IF you would say something like this,
“I go to work everyday, bring home my paycheck, spend time with my kids, take my wife out from time to time, go to church, help people when I can, don’t look at porn or get drunk, say ‘I love you’, and don’t even complain much”
when someone asks if you love your family.
You probably don’t know it, but you might be disconnected.
Disconnected men claim this or some similar variation on this list if you question their relationship credentials. This is a great list to them because they see relationships differently. Relationships are about doing things (or not doing the things they shouldn’t). If they are doing their duty toward everyone they know – then, they think, they are truly loving, truly relating. Would you agree with that conclusion?
If you are the spouse or child of a disconnected man who would describe himself like I did, you might not agree. You might see all those qualities as admirable, but none of them what you truly crave. Think about it. Spending time with kids doesn’t necessarily mean he makes them feel loved. Being told “I love you” or being taken out may feel to you like he’s doing his duty rather than truly connecting with you. Providing and going to church are basic expectations, not overwhelming expressions of love. Nonetheless, he counts on these things to prove that he is connected – a loving and relational man.
If you are a connected man, this list kind of disgusts you. It sounds like a clueless man being proud. Men like you, who are really relating to their wife, kids, and community, will present an entirely different set of credentials. You know what it’s like to feel close. You know that you can’t live without your wife and that your kids are precious. You couldn’t imagine going hours or days without sensing they are an intimate part of your existence. You even wonder if any man really believes he’s being loving if this description is how he defines his love. But the disconnected man doesn’t understand why you would feel this way.
Disconnected men are unaware that they are emotionally and relationally unavailable. They ‘do’ all the right things and that satisfies them. They have done their duty and that means that they have loved. Job done, hands dusted, on to the next thing.
If that sounds cold, it’s not. At least to the disconnected man. He doesn’t know there’s more. He doesn’t know he’s disappointing those he loves. He may be slightly proud, but he’s not trying to hurt anyone.
So what? Why do I care and why do I write about it?
I care because I was the guy who would have said the things I opened with. It was a very expensive belief. My marriage ended before I figured it out. I had to repair a lot of damage with my kids. And I had to learn a lot of hard lessons. I write about it with the hope that I might save someone else the pain. When I write, like in this post, I’m usually addressing one of three different people.
Wives of disconnected men. I write to you to let you know there’s hope. If you will stick with me, read my posts, my book, and my heart, you will discover ways to help your disconnected man. You have tremendous power if you can learn to use it without crushing him. Yes, I mean that. You may not think anything you could do would ever hurt him – don’t believe that. You could nearly destroy him if you wanted. But I think you’d rather have him be the man you’ve always dreamed of – wouldn’t you? Good. You have the power to partner with God and transform your man into the loving, gentle, intimate man you’ve always needed. Stay tuned throughout the year and we’ll explore how.
To the connected man. I write to you as a call to arms for your brothers. You know a man or several men who are disconnected. You can help. Learning about disconnection, how a disconnected man thinks, and how he needs to be challenged can prepare you to make a difference. You could be the voice that unlocks a heart that hasn’t been able to truly love his wife, kids, or community for a long time. You could be a great hero for a family that is quietly starving. Keep checking back for the information you’ll need.
Disconnected men. I write to you to help you realize that ‘doing’ is not enough. There’s more to loving than doing your duty. It’s your job to find out what you’re missing. If you really want to do your duty, you will take me seriously and learn everything you can – so you don’t end up like I did. Trust me on this – it’s not a good option. You won’t like it. (In case you didn’t pick up on that – I’m understating – it’s really emotional hell fire and every part of your soul will feel like it’s being scorched – is that picture intense enough?) You may not like to read but I encourage you to try. Visit here often and try to understand. Work on the things you find apply to you and watch what happens.
The invitation is open. I hope you’ll tell your friends they are welcomed here. If we can turn just one heart at a time and help families realize the fullness, closeness, and joy of real love we will have changed eternity. Join me in 2018 and let’s start connecting men in ways that reflect the endless, boundless love of Jesus!