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Becoming A Stronger Spiritual Leader

Learn Grow LeadTo state things simply, a man is made to lead. This is a God given, innate desire and calling for every man, but becoming a strong spiritual leader does not happen by chance. This would be the obvious place to start listing things you should do, like reading your Bible daily, praying daily and meeting with a weekly men’s group who will challenge and encourage you. While these are key ingredients, I’d like you to consider another approach.

If you read the title and thought there was room for you to grow as a spiritual leader, the first step is deciding to. You will be finished reading this in the next 60 seconds, and it will be very easy to move on with your day without changing anything. Nothing is more difficult than change. Nothing is more difficult than doing something one way for an extended period of time and then stopping and restarting. I get that! I’m challenging you to do something every man needs to. Decide right now you are going to become a stronger spiritual leader for yourself and your family.

If you said yes to the challenge, increasing your intimacy with God is the next step. You can do the practical things listed above, but these disciplines without intimacy with the Father wither in time. Without relationship you will find yourself at the beginning of each year renewing old resolutions. Revelation 2:5 “…Repent and do what you did at first.” This is the path to spiritual growth.

So if intimacy is key, how do I increase it? Great question! How would you go about increasing intimacy with your wife and children? The answer is obvious isn’t it? TIME. Your spiritual leadership becomes stronger in proportion to your time spent with Jesus.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 I want that said of me! How about you?

One Strategic Move to Getting Unstuck

Getting UnstuckIf you’ve been married a couple years or more and you are willing to be brutally honest, your marriage is probably mediocre at best. I apologize for starting out so bluntly, but stick with me for a minute. The first part in making it better is identifying and admitting where you are. The other issue is you aren’t sure how it got that way… it happened so subtlety. You woke up one day and realized it wasn’t great.

You want to know what happened? You stopped pursuing your spouse. It’s that simple… and hard. Men, when you were dating you’d talk for hours on the phone, you’d go to the chick flicks, you’d drive hours to spend 15 minutes with the one you love. You pursued her! But once you “got” her… you stopped. Granted there may be a lot of scars, anger and disappointment present today, but those are by-products of not pursuing your wife.

Another trap we get into is surveying the landscape and comparing our marriage to those around us. Come on! With a 50% divorce rate, if you are still together you are doing a lot better than those around you, aren’t you? The problem with the married couples you’re comparing to is that their marriage is mediocre too.

Pick any area of your life and ask yourself this question, “Can I neglect that area, not work at it, and see growth or success over a long period of time?” The answer is absolutely positively NO! Yet couples say, “why don’t we have a good marriage?” When for years they have been neglecting it. Consider your body; don’t eat right and don’t exercise and your heath is going to decline. Don’t manage your workplace, don’t plan ahead and your business will decline. Take your yard for example; don’t cut, fertilize or water it for just one year and you will have a mess. Over a long period of time you will only see deterioration!

Here is the hardest part… you don’t know what to do to make it any better. TO GET WHAT YOU ONCE HAD, YOU MUST DO WHAT YOU ONCE DID. Period. Own it! This one strategic move, consistently practiced, will propel you out of mediocrity.

How do I know this will work? Eight years ago my marriage was shattered. With bitterness, resentment, anger and the works, I began to love, cherish and serve my wife without expecting anything in return. I began to do what I’d done at the beginning of our relationship. Was it a quick fix? No. Was it hard work at times? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! Yes! Yes! Love never fails. Today Kirsten and I are best friends, we enjoy each other’s company… we actually like one another :0) Get started today! You can do this!

Your Most Important Work

When does the most important part of your day start? At least five days a week you are spending the majority of your waking hours at work. During any given day there are tasks you perform that are routine, and others that can be stressful due to the importance associated with them, but I believe your most important work starts at the end of the day… when you pull the car into the driveway or garage and turn off the ignition. Typically, there’s a deep breath because your workday is finally done, and you can relax, right?! The truth is, your most important work is just about to begin.

It’s the time you will spend with your wife and children. It’s such a small amount of time compared to the time you spend at work, but the fruit of your efforts will far outweigh and outlive anything you do at your job. Think about it a minute… you spend eight to ten hours a day at work, and at best, you have about two hours of meaningful time with your family at night. If your honest, it’s real easy to spend those hours in the recliner, isn’t it? After all, you worked all day and you “earned” this time, didn’t you?

Why am I calling this time with your family “work”? Just to get you to think about it a bit differently… you see, work has purpose in it, we understand that. It is intentional and we do it for a desired outcome. The work you are doing at home is an investment. Is your investment growing or diminishing?

