It’s only natural that when we enter our college years we desire a companion. As we start we don’t really know what we’re looking for or even how to find them. Often we just want to be able to relax and have a good time. Yet, eventually, we will wish we could find someone with whom we could spend the rest of our lives, or at least have a decent relationship.
However, it is far too often that I hear young women complain that they aren’t sure if they guy they are with is the right one. Or if he is just playing them or being the “dog” that all men supposedly are. It would be too cliché to say that not all men are dogs. I feel the problem is a little more subtle than that.I believe that most men aren’t actually men.
We no longer live in the 1950s. The nuclear family isn’t dead but it is a rare breed these days. And at the risk of making a nuanced problem seem simple, men have simply not been taught how to “man up.” Men no longer have multiple examples to look at that affirm their masculinity. I believe it is hurting our culture in ways we have not yet noticed.
There have been many other articles that have tried to address this issue of the “Modern man.” I believe that in order to address this issue we must first define terms. So below is a list of five qualities that define a good man.
The number one trait that defines a man is responsibility. Now, this does not mean that the man never screws up, or makes mistakes. This trait is also not defined by how busy he is or how many jobs/extracurriculars he works on. This is not simply how he handles responsibility but also how he takes responsibility.
Handling responsibility is of utmost importance. Can the man apologize when he makes a mistake? Can he identify his mistake and learn from it? Will he allow people to blame him when all hell breaks loose and not make excuses?
You may have never realized how annoying people are when they act this way, but it is especially annoying in a man who is claiming he’s ready for a real relationship.You want a man who will do his part, and not make excuses when things go wrong.This leads into number 2.
2) LEVEL HEADED/HANDLES EMOTIONS
Level Headedness is greatly valued in our society.However, sometimes a man can simply be closed off or stoic and be mistaken for even tempered.Being able to keep your cool under pressure is great but it’s also important to know when to express your emotions.
Men have been taught that we need to put on this always strong, never going to cry façade.It’s time that we as men take responsibility for this and break down the wall.It is okay to cry. It is okay to share your emotions especially with the girl you hope to spend the rest of your life with. It is also just as important to know that you don’t need to emote everything all at once. Sharing feelings is a long process and is part of the beauty of a good long-term relationship. It will take years. I just want men to know that it doesn’t make you less of a man to have emotions. Just know how and when to share them.
I also want to stress the importance of being level-headed. It is important for a man to be able to keep his emotions in check and not over-react to situations. When a problem arises we need to be able to think on it first and react second. So remember to use your emotions, but also know when to keep them under your self-control.
I recommend finding a good group of guys to hang out with regularly and talk about life. These types of friendships are hard to find but incredibly worth it. And that leads me to number 3.
A good man is committed and loyal. This doesn’t mean that he is committed to every girl he dates. That is simply and unfair thing to ask of anyone. But he is committed to life and the pursuit of his own dreams. He should also be committed to his family, and his friends.
Ladies this is very important.If a man doesn’t treat his mother well he will not treat you well. It simply won’t happen. Even if his mother is an abusive monster if he is full of disrespect and anger towards her it will come out in his relationship with you. (Return to number 2 and get your emotions in check)
Also, a man who has friends is clearly friendly. If a man doesn’t have friends this should be a red flag. It can cause his life to be defined by his partner instead of by himself. How a man interacts with other guys can tell you a lot about him. It will tell you if he is even able to have real relationships or if every move he makes is superficial. If a man doesn’t have friends or is willing to drop them quickly for his next fling that is not a man who is loyal or ready for commitment.
Men have a natural protection instinct. He wants to protect you but he also wants to protect himself. A man should be willing to fight for what is important to him. This doesn’t mean he has to throw down with every obstacle but he should have defined values that are important to him.
Friendship is one of these things that a man should fight for. If he’s not willing to defend his friends to you, is he willing to defend you to his friends? He should not allow his friends to talk negatively about his girlfriend.
Many times today a man will have to defend his right to defend other people. We are often so individualistic that we think everyone should be able to make it on their own. A good man knows when someone is weaker or in need and rises to the occasion to defend those who cannot defend themselves. (This is not a sexist thing, there are plenty of other men to defend as well.)
5) WILD AND FREE
Finally, the hardest character trait is this.A man needs to be free.He needs to be allowed to be himself without judgement.So, he leaves the toilet seat up from time to time is that a crime?He may need to do something crazy every now and then that you may not understand.Let him do it.
If a man can be controlled is he really a man anymore or merely a shell of a man? For more on the topic of a man being wild and free I recommend the book "Wild and Heart" by John Eldredge. He has some incredible insights into the soul of the man.
So, these are my 5 qualities that define a good man.Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Next Week: I will talk more about manhood in the modern world.Most likely getting deeper on the topic of men and handling their emotions.And coming soon the answer to the question of where have all the good men gone?