The key that unlocks a man's heart, that equips him to be all he was created to be, is RESPECT. It's his truest love language, it's his finest motivator.
When a man feels respected, it unleashes a healthy power that enables him to love well. It's the juice that propels him to soar upward professionally.
And it's the sure foundation that allows him to lead with sensitive wisdom
in his home, church, workplace, and community.
Based on my years as a pastoral counselor, here's what I know to be true ... when all is said and done, just about every guy I've talked with feels 'less than' in some area of his life. Underneath the burden of whatever challenge he hauls into the counseling office, he has bought the lie that he is 'not enough.'
He feels disrespected. And it weighs him down like a ball and chain.
The accumulated damage often starts in those formative childhood years.
If he was continually belittled or neglected by significant adults or peers, how he views himself plummets. If his efforts to succeed weren't steadily encouraged and applauded, he begins to give up. If his shortcomings or failures were exposed for all to see, shame enters the picture and he ends up viewing himself as a loser, a fraud, a failure.
And he carries this complex baggage of feeling disrespected into adulthood. Small wonder that in the nooks and crannies of his pummeled soul, those oozing wounds of disrespect desperately await a healing touch.
The wounds of disrespect are often hidden behind surface concerns. Like ...
He's sick to death of his work ... or he's out of work or underemployed.
His marriage is getting crispy around the edges ... or is in the process of crashing and burning.
His kids, who were once a source of pride and joy, now give him a headache fueled by fear of who they are becoming.
He feels his peers are out to get him, whatever that might mean.
He's been passed over, let go, eliminated, shunned, nagged, blamed. He feels small and he's scared. This toxic brew impacts who he sees himself to be ... sexually, professionally, relationally.
He often becomes depressed and angry at the injustice of it all. He might try to grab hold of the respect he so desperately craves by subtle manipulation or blatant power trips. If his very real and valid pain is left untended, this man is likely to fall into some form of unhealthy self-medicating ... porn, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sexual / emotional affairs, or other high risk activities.
There are no 1-2-3's in life, there are no magic wands to whisk away a man's feelings of being disrespected. Working within a Christ-centered support group like Celebrate Recovery or 1-1 with a well trained counselor can be an incredibly supportive, healing experience. With God's help, here's the steps that might incline him toward emotional / spiritual healing.
This is how I truly feel. This is where I'm coming from. This is the truth of who I see myself to be. This is my reality.
I name all the ways that disrespect has impacted me. I begin to grieve how this has played out through my life.
I own my responsibility, my decisions, and my choices that were unwise, foolish, or sinful. I ask God for forgiveness for the wrongs I have done.
I let go of all that I have no power to control. Other people. Random life circumstances. Childhood disasters.
I release myself from emotional prison by beginning to forgive those who've done me wrong, knowing that if I don't, those people will continue to control me from the depths of who I am. And I ask those I've offended to extend forgiveness to me.
I begin to see myself as Christ sees me ... forgiven, unique, valuable, one who's in process of becoming a godly man of character and integrity. I acknowledge that He alone is able to powerfully equip and enable me to live fully in all the ways that matter most. And I choose to grab hold of some godly mentors who can walk with me into my future.
For women who love these men?
Ask him what he needs from you, what support would best encourage him. It will probably be completely different than what you might have thought. Figure out how to be a steady, supportive companion who speaks the truth, but does it in love.
Pray. Often. Fervently. Faithfully.
And check out these 7 marriage pitfalls to avoid like the plague.
Unmasking Male Depression: Recognizing the Root Cause to Many Problem Behaviors Such as Anger, Resentment, Abusiveness, Silence, Addictions, and Sexual Compulsiveness ~ Hart
About Linda: Linda Stoll is a board certified pastoral counselor and life coach. She's making her way through an unsettling year of transition and grief, and is finding great comfort in feathering a new-to-her nest. This former ministry leader and introverted author of 1400 blog posts lives quietly with her husband of 40 years in a little haven tucked between the ever-changing bay and the ocean deep.
She invites you to join the conversation at lindastoll.net.
Wow, thank you so much, Linda. I know you have given me a lot to think about. What do you say, friends?
The winner of Jennifer Ferguson's book Pure Eyes Clean Heart is...Rebecca!! Congratulations! Once I recieve your info I will get the book sent out to you!