What is the secret to a good marriage or relationship? In a time when 50% of marriages fail, it looks like we need some help.
Funny how a lot of people who have never been married claim to know what makes a good marriage. Or worse, they carry a string of broken relationships with them wherever they go.
I had a friend who used to give me relationship advice. He once told me these fateful words:
The best thing about being married is not having to plan a wedding.
Unsurprisingly, his marriage ended a few months later.
I’ve been married for eight years now and last year I reflected on what I’d learned in those years. It’s been a roller coaster and now, expecting another daughter, it’s only going to get wilder.
But these weeks have given me time to reflect again on eight years with the same woman and has led me to write this post. In case you were wondering about the title, the explanation is coming right up…
The Caged Lion in the House
Over the course of my short life, I’ve done some pretty wild stuff. I have a vein of adventurous and risk taking that can rarely be satisfied. When I’m not on my next adventure, I’m planning it.
But what about all those men who are on a short leash at home. They need to get a ‘late pass’ just to have drinks with the boys. Hobbies are out of the question as tradition dictates they must spend every waking minute possible with their wives. Is that any way to live?
Not so long ago, I asked my wife how she felt about my adventurousness and tendency to go off and do crazy things without her. I wasn’t prepared for her response:
It’s simple, honey. No one wants a caged lion in their house.
I was bowled over by the simplicity of this idea – that a man who is prevented from expressing himself is like a caged animal. A tethered animal can never run free and wilde, can never feel the wind rush and the adrenaline burn. If you are shackled and in chains, will you ever know the open boundlessness of life’s possibilities?
Imagine if we treated our sons in the same way, harnessing them and preventing them from fully expressing their male energy and identity.
We’d soon create a powder keg of emotions that would be difficult to control. Or a desperate young man reduced to playing violent computer games in between bouts of hardcore internet pornography (hint: this is already happening).
Uncage Your Lion
When I started writing this post, I actually had women in mind. I know women read this website – some even claim to enjoy it. So if you’re a woman and a wife, this bit is for you:
Don’t cage your lion or lion cubs. Masculinity (what I call male energy and identity) must be expressed. The repression of male-ness and a man’s identity is one of the causes of the societal breakdown we see around us:
A lost generation of boys
The rise of mad-cap 3rd wave feminism.
If your lions are caged, you’re contributing to this. Let them run free.
And if you are a man, be brave. Every voice from culture and media is telling you to repress yourself – that male energy and your desire to run, fight, win and lead is toxic and a threat.
They want to tame your sons into little pathetic kittens. Only you have the mandate to overcome and overpower this pervasive theology.
Do what has to be done, fight back and express who you really are – for your sake, your sons’ and the sake of your marriage.
P.S. My new book ‘A Father’s Mission’ is out soon. Sign up here for updates.