After reading the blog Melissa posted this past week I wanted to take a moment and first, just echo the importance of what she had to say and second, talk specifically to the guys out there about this.
Yesterday, Melis and I, along with Melissa's Dad, were out for dinner at this great burger place near our house called Burger Bar. (If you are ever near Norwalk...go check it out. The best burgers you will ever eat. Seriously!) About midway through our meal a family came in and sat down next to us - a dad with his three kids, and to be honest it was really sad to watch.
As they came through the door all but the youngest girl (maybe 7 or 8) were on their cell phones texting or looking online at something. Unfortunately, this wasn't just the way they entered the restaurant but they proceeded to to be on their phones texting, playing games and checking sports scores and e-mails the entire meal.
I kept wanting to grab all their phones and turn them off.
I wanted to ask them when the last time they enjoyed time as a family was. Just them...no one else constantly interrupting their relationship time.
What I find so ironic about all of the ways we have to communicate via technology today and the excuse, especially from kids, that we need them to be able to connect with other people is how all the technology is actually creating less and less connection time with actual people. Sure, we have 100's of Facebook friends, we get tons of e-mails and text messages and Tweets but all these things seem to do is take away from time with people face-to-face.
This face-to-face time is so important to human growth and we have to learn to stop depending on technology and learn to talk to the people in front of us. This will not only help our marriages as we actually connect with our spouses, but it will also help as we connect with other people and learn wisdom, experiences and simply share life together.
As I said above, I think guys need the extra push in this issue. Women tend to just more naturally be drawn to relationships with other women. They tend to more easily open up about their feelings and share concerns.
Guys, on the other hand, tend to put on the macho act and tell the world everything is great. We tend to over look our emotions and just think logically. We tend to live on pride as we refuse to ask for help and insist we can do everything on our own.
I have news for you guys: WE CAN'T!
When Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden, God came to him and said, "It is not good for man to be alone." Did you hear that? Not good!
We are created to be relational, to share life together, to strengthen, encourage and love one another. (Take some time to look up the phrase "one another" in the New Testament at www.biblegateway.com...you will find a lot!)
Guys, it might feel good to try and do everything on your own but I can tell you from my own experience, every time I have tried in my life, I usually fall flat on my face. I get overwhelmed, stressed out and broken. It would have been SOO much easier if I had just asked for help to begin with.
Here are a couple of suggestions for you to opening up:
1) Actually talk to your best friend. This might sound weird for some but I think others need to hear this. Most guys have that best friend out there but what I have seen is that some guys won't go there with certain issues. Be brave, cross that line and find that confidant to help you out.
2) Find a group of guys to meet with and talk regularly about life, marriage and your walk with Christ. (aka an accountability group) Doing this has been some of the best times I've had in my life with a group of guys.
3) Find a mentor. This can be scary for some but it is well worth it. I have found it invaluable to me in my life. Jim, Steve, Paul, and Mark have helped me through some of the toughest parts of my life and have all been such blessings to me.
4) Start a small group in your church for couples your age. Doing this can sometimes to easier since you and your wife can do it together as a team. It also can lead towards an accountability group or a best friend.
5) Talk to your wife. Again, as I mentioned above about the best friend, this can seem obvious but I know sometimes it can be hard. Sometimes I put on this act and think I need to be all strong and positive for my wife's sake so I put my feelings on the back burner. This tends to back fire. Melissa really appreciates it when I can share what's going on with me especially when she is feeling the same thing. It makes her feel like we are a team and that she isn't "crazy" because she's upset about something and I'm not.
We all need relationships and face-to-face time to really succeed in life. Just like marriage, they can be hard and messy at times but that can't be an excuse to do without them.