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Posts Tagged ‘Men’

Health Lessons Men Can Learn From Women

Read more: http://www.webmd.com/men/ss/slideshow-men-learn-women?ecd=wnl_men_041516&ctr=wnl-men-041516_nsl-prmd_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Men owe a lot

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 (NKJV)

According to Lucy Maher, of CNBC,[i] men are one-third more likely to bring debt into a new relationship.  When you take into account all the wedding planning, and the honeymoon to follow, soon-to-be-wedded couples would be wise to set aside time to go over their spending habits and individual debt levels before they walk down the aisle.  According to Maher, 42 percent of adult men reported bringing credit card debt to their relationships, but only 29 percent of women did.  The average amount of credit card debt adults reported bringing into their relationships is about $4,100.

Talking about finances may not be as exciting as talking about the wedding service, the reception, or the honeymoon, but it is a very smart and important one.  Thirty-five percent of couples, who at least partially combine finances, brought credit card debt into their relationships, and that is particularly the case for 45 percent of millennial adults.  In fact, for millennials, the average debt load is not limited to credit card use. Thirty-eight percent of millennials bring auto loan debt, 36 percent bring student loan debt, and 27 percent bring medical debt into their relationships.

The obvious concern is that twenty-five percent of couples with at least one partner bringing credit card debt to the relationship said that it had a negative effect, sixteen percent said they weren’t able to buy a home or go on vacation, and five percent said it almost caused them to separate.

Taking this into consideration, couples should start by reviewing their credit reports individually and to share each other’s financial condition before entering married life together.  If they choose to proceed with their plans, their first priority should be a plan to pay down their debts.  This can be done by developing a realistic budget and strictly abiding by it. Keep it front of you so you don’t forget what you’re trying to accomplish which is to prevent you from adding on more debt.

Father God, help me to talk openly and honestly about our finances before entering into a marital relationship.

[i] http://www.today.com/money/men-one-third-more-likely-bring-debt-relationship-t28896?cid=eml_tes_20150628

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O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, Lovely as Jerusalem, Awesome as an army with banners! Song of Songs 6:4 (NKJV)

  1. Bradford Wilcox, who directs the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, wrote in an article[i] in The Washington Post about some of the ways marriage appears to transform men’s approach to work and the way employers treat them.
  2. After marrying, men assume a new identity. As Wilcox writes, “Marriage is one of the last ‘rite[s] of passage into manhood’ remaining in our society, argues sociologist Steven Nock in Marriage in Men’s Lives.” Marriage engenders an ethic of responsibility for his family, as well as a new-found sense of meaning and status in the world. Marriage also encourages men to take their role as providers seriously.
  3. Married men are motivated to maximize their income. Many married men have a different orientation toward work; they work more hours, and make more strategic work choices. Studies find that men increase their work hours after marrying and reduce their hours after divorcing. It’s also why married men are less likely to quit a current job without finding a new job, and they are also less likely to be fired than their single peers.
  4. Married men benefit from the advice and encouragement of their wives. One study appears to support this point, finding that men with better-educated wives earn more, even after controlling for their own education.
  5. Employers like married men with children. Married men are often seen as more responsible and dedicated workers and are rewarded with more opportunities by employers.

Obviously, we would not suggest a man get married simply because of the financial benefits that marriage brings.  At the same time, we would suggest a man enter marriage carefully and consider divorce even more carefully as the benefits or the results can have long-lasting consequences to him and his family.

Father God, bless me and make me a good husband.  The benefits will be seen in a better home, healthier family, and happier children.

[i] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/04/02/dont-be-a-bachelor-why-married-men-work-harder-and-smarter-and-make-more-money/?postshare=9791427975978392

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How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes Than all spices! Song of Songs 4:10 (NKJV)

An article by W. Bradford Wilcox, and which appeared in The Washington Post,[i] confirms that marriage has a transformative effect on adult behavior, emotional health, and financial well-being—particularly for men, while parenthood is more transformative for women.  According to Wilcox, men who get married work harder and more strategically, and earn more money than their single peers from similar backgrounds.  At the same time, marriage also transforms men’s social worlds, they spend less time with friends and more time with family, and they also go to bars less and to church more.

Wilcox’ research, which was featured in a recent report, “For Richer, For Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America,” indicates that men who are married work about 400 hours more per year  than their single peers with equivalent backgrounds. They also work more strategically.  He cites one Harvard study which found that married men were much less likely than their single peers to quit their current job unless they had lined up another job.  The result is a substantial marriage premium for men.  As Wilcox explains, on average, young married men, aged 28-30, make $15,900 more than their single peers, and married men aged 44-46 make $18,800 more than their single peers.   Wilcox adds that this even after controlling for differences in education, race, ethnicity, regional unemployment, and scores on a test of general knowledge and that it happens for black, Hispanic, and less-educated men in much the same way as it does for men in general.

One study showed gains at work when men are married compared to when the same men were not married and another study of twins found that married twins earned 26 percent more than their identical twins who were not married.  The question is, what makes married men different; what changes them?  Tomorrow we will look at four areas suggested by Wilcox.

Father God, help us to value our marriage for all the benefits it brings emotionally, physically, economically, and above all spiritually.

