions. As we make bad decisions and walk through the consequences, we learn how to make good decisions. As we make good decisions and experience those consequences, we are motivated to make more good decisions. In either circumstance, good or bad decision making, the opportunity to grow and make future good decisions exists. But the most important aspect of this process is experiencing the full consequences of our decisions. Whenever someone protects us from those consequences or reduces them we learn a very bad lesson. We learn that someone will rescue us when we make a bad decision and that we don’t have to experience the consequences that result. We also learn to expect Father to rescue us from the consequences of our bad decisions as well. There are times when Father does reach his hand to us and rescues us, but that is not his normal modus operandi. What he normally does is walk with us through the consequences. His love for us dictates that he will never leave us or forsake us. So, he will be present with you regardless of what you are going through, even if it is of your own doing. He is a forgiving and redeeming God. Don’t ever forget that.
Please start with the question, is he a Christian? Saying one is a Christian is pretty easy to do. Proving one is a Christian is a considerably harder task. Is there enough evidence in his life to convict him? It will take time and a lot of careful observation to find the evidence. Standing night after night in a garage doesn’t make you a car any more than going to a building called a church makes you a Christian. Has he come to Father through the son, Jesus? Does he know Father? Has he fully embraced the gift Father has offered, free and without his own efforts? It might be a good time to ask yourself these same questions. After all, it will be impossible to identify qualities in someone else that you yourself do not possess. By the way, no one can meet the real Jesus and avoid being passionate about him. If there is no passion for Jesus it is probably because there has been no genuine encounter with him.
One of the hard lessons I had to learn years ago was that those who were important to my children had to be important to me. You always defend your friends and people you value. Since you are valuable to me, I need to value those things that are valuable to you. This is a real important character trait in a guy. Does he value what you find valuable? Does he value your family? Does he value your friends? Does he value your goals and aspirations? Do you reciprocate? This plays out hundreds of different ways. Perhaps he’s all about himself. Maybe he wants to monopolize your time. He may think your ideas and plans are unimportant. You will not be in agreement 100% of the time and your personalities may be polar opposite, yet you should make each other better together than you would be alone. This takes a lot of time to discover and work through so don’t expect to know all of these things immediately. Observe carefully and gently.
Does he recognize the value of hard work? Does he have a job? Does he support his own activities? It doesn’t matter if he comes from the wealthiest family in the country. Hard work is an essential element in life. Paying one’s own way is valuable because lessons are learned in the process that cannot be learned elsewhere. Is he generous? One of the greatest aspects of Father is generosity. He is giving and loves to lavish us with his love. He also allows the rain to fall on the just and unjust. In other words, he is lavish toward all of those he created. His blessings fall on those who love him and on those who despise him. Why, because he is generous. So look for acts of generosity in the actions of the guy who has caught your eye.
Is he becoming mature in his actions? In many ways I am still pretty immature so I’m not suggesting that the guy you think is “Mr. Wonderful” will be totally mature. I am suggesting there are ways to measure his maturity. Does he blame others for his circumstances or does he take ownership of his faults and shortcomings? Does he initiate conversations with those who are older than him or that he doesn’t know? Does he take responsibility for his actions? When he says he will do something, does he do it? Is he on time or is he late? Does he know how to apologize for his own actions when they are wrong?
How does he interact with the girls and women in his life? Does he respect his mother and consider her advice and wisdom? Does he speak kindly too her? Does he treat his sister(s) gently and respectfully? Does he protect them from those who would do them harm in any way?
On the flip side, does his mother make his decisions for him? Does she rescue him from the consequences of his own bad decisions? Is he a mama’s boy in the bad sense? Does she give him everything he wants? Is his mother his best friend or is she his parent with his best interest at heart?
What is his dad like? Is his father a hero to him? Does his father encourage him or does he constantly correct him? Are his mom and dad married? How long? Is it their first marriage or is there divorce in the past? Does his family share his faith? What is that story?
My general experience has been that most guys have no idea what it means to be a man or what is required. Most guys are doing many things that they think will prove them to be men; things like risky behavior, multiple sexual conquests, drugs or alcohol. It can be any combination of these things but the bottom line is that they are all efforts to be recognized as a man. None of them however, prove he is a man. Only another man can confirm him as a man. And only a man who knows what it means in Father’s sight to be a man can really accomplish the task.
For Father, manhood is all about fatherhood. It doesn’t take a man to have sex with a girl or to conceive a child. All that takes is a guy who is biologically mature enough. It takes a man to understand that sexual intimacy is a gift from Father and that one main component in that gift is the creation of another person, a baby. A man will act as provider and protector of that life and the one carrying that life regardless of what it costs him. A man won’t turn his back on the mom or the child, he will provide and protect as long as he has breath. A man will speak to Father directly and courageously. A man will learn how to be a father by learning how Father, father’s him.
A boy will avoid your father but a man will get to know your father. A boy will have sex with you and make it all about pleasure without any understanding of the gift it is and the purpose for which it was created. A boy will listen primarily if not exclusively to a woman in his life rather than having a man direct his path. Manhood is not taught it is caught and you can’t catch something from someone who doesn’t have it. Try as she may, a single mom cannot turn her son into a man; that takes another man. Just as single mom’s lead much of the time to girls who become single moms, on their own, single moms raise old boys rather than mature men.
Guys will tell girls they love them in order to have sex with them. Girls will have sex with guys because they want them to tell them they love them. Both of these motivations are full of trouble. Guy’s and Girls who get to know who love really is will know that no human experience can even come close. Love is a gift given from the one who calls himself love. That love is then given to others by the one who received it. The best expression of love is to live loved and love others the way you have been loved.
Mom and I have been married for nearly 29 years but we didn’t start out with the wisdom of this letter. We have struggled with many difficulties over the years and many of them can be traced back to wrong decisions we made. We do live in Father’s forgiveness and he has redeemed us and our past experiences. However, we do live with those consequences; they are a part of our struggle and our journey with Father. I am learning to be thankful for them even when they hurt.
With all my love,