Faith Relationships Self-Management

What Prepares and Keeps a Man Married-Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about the biblical basis for self-care and its impact on single guys wanting to marry and married men. If you have not, read part 1 first. Otherwise, reading part 2 will sound more like behavior modifications; which never truly changes a man.

Recently, I had lunch with a warrior-aged single man. In his early 20s and worried he will soon be 30 and still single. “That would be the end of me!” he shuddered with his hands on his face. To which I replied, “Hey, I was six weeks from turning 30 when I got married! 30 is like eight years away for you. A lot can happen and happen quickly!”  With that, I challenged him to pray God will put a longing in the heart of his future wife for him as her future husband. And, to also pray that God will place a longing in his heart for his future wife. With that, my challenge is to practice self-care in the waiting. It will pay off!

Practical Ways toward Healthier Self-Care

Keep in mind, this is not about a self-indulgent, “I am the center of the universe” lifestyle. This is about a Christ-centered approach to manhood that makes the most out of who you are and are becoming.

Nourish

Diet. Evaluate your weekly diet. Do you balance intake with energy expended? Consuming more calories than you burn will tip the scale towards overweight and other health concerns. It’s why guys who are relatively fit in high school and their early 20s can become overweight by the time they are in their 30s. I LOVE dark chocolate with almonds! However, when I eat an entire bag in less than a week, I suffer the consequences! Balance out your eating. Eat clean, non-processed foods as often as you can. Many foods nowadays have a lot of added sugar or corn syrup. Be sure to read labels, and educate yourself on nutrition.

Exercise.  Look who’s talking! Not that I am some workout-aholic, but since having heart surgery a few years ago, I’m on doctor’s orders to get a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio exercise a week. During my warrior years, I was relatively active and in fair shape. Definitely not a weight-lifter or even close, but on the other hand, not a weakling by any stretch of the definition, despite never having a regular regimen of exercise. We live in a sedentary culture, so having a consistent routine of working out is important. You don’t have to go for the six-pack abs or muscles that look like you are Hercules’s cousin, but honoring God with your body through exercise is important.   

Sexuality.  We’ll save some deeper discussions about sexuality and manhood for future posts, but suffice to say this: deep in your soul is a God-given desire for sexual expression. The biggest challenge you face as a warrior is handling your sexual drive in a way that pleases God instead of yourself.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 talks about how your body is not your own: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Believe me when I say I know the battle within to please yourself sexually. Studies have shown that repeated self-gratification actually alters the brain’s structure, such that default mechanisms are set in motion that ultimately wound your soul more than the immediate sexual satisfaction gives. Yield your sexual desires to the Lord. He will realign those desires in a healthier way. Your sexuality is a deeply spiritual matter.

Mind.  Science tells us we use very little of our brain’s potential. Most of us get caught up in a circular pattern of thinking; their own world and never take the time to explore and expand their mind. Within a biblical worldview, there is a plurality of issues and studies that can be addressed and processed through a Christ-centered perspective. After all, Jesus is the Creator, and all things are under His authority. Nothing that is made was made without Him. Even our technological advances still find their roots in Creator God. Exercise your mind. Don’t be afraid of dealing with hard, ethical and complex issues. God can handle it and He’s given you a mind to learn, understand and be renewed by and through Him. Filter all thoughts through Christ and His Word: Take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV).

Sleep. Experts say 7 to 8 hours of sleep is a good target. There are days I get 6 or less and for me, at my “old age,” that isn’t good; especially for my heart. To get more sleep one must prioritize daily tasks. Some things just have to wait until later. Sleep is important.

“Chillaxin.” With sleep, there is a need for what a warrior I mentor calls “chillaxin.” Hanging out. No major agenda. Kicking back. Enjoying the day. Doing things your normal weekly routine doesn’t permit. On good weather weekends, one place I like to rest is in my hammock. In the winter, reading a good book by our fireplace is the epitome of chillaxin for me! Thanks to some of the warrior-aged dudes I mentor, I’ve been introduced to some Indie/Folk music playlists that have helped set a chillaxin-mood.

Rest is the knack of trusting God even when life is undone. When you need to do laundry cause you’re re-wearing stuff that smells! Or, there are dishes piled high in the sink, duty is screaming at you! If you are hyper-responsible, like me, you fight the inner cry to rest. There is a book by Patrick Klingaman entitled Finding Rest When the Work is Never Done. I recommend you find a copy. (Amazon has some used copies for as little as 14 cents!)  Rest is not being lazy. It’s a needed opportunity to recharge the soul. When I have blurry boundaries I don’t rest well.  

Christ is your soul’s rest. It’s a recognition that your life is never more satisfied until you are satisfied in Him.

Cherish

When our kids were growing up we’d spend Friday nights as a family. Video, pizza, and an interactive devotional time. Our now warrior-aged children still talk about those memories. To cherish is to love, to care deeply and hold in highest regard. I cherish those memories and the legacy made during those formative years.

God. I cherish time with God. Not clock-time, but relational time. Yes, I prioritize time in the Word. My days go so much better when our heavenly Father/ son relationship is part of the first hour of my day. Like Galatians 2:20 teaches, life is about Christ living His life through you. That only happens when, by faith, you choose to yield to Him.  

Relationships. I cherish spending time with Sandy; which means other important things have to go. If you want to get married someday, or are a married warrior, valuing your relationship with your wife/future wife has to be a top priority. Find ways to be appreciative of her; even if you are single and not dating, or have no clue who this mystery woman is!  Thank God for her! Thank God for who she is and how the two of you can have the opportunity to be an example of Christ and His church to the world. Thank God for who He created you to be, and the manhood he’s calling you to. “Fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139. To cherish isn’t to worship self but to thank God he created you for such a time as this, including the close relationships you have.

Self-care is vital for a man, single or married. I’m nowhere near perfect at it, but I thank God for the lessons learned. Spend some time with your mentor, asking him what things he’s doing to manage self-care, and if married, what he did to prepare himself and stay married. As always, filter all things through the wonderful, awesome Word of God!

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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