This is the 3rd post in a series about how to build relationships that last. Please check out the other posts and let me know what you think.
In his movie Temptation, Tyler Perry sets up the two men in the main character’s life against each other – the man she’s married to and the other guy. Life with her husband is boring and predictable; the other guy is exciting and intriguing. Two scenes illustrate this contrast perfectly. The first scene shows the woman walking down a sidewalk with her husband. It’s night time and along the way they pass a group of men who heckle her. Visibly upset, she shouts back at them. Her husband hushes her and quickly gets them into the car. He insists that what’s more important is for them to avoid trouble, she’s angry that he didn’t defend her.
One of the things that the woman and the other dude have in common is that they take the same jogging route. One day a cyclist collides with her and the other dude goes crazy and starts beating on the cyclist. His reaction is obviously OTT but the look on her face tells you that she’s thinking, “Wow, he stood up for me when my man couldn’t.” Later we discover that he has some serious anger and violence issues but in that moment we agree with her completely – every woman wants a man who will fight for her.
Destiny’s Child said it right, “If his status ain’t hood, I ain’t checking for him, better be street if he looking at me. I need a soldier, who ain’t scared to stand up for me.” Not everyone wants a durag wearing gangster but every woman needs a man who will fight for her – it’s not just nice, it’s necessary. Once again, Abraham and Sarah’s less-than-perfect marriage has a powerful lesson that shows why. For this post, the question you need to ask is:
Is he a stand up guy?
In Genesis 8, Abraham and Sarah had to move to Egypt to escape the famine but there was one problem: Sarah was literally drop-dead gorgeous. In other words, she had the kind of beauty that men would kill her husband for. Abraham’s solution is, “Please say you’re my sister so it will go well for me because of you and my life will be spared on your account.” (Genesis 12:13) His ingenious plan worked, Sarah was taken into Pharaoh’s house and Abraham received livestock and slaves as a reward for his ‘sister’.
I’m not going to an armchair critic and judge Abraham’s and Sarah’s motives; apparently what they were facing was a life and death situation. It’s hard to believe that Sarah could agree to such a crazy plan but she did it not once, but twice! In both of these instances we see God doing what her man was supposed to do: standing up for Sarah. In Genesis 12 God sends severe plagues on Pharaoh’s household. The second time around God speaks to King Abimelech in a dream saying, “You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she is a married woman.” (Genesis 20:3) High-five God!
One thing is clear: Abraham did not have the guts to risk his life standing up for his wife.
You will probably never face a situation where you need your man to risk his life standing up for you but God says the kind of man that he has in mind for you is one who looks a lot like Jesus:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her… In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” Ephesians 5: 25, 28
Practically, what does this look like?
Like I said in the previous post You Need To Check Your Man there is no such thing as the perfect man. But men who are working towards becoming men of character are easy to recognise. Here’s an example: after an event that ended really late at night one of my guy friends offered to walk every unaccompanied woman home. He arrived home well after midnight but insisted that our safety was more important. That’s a stand up kind of guy!
If the man you are in a relationship with can’t come up with the words to ask you out officially, you guys need to have the DTR conversation. And after that, if he still can’t find the courage to commit, cut him loose. I’m not saying that he’s a bad person; I’m saying that he’s not the man you want if you’re looking to build something that lasts.
If you are building with a man that you know will have your back no matter what, then you are building your relationship to last. A man of character is secondly, someone who has the character of Christ in that he is willing to lay down his life for those he loves. He has the courage to sacrifice himself for others because he understands that this is what real love is.
What does a stand up kind of guy look like and does your man fit that description?
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