For us to talk MEN, I think it’s good we define our terms- that we know what a man is, and is not. Real men work hard and love hard. They don’t go taking out loans to get money when they can’t pay it back. They came home dirty (unless you work in an office, that’s cool too) and tired because they used to work for every penny they have. Also, I want to thank Beth at Branch Out Marketing- she encouraged me to start writing! So thanks!
So lets look at an example!
My man is just…he’s a man. I wrote this to him one day in a journal and thought it would make the best post ever for my new site. If more men could be half what he is, this world would be a better place. So read, enjoy. Boys- take notes.
When we were young, and still just teenagers- it was how you sat on the phone with me until the wee hours just to make sure I would fall asleep. You knew sleeping was hard for me, so some nights on the phone you even read me stories. I remember one time, waking up after falling asleep to your voice- and you were still reading. Nobody was there, I was asleep- but you chose to keep reading because you didn’t want to wake me up by stopping. We both had school the next day, and you had practice. But the lack of sleep didn’t matter to you, only my abundance of sleep did.
Or that time I had been traveling all summer and was set to come home. My step Dad invited you over for pizza and a game of chess so you could be there when I got home. Being the brat I was, I walked in and was mad you were there, so I stormed off to my room. You didn’t chase after me, or even get hurt. You continued to play chess with my step Dad and eat pizza. Eventually, I came back upstairs, and you acted as though I hadn’t done anything and wasn’t the rudest person ever. To this day you still love telling that story because “it was cute.”
Then there was the time I broke your heart and shattered your world by ending our two-year relationship at the tender age of 16. You waited for me. And you prayed for me. You prayed for me every day for ten years. You watched me date other people; you watched my heart be broken, you watched me make a mistake after mistake. And you loved me still.
You even did everything you could to protect me- to protect me from myself. It’s almost like you tried surrounding me with those inflatable rentals lol. In our college years, you heard, I was dating a man that had been fired from a Christian Organization for quite literally preying on young girls. Despite the fact we hadn’t talked in years, you reappeared into my world and just started showing up at the gym I worked at. You started building a relationship with me, never accusing me or scaring me but very intentionally watching me. Every day you came to “work out, ” and you treated me lovingly and respectfully. I didn’t know it, but you prayed fiercely for me then. And you didn’t know it, but your meekness, love, and respect nagged at me- in the best way possible. Even from a distance, ou set a standard of what a real man was, so- when I found myself with boys that called themselves men- I knew better. Although it didn’t stop me from making poor choices, it did stop me from making even poorer choices- and because of that I thank God every single day. How much worse it could have been.
Do you remember that one night, at the company Christmas party?? I was there as a date with another guy and you happened to work at the same company. I didn’t know I would see you, but my heart stopped when I heard a familiar voice say my name. It’s slightly possible I had too much to drink that night, but my only memory is you never left my side. I still have no clue what happened to my date, but word is he found another young lady to take advantage of. Working with this man, you probably knew what was ahead of me for the night. Your constant requests for a dance, and your constant questions about how how I had been, and how my parents were- were intentional and calculated. I remember having so much honest to goodness, pure fun. I needed that. And like a typical hero you vanished after that only to reappear as an even better version of yourself while at war in the east. Saving people seemed to be something you were good at.
I’ll never forget when we reconnected for the millionth time- knowing that this time it would be the last because we would always be in eachothers life- for every second of every day. You were off saving the world, and I was rebuilding my life after illness. Your voice over the phone sounded more mature, more manly, more confident. It was like you knew things I didn’t, like you were privy to some knowledge and you weren’t surprised at all that it was me on the other line saying, “I love you Levi.” We talked about the past ten years, and what we had been up to. I listed the many men I dated, shamefully, and you just casually told me I was the only person you really ever dated, no- I was the only person you ever loved. But you stop there and not say anything else- you would hesitate. I didn’t know why until the night before we got married. You handed me a bible with a letter in it. It was the bible you had used in high school when were together and it even still had my scribbles on it. In was a letter you had written when were 16.
In the letter it was dated, and you said that God had told you that we would be married someday. I realized then, that for ten years when you saw me around town holding the hands of other people- you saw your wife. When you saw me sick and battling a disease- I wasn’t just some friend struggling but you saw your wife incredibly ill. Yet during all this you never had the ability to treat me as your wife, so you stayed back and prayed. You remained visible and protected me- but trusted God.
After we got married, I unpacked all our belongings into that tiny apartment with that carpet that was the cleanest and softest ever in North Carolina and stumbled upon your prayer journals. Everyday for ten years you prayed for your, “wife.” You knew that was me. You prayed for me for me everyday for ten years. In one of the journal entries you confessed you hadn’t loved any other person but me. This wasn’t a creepy obsession- but a confidence and trust in the promise God gave you. So you confidently and patiently watched me live, and asked God to make you into my husband. And He did.
As you took immature me as your wife, you let me grow into what God wanted me to be. You lead by example, and you loved tenderly. I was a hot mess of a person when we got married- a liar, selfish, dramatic, and incredibly confused on God and who He was. Yet you never pointed any of those things out. You just pointed me to Jesus and loved me. Oh how you loved me!
Like when you rode your bike in Iraq, at night, one mile each way to call me everyday for 400 days. And if you couldn’t call because you were on a mission, you found a way to secretly tell me so I wouldn’t worry. Or the times you called me from rooftops as you pulled security- always sounding at ease and happy and always listening to me complain about how hard it was to raise a baby without you. You never told me the day before a friend had his bottom half blown off from an IED. Or that you would have given anything to change your sons diaper instead of burn you and your fellow soldiers poop. You never told me about the time you got in an accident in Afghanistan and passed out only to awaken in the Armies tow truck- which was a far cry from our local Fargo towing company! You never held my self centered ways against me. The grace you offered me overflowed.
And to this day, you let me sleep in and clean the kitchen just because. You come home from working out in -35 degree weather building steel buildings and before you even take off your boots you kiss me and ask about my day. MY day. My day in our beautiful home you’ve put your heart and soul into. You, you ask about my day in a heated house with coffee and kisses from our kids. When I have the nerve to actually complain you sit and listen while your stomach screams of hunger. You never hold it against me when I don’t have dinner waiting for you. I say sorry over and over again, saying how the day got ahead of me and I just didn’t get dinner done and you just smile and hug me. Then you head off to the kitchen, battered and bruised, to make a bowl of cereal. Fruit Loops. Then you head into second shift and bathe the kids, read to them, and put them to bed. You come downstairs and take one look at my frazzled self and you don’t say a word. You let me be. You let me unwind. You let me finish thoughts. You let me write. You let me ignore you. Then like clockwork, I exhale and look up at you ready to spend the evening with my best friend and you adorably smile and say, “hi,” as if you’ve been expecting me. Usually one of us gets up to be closer to the other and your eyes never leave me. You always tell me you love me and we settle into eachother for the rest of the night. Sometimes I ramble on and on, sometimes I never say a word, sometimes I even cry because life is hard and painful but most of the time we laugh because dear- you’re really funny. But you never waiver. Your strength but tenderness never conflict. Your humor and sarcasm are perfectly tuned, never going to far. Your control is mastered. Yet your adoration and love for me you let run wild. And I love that.
Thank you for loving me something fierce, yet somehow meekly and tenderly. You my love, are a man of men. You my dear, set the standards. You love good. You love me good. You love us good.