[i] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/04/02/dont-be-a-bachelor-why-married-men-work-harder-and-smarter-and-make-more-money/?postshare=9791427975978392

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When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up. Psalm 94:19 (MSG)

Martin E.P. Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania professor, writes in his book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being,[i] that people thrive by discovering what makes life worth living. Seligman discusses his concept of PERMA, the acronym that stands for the five crucial elements of well-being. As he explains, “People who have the most positive emotion, the most engagement, and the most meaning in life are the happiest, and they have the most life satisfaction.”  Following are the five crucial elements of well-being, as described by Selligman:

Positive emotion: These feelings contribute to the “pleasant life.” They include pleasure, warmth, comfort, rapture, and ecstasy.

Engagement: During an engaging activity, people lose self-consciousness and go into a state of flow.  As Selligman puts it, “Time stops for you and you’re one with the music.”

Relationships: In short, other people matter. We’re social “hive creatures,” he says. When individuals reach their highest emotional states, they’re almost always in the company of others, whether they’re laughing uproariously or gathering to mark a milestone moment.

Meaning:  Selligman writes that everyone yearns for a “meaningful life” that involves “belonging to and serving something that you believe is bigger than you are.”

Accomplishment: Reaching one’s goals contributes strongly to a sense of well-being.

We refer to permafrost s a thick subsurface layer of soil that remains frozen throughout the year, and which mainly occurs in polar regions.  In order to maintain good psychological health, we need this PERMA, a thick layer of positive emotions, staying engaged with others, invest in positive relationships, find meaning to your life, and set goals that will leave a legacy for the benefit of others.  As Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Father God, may meaning and accomplishment in my life come as a result of serving you and loving and serving others.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/men/features/emotionally-healthy-man?page=4

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Emotionally healthy men

We looked for peace, but no good came; And for a time of health, and there was trouble! Jeremiah 8:15 (NKJV)

George Vaillant, a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School, wrote in his recently published book Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study[i] about the insights gained from the study which began in 1938, and translates them into life lessons.  It is interesting to note that several of the men tracked since 1938 are now in their 80’s and 90’s, which provides the researchers with a long span and a good number of men to study.  The following are three key insights Vaillant discovered about how men can live mentally healthy and emotionally rewarding lives.

  1. Mentally healthy men use mature coping methods to deal with adversity. Mentally healthy men in the study showed an ability to take life’s hardship and turn it into an opportunity for growth. Vaillant identified several mature coping skills, including humor, or not taking oneself too seriously; anticipation, the ability to foresee future pain and prepare for it; stoicism, the ability to endure hardships; and altruism, a concern for others.
  2. Mentally healthy men avoid abusing alcohol. In tracking the Harvard men for a lifetime, researchers found that alcoholism was the top reason for marriages breaking up. As Vaillant explains, “Fifty-seven percent of all the divorces in the Grant Study involved alcoholism.” Contrary to popular belief, men didn’t turn to drink after they lost their jobs or their spouses walked out. Instead, Vaillant discovered, alcoholism usually came first, leading to job trouble, bankruptcy, legal problems, or marital rifts.
  3. Mentally healthy men create loving relationships. Vaillant’s study found that strong connections to others formed a foundation for mental health. Developing and cultivating healthy friendships and loving relationships helps us to invest in other people’s lives which in the long run benefits us. We reap the dividends in the same measure that we invest in others.

Being selfish, egotistical, self-absorbed does not lead to either health or happiness.

Father, help to invest in the lives of others for their and my own sake.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/men/features/emotionally-healthy-man?ecd=wnl_men_041115&ctr=wnl-men-041115_nsl-promo_4&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Masculinity today?

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.” Genesis 1:26 (MSG)

 

David Gilmore, a professor of anthropology at Stony Brook University, Long Island, New York[i], writes that it’s important to distinguish between “manliness” and “machismo.  As he explains, the former relates to “codes of honor, and the latter to boastful, intimidating, and sometimes crueler ideologies.”

After exhaustive cross-cultural research, Gilmore concluded that manhood codes everywhere have three things in common. First, all promote an attitude of protectiveness towards dependents, such as women and children. Second, they emphasize productivity, that is, providing for the needs of the home. And third, procreating: to produce children by being sexually competent.  Though all could become problematic, in themselves, protection, provision, and procreation are not necessarily bad things.

Gilmore also explains that some of us need to defend the group, to produce economically, to provide for others in a material sense.  Historically, he adds, “males have been given these ‘heroic’ jobs, and women assigned to domestic care and childrearing.”  Men hunted and beat back enemies, thus keeping society going, and in an indirect way they were nurturers if by nurturing we mean helping people survive and flourish.

At the same time, Gilmore concludes that many male codes, although not all, also have an ugly side. Manliness, can and has been corrupted or distorted by fanatics into machismo.  Machismo appears when men follow a rigid code of aggression and domination which results in the dark side of masculinity: brutality, misogyny, insincerity, and disrespect for others.

When God created man, in His image, He wanted man to be caring, nurturing, loving, protective, self-sacrificing.  When sin entered humanity, God’s image in man became corrupted and man became self-centered, competitive, aggressive, and even abusive.  But it is God’s plan to restore in man His image, if we let Him.

 

Father God, restore in me your image so that as a man I may reflect you in a better light, especially to those closest to me.

[i] http://family-studies.org/the-future-of-manliness/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=2a9c99d99a-Newsletter_17_small_list_1_23_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-2a9c99d99a-104541745

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