When you turn off your ignition today, take a deep breath and ask God for His help to do your best “work”.

To Rebuild Something It Must First Be Torn Down

To start over… To quit and begin again… to take a step backward to be able to take two forward. Whatever you call it, it’s hard to contemplate and even harder to do! Starting over seems so painful. For some reason there’s a sense of failure in that. You’ve got all this time, effort and energy that will literally go to waste if you start over, and for that reason most of us don’t or wont and our “pain” continues.

Take your business for example; let’s say your cash flow is consistently tight, week in and week out you borrow and shift and juggle to make payroll. You’ve done it so long that it’s become normal… So much so you’ve surmised most businesses run this way. Occasionally you’ve thought, ‘I could hire a consultant to help with this or there are some changes I could make to eliminate this problem like increasing prices by 6%, adjusting my accounts receivable terms, incentivizing prompt payment, penalizing late payments, etc.’ but you don’t call a consultant and you don’t implement the changes… Why? Because you perceive making those changes to be more painful than your current situation. The truth is juggling to make payroll each week is extremely painful and stressful, but you have done it for so long you have become somewhat “comfortable” in this painful place. From the outside looking in its rather obvious… from your perspective, not so much. Multiple honest perspectives are very valuable!

Still don’t know what I’m talking about? How about your marriage; you’ve been married 12 years, and while you’d admit the honeymoon is over, you say “My wife and I are still married… Look at all the people we know who are getting divorced” The truth is your relationship is mediocre at best; there’s no life or zest in it anymore. You desire a better relationship and you’ve considered going to counseling, but you’ve concluded that would only bring some touchy subjects to the surface and cause more pain. You have grown comfortable in the mediocre relationship and would rather continue in that for years to come than do some hard work that leads to real love and life.

If it sounds like I’m preaching, know that most of my writing comes from personal experience :0). Our hope is that things will get better if we hang in there long enough. That is faulty thinking. A solid home does not spring forth from a broken foundation.  To rebuild something it must first be torn down.

Take a step back… What is it that’s not working so well? What is it that came to mind when you read that question? Identify it before the wheels come off! What can you begin working on this month that would bring forth a higher level of life, joy, love and relationship for years to come?

Instantaneous Physiological Change – Getcha Some!

Three ways words affect us:

  • The words we say to ourselves
  • The words we say to others
  • The words we allow to be said to us

The tongue has the power to build or destroy; not only in our own life, but also in the lives of others. Virtually every contact has the potential to influence positively or negatively.

There is a physical chemical reaction that happens instantly when words are heard or received. You can make an instantaneous physiological change in another human beings body simply by the words you use. You can bring life or you can bring death.

Here’s an example: Men, let’s say you get home from work and you notice your wife has been to the hair stylist and you say “What happened to your hair!”

Now she’s NOT going to think; hmmm… I’m going to become angry… I’m going to release the angry chemicals in my body and eventually I’m going to throw a frying pan. No! It’s instantaneous and she immediately has a reaction. The flipside is true for us guys, you hear something and it literally changes a chemical inside your body that either brings life or death.

Now imagine you come home and this time you say “Wow! You are beautiful!” Instantly there is a peace and warmth and a joy (let’s call it LIFE) that flows through her body.

Women:

Have you ever said, “I wish my husband would be more of a leader, be stronger, be more confident” etc. You can make him that way! Your words have the power of life and death! You want to build your husband up, try infusing your words to him with encouragement.

You know what happens if you were to simply say (in the right time) “honey you are a good man” you know what happens inside us (men) when we hear that? we think, “Yeah… I am”. You know how I know? Because inside we want to be a good man. Maybe we’re afraid we’re not much of the time but we want to be a good man, and when someone who knows us as well as you do says we are. We begin to believe it.

How about our kids:

When they’re small is all “oh I’m so proud of you”, “you’re the best”, “you can do it”, “here is a reward for doing it”, “did you see what Johnny did?”, “Did I tell you what Suzy did?” But somewhere along the line it tapers off and by the time they’re 16 it’s “why can’t you be more like your sister”, “why is your room a pigsty”, “why’d you get another ticket”… waaa, waaa, waaa It’s no wonder they don’t want to spend time with their parents.

You can change yourself and others by breathing LIFE into them.

What are you telling yourself today? Are you telling yourself that you’re good enough, that you can do it, that you’re talented and creative, that you’re confident? If you haven’t heard any of that lately, what are you hearing? Maybe you need to hit the reset button.

