The new year is a “state of the union” where you take a look at where things are and were you want them to go. That look started for me last month and it’s a two fold theme. One of kindness and another of humility. I want to get better and I want to be kind. I don’t really want to be humble but I do like how humility feels. There’s a humbling that takes place in life sometimes that makes you humble and then there is choosing to be humble. Can’t help the first one but I can chose the later. Humility looks good on a man. I’m not saying that he is not confident, but he is humble and that looks really good, feels good too. Humility is that knowing that you can’t do it all on your own, that you need help, that you need people in your life, that you need God to provide and that in your humility God is with you. There is so much out of our control that humility is wisdom. Humility holds a promise that in time you will be raised up, things will go your way, that you will be honored, that you will prosper, that you will receive grace from God. Prov 22:4 &11:22 James 4:6 1 Peter 5:6 These are spiritual and scriptural promises, and it’s our choice to receive them or not. Humility comes with reward.
My wife Diane is the kindest person alive. I get compliments from people I don’t know about her kindness reguarly. Me?…. not so much. It may be 30 years of self employment, my love for violent sports (UFC, Bullriding, football), hunting, and a decade plus of running a room full of healing men that aren’t always the most gentle….. but kindness, or the desire to be kind hasn’t been up there on my list at all, ever. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit and my wife for years has been after me about it but just now I am starting to listen (always listen to your wife, it’s the voice of God). This week I have been practicing being kind every where I go and wow, it’s amazing how kind every one has been to me….really, wow. It’s not even necessarily been the people I have been being kind to, just random people every one is so nice all of a sudden that I have cried almost every day, sometimes multiple times….interesting. I say all this because if you have known me, or been in group, or read my blogs over the last 9 years you will know this has never been the theme of mine. Quite the opposite really. Sexual purity or in business the talk is usually about toughing up, getting it done, not taking any smack from anyone, not apologizing, calling it like it is, charging ahead and grabbing this thing by the horns and ripping it’s head off has been the ongoing speak because it works. Men need to get aggressive, crazy aggressive to get better. OK, so….for the last few weeks I’m working my hardest to be kind, purposefully kind, but that does not mean I am a door mat, no body is walking on me, no one is taking advantage of me. It does not mean I am passive, or soft, but it does mean that I am kind and that kindness opens doors to the other fruit of the Spirit that have also been low on my list I.E…… love, joy, patience, goodness, and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23) . No wonder I’m crying a lot, I feel God, I feel his pleasure and it feels good.
Now back to humility. Pride is the enemy of purity. Two weeks ago at group I did some Q&A and someone asked me “what is the biggest barrier to men getting sexually pure?” I didn’t have to think about it, the answer is pride. Nothing more to say really except that if pride keeps you from getting better it’s humility that is the door way to getting better.
Humility says I need help. Pride says I can do it on my own.
Pride says I’ll never do that again so I’ll just keep this one to myself. Humility says I need to let someone know about this asap.
Humility asks others how they got better. Pride says I can figure this out on my own.
Pride says I’m better than you. Humility says I’m just happy to be here.
Humility starts at the bottom. Pride want’s it all right now.
Pride is narcissism. Humility is self restraint.
Price is self absorbed. Humility is self aware.
Humility invites correction. Pride says I know what I am doing.
Pride separates. Humility brings together.
Pride is a bully. Humility is restrained power.
We were having dinner with friends the other night and I was telling them about my plan to be more kind than my wife this year…(I got a few laughs) when they turned me onto this fantastic article about kindness in marriage by Emily Smith called Masters of Love. Wow, you have to read it, it’s a game changer. Even if you’re not married, you will be and there are some really great insights in there we all need, and I mean NEED. Science says lasting relationships come down to kindness. The best part of the article for me was “bids for connection,” great stuff, here it is.
Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife—a sign of interest or support—hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.
The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.
People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t—those who turned away—would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”
These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had “turn-toward bids” 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
just makes you want to be kind doesn’t it? I want to be the guy with the 87% turn toward bids…sign me up. Kindness is the key to a great marriage and humility is the key great reward. The two are working wonders for me, their best friends and I want to hang out with them. I feel like I just stumbled on a big bag of money in the woods. The choices of humility and kindness are full of reward. I can see it in the face of my wife, the eyes of my friends, and the countenance of strangers. 2016? “The year of kindness.”
Want some home work? Choose humility this week. People are idiots? selfish, and angry? No problem, choose humility. Say it out loud if you need to “I choose humility ” and reap the promises. Humility brings peace of mind, it brings us closer to God, and closer is good. It’s holy, and it feels great. Humility carries with it this crazy cool God confidence that brings a knowing that He has it all worked out, and in the end, no matter what, we are the winners.
Go all in on the homework with Kindness. Respond with kindness to your wife’s bids for connection and I’d bet heavy you married guys will have some great sex this week. Go out of your way to be the best you you have and you will create an atmosphere around yourself that makes good things happen. Even better it’s such a great way to live that one week won’t be enough.