The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive.Timothy 3:1-4
This quote from the bible sounds so simple and straight forward. In short, a man should live his life in an impeccable manner, with noble values and a strong belief in his religion and dedication to his family and his God. A man that lives this way earns love, admiration, respect, honor, and dignity from all who are blessed with his presence in their lives. This man inspires those around him to follow his example, to live their life the same way. This type of man leads.
Past generations knew what this passage meant, and what it required of them; they had strong beliefs, values, and morals. They did their best to pass these lessons down through the generations.
Yet, as you look around today, so many have lost touch with those wholesome values. Many men have strayed from the path of integrity and their families are paying the price. Their marriages are suffering from the lack of leadership.
As I look back on my mere fifty three years of life, I can remember a time when these values were still prevalent in our society. They were taught in schools, in churches, in the home and even television shows were based on a wholesome way of life.
Today we live in a different world … or so it seems.
As sad as it is to say, the past was not as wholesome as it appears. Do not be fooled into thinking that past generations lived the passage above effortlessly. So many preached this way of life, yet did not live it behind closed doors.
Many men were overly dominant. They believed that their women were their property and they treated them as such. Women were overly submissive out of fear, so many families had skeletons in the closet, so many secrets, and so much was covered up. If a woman spoke up about the way her husband treated her in private, there were no organizations to come to her rescue. It was more important to save face and pretend that all was well, even when it was not. Not looking bad in front of the neighbors, at church, or in any public setting took precedence over right and wrong.
Abuse of every kind was common. Men beat their wives and children. They also abused them verbally. If a woman did not willingly submit to her husband sexually, it was often forced upon her. Such things went unseen, and unreported. The neighbors turned a blind eye and told themselves that she brought this on herself. That seems to be how things often worked back then. If a woman knew her place, then she could get by and be comfortable. If she dared to speak up, then that was a different matter and she suffered the consequences.
Now I am sure you're starting to wonder what this has to do with marriage and being a leader today.
I am not a trained counselor, physiatrist, doctor or any other form of official authority on this subject. I am just a regular guy that has been through, and seen an awful lot of unhappiness in my life. What I am about to say is my own opinion based on my own experience with life and the lives of many, many people that I have been involved with through my years.
Many of the children of the era I am speaking of have deep emotional issues that they have carried with them through life. The scars can run deep and affect their adult lives in many ways.
Those are the people that are now grandparents, parents, wives and husbands. These people are struggling to live a happy life, and they remain constantly haunted by the conditioning of the past, many do so without even knowing what is causing their marital and life stresses, the scars are deep, they have been covered up by years of conditioning, self-preservation, and a need to simply survive in the best way they know how. There is an abundance of anger, insecurity, fear, detachment, and a lack of knowledge on how to give and receive genuine love and affection. The subject in which past conditioning and present desires for love and affection are the most conflicted and explosive is the domain of sex.
Sex is an integral part of the human experience. It is everywhere you look. It is on billboards, in our clothing, on just about every television channel, and in our grade schools. Sex has been subverted to sell every product and to control how we feel about ourselves and our lives. We view sex as image enhancer, sex as achievement, or sex as entertainment. This is not what sex is supposed to be. Sex is supposed to be about love.
The association between sex, love, and affection has all but been lost in our modern society. There is sex everywhere you look, except in many marriages where it belongs. The love, affection, kindness, and appreciation of each other that should be accompanying the act of sex has been lost or covered up with life's daily stresses, pressures, and a lack of time to achieve all of our responsibilities.
Even on the rare occasion that a couple manages to find the time for a husband and wife to connect, there is no guarantee that they still have the ability to do so.
Surely there will be some that dispute my opinion, but there will be just as many or more that simply cannot deny the reality of what I am saying. You don't have to look far to see it.
Today's marriages are filled with men and women that are holding on to so much pain, resentment, anger, insecurity, and a lack of understanding on how to give love and receive love from their child hood that they simply do not have the skills to maintain a long term relationship. The emotional instability of today's society is not only sad, in too many cases, it could be considered pathetic.
To this emotional immaturity you now must add the twisted modern focus on the individual as the highest priority. In today's society it is all about me. It is about what I want, and what I need. I can rarely admit when I'm wrong and I have to be the one who is in control because I cannot trust anyone else to look out for my interests.
Put these two things together; our inability to properly give and receive love, and the extreme focus on individual needs, and it is easy to see why the divorce rates in America are so astronomically high. We are a society of people who are stumbling around grasping at others to meet our needs for us, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that they are individuals who have needs as well. We cannot see beyond the horizons of our own lives long enough to truly love another person.
To me, this all leads back to the subject of leadership, and in particular I am speaking about the ability of a man to provide leadership for his family. Many men in today's world are experiencing the same emotional havoc from their upbringing as women are. Men suffered just as much emotional, physical, and mental abuse as the women from this era.
We seem to handle this situation exactly as previous generations did. When our wife and children will not submit to our desires, we force them to get in line. If overt domination does not work, then we will resort to emotional manipulation. We go to the extremes of either over controlling, or over submissiveness. Neither of these tactics will result in anyone being happy. What our families need is not control, or a man that they can walk all over. What they need is a leader.
What does it mean to be a leader? It means that a man must step outside of his own limited sense of self. He must stop acting for his own interests and work instead to promote the greater good of his family. Leadership is when a man is leading his family toward a life that is happy and fulfilling for all of them.
Few men today can provide true leadership. Few men realize that it is not enough to have faith, values and religious beliefs alone.
Men and women can do their best to be good Christians, and still fail at being adequate fathers, husbands, mothers and wives. They still have no idea how to lead their spouses and families to peace and happiness.
Today's churches are still filled with men that go home after a service and create a world of fear, unhappiness, and emotional stress for themselves, their wives, and their children.
There are just as many women that have strong Christian beliefs, yet go home and cannot love, appreciate, find peace, or be affectionate in the way God intended us all to be, man or woman.
Now if you go back to the quote I started this article with, we can assume that God designed men to be leaders and to exercise a degree of authority over their families.
However, a man should never try to control the woman in his life. He can, and should, lead his marriage. He can, and should control his own behaviors and attitudes. However, he must also give his family space to be themselves. A man can learn to be the right kind of leader. He can be the kind of leader that his wife and family will respect, desire, appreciate, and be more than happy to follow.
A man must learn how to manage the emotions, the fears, and the insecurities of himself and his partner so that they are moving toward a common good in which all of their needs are met, and they are both fulfilled.
A man must learn how to bring out the love and passion in your marriage, learn how to handle the daily issues that pop up in all our lives, learn how to manage your own behaviors, and those of your wife and your children. In other words, you learn to be the right kind of leader, the leader that God designed you to be.
I say,” DONT BE FOOLED” thinking that just by having Christian beliefs you are on the right path. You also need the knowledge of how to deal with the realities of today's society.