There is something good and positive in everyone you come in contact with, it’s just a matter of tuning yourself to see it… to look for it. Become a person of praise and people are going to want to be around you.

Proverbs 18:21 (The Message) Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

Be A Student Of Your Wife

Be A Student Of Your Wife

Becoming a husband can feel like one of the most stretching things a man can do. But it is amazing how quickly and subtly we can get complacent and take our wives and marriages for granted. It’s remarkable how one day our communication is great, and we are hoping and dreaming about the future together, and months or years later we’re looking across the table at each other wondering “who is this person and what do we have in common?”

Statistics tell us that only 50% of marriages succeed (don’t end in divorce). And out of the ones that stay together, only 18% say their marriage is THRIVING. If your marriage is “OK” today but you have a hard time saying it’s thriving… I’m talking specifically to you. As a man, you have the ability and the responsibility to make your marriage thrive. All it takes is refocusing the energy you are already expending.

Is your wife number one in your life? Marriage comes down to that one question. Am I willing to place one woman above everything and everybody else in my life except God? That includes, by the way, my children, my parents and my job.

Think about it. Most women loved the time of courtship in the relationship. Why? It was about getting to know each other. It was about being interested in the person and knowing more about them. What’s one new thing you’ve learned about your wife this week… this month… this year? Never stop being a student of your wife! What is her love language? When is the last time you’ve written her a note? What has she mentioned or pointed out that you have surprised her with weeks or months later? I’m not giving you any new information… You used to do this, you’ve just grown complacent. Begin again!

For those of you who own your own business. Your wife wants to be your partner and wants to be included… Not your “business partner” per se, but she wants to be included in the thought process and let in on what’s going on, decisions you’re making and directions you’re heading. In my experience, my wife has been an incredible resource in helping me make business decisions. She doesn’t have to be intimate with the day to day business to be a great sounding board. Kirsten’s intuition and discernment have proven invaluable.

As men who own/run a business, more often than not our love, passion, excitement and time that was once focused on our wife, now gets spent on our business and demotes our wives out of the position God intended. This is blunt, but in this case your business might as well be another woman. It can make her feel the same way. Just keeping it real! :0)

How to Tell if You’re a Workaholic

This is a great post from the guys at All Pro Dad. In a University of North Carolina study, researchers found that the children of workaholics have the same levels of anxiety and depression as the kids whose parents are alcoholics.  Scary, isn’t it?  The signs of alcoholism are pretty clear, but what about men who work too much?  How do you determine if you might, indeed, be a workaholic?  If you answer “yes” to a few of the following questions, you might have an issue:

• Do you get more excited about work than about family?
• Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacation?
• Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most?
• Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time?
• Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships?
• Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep or when others are talking?

Here are the 10 signs you might be a workaholic

Good To Great Relationships

How was your last review at work? Isn’t it funny that we have job reviews at our workplace to tell us where we’re doing well and where we need improvement but we don’t do anything like this at home… usually until it’s too late and then we’re off to “counseling”. How are your relationships these days? More specifically, how are your family relationships? How are you doing as a husband or wife, father or mother? If you answered “Good” or “Alright” this is for you! Want to make your relationships great in 2011? Here’s how. About four years ago I ran across this questioner that allows you to have your spouse and or children give you feedback on how you are doing. Yeah it’s a little daunting I know. But just like in business if you are not asking the right questions and or if you are not getting good honest answers to those questions there’s no reason things are going to improve.

It’s called the Family 360 Performance Review and it’s similar to a job review but you give this short questionnaire to your spouse and or children to complete and from there you have an outline (from the people that matter) on what you’re doing well and what needs improvement.

It’s real easy. There are 13 statements like “Takes time to have personal conversations” and “Shares home chores fairly”. Then next to each statement there is a seven point rating scale from “Needs Significant Attention” to “Significant Strength”

The first time I did this I had my wife and three kids fill it out (separately) and on some statements like “Apologizes when he has done something wrong or has hurt others’ feelings” each one of them choose a different rating which was somewhat telling on how I interacted with them individually. On other statements however there were definite red flags that went up for me like the statement, “Is patient with family members” The four of them independently rated me with “Needs Some Attention” and “Almost Acceptable”. Hello!

Do you want your relationships to be great? Then you have to know where they need some work. This review makes that clear. The rest is up to you. Download or print the form here

PS Men, I sent this to your wives already so they will know whether you have the stuff it takes to proceed :0)

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