by Dr. Joe Martin
What’s the one thing every man wants, but is afraid to admit he needs? Guess what? It’s not women, money or sex. Most men aren’t afraid to admit they needs those things.
The real answer is, every man desires to have an honest and authentic relationship and brotherhood with other men. In other words, we all want a foxhole friend, a “I-got-your-back-brother,” or a “ride-or-die-dude” we can depend on in our greatest hour of need. That “go-to-guy,” who will respect us even when we’re at our worst or weakest.
Just ask any ex-NFL athlete, retired law enforcement officer, military veteran, fraternity member, or even a former gang member. But the truth of the matter is, most of us lack the relational maturity it takes to be in a healthy and authentic relationship with other men. Allow me to explain.
If you want to determine your relational maturity as a man, all you have to do is revisit a painful wound in your past and examine yourself in the light of four questions. Personally, my wound was the sexual abuse I suffered as a child for three years. So here are the four ways to measure your maturity:
- Are you able to talk about IT (the wound)? For more than 18 years, I didn’t talk about my abuse, and that secret eventually destroyed my 16-year marriage. It’s one of my biggest regrets. The truth was, I was HIDING from IT, because of shame, guilt, and fear.
- When you talk about IT, do you get emotional? When I was finally able to talk about my abuse with others, I noticed that my voice would change, sometimes tears would fall, and it would make me angry. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it just meant I was no longer hiding from it, but still HURTING from IT.
- Are you able to help others through IT? There was a point when the heavy emotions subsided, and I was able to turn my attention outwardly, helping others, instead of inwardly, focusing on my own pain. I had finally reached a place where I was HEALING from IT.
- Can you find the blessing in IT? One of the biggest myths in life is that time heals all wounds. The truth of the matter is that, sharing and helping others through their pain heals all wounds. When I was able to help others heal from their abuse, by openly sharing mine, I could see the purpose and plan God had for my pain. This is when you can honestly say you’ve HEALED from IT.
So how relationally mature are you? Are you hiding from the pain of your past? Are you emotionally charged when you talk about it? Are you able to help others through a similar struggle? And can you honestly see the blessing and purpose behind it all?
It’s one thing to say we’re men, but when it comes to our secrets, struggles, and scars, we must be mature enough to share them with other men. (end of article)
Dr. Joe Martin is an award-winning conference speaker, author, men’s ministry leader, and certified “man builder.” He’s authored or co-authored nine books, including Are You the Man: 201 Lessons I Wish My Dad Would’ve Taught Me; The Real Men Spiritual Leader Blueprint; and Gifts & Handkerchiefs: A Lesson in Servant Leadership. Joe has spoken for more than 750 businesses, organizations, churches, colleges & universities, and K-12 schools/districts, and he was voted “National Speaker of the Year” by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. He’s also the host of “Real Men Connect,” the #1-rated radio podcast on iTunes for Christian men. To find out more about his remarkable story of redemption from abject poverty, abandonment, abuse, and addiction, visit him on the web at www.RealMenConnect.com