How “Confidence” Can Ruin Your Marriage . . .

Take the time, if you are so inclined, to peruse the Internet, and put to use our newest action verb, “Google It.” The “it” would be a term that most of us probably think we have safely in hand. But to look through the archives of many who have spoken of this particular dynamic over the years, will tell you, if you are honest, that there may be much, much more to the guts behind the concept of our word for today – Confidence. Truthfully, if you’ll actually take a few minutes to do this, the point of this entry will, I think, be proven without much question at all.

Confidence, although direct in its definition, can paint a very inaccurate picture in real life.

Women, they say, love a confident man. But confident in what? Most of us probably, have a healthy level of confidence in at least something. Some are confident in their looks, others in their professional skills. Many are confident that they are financially independent, while others are confident that they will never reach their ultimate monetary goals. Some men are confident in their masculinity, some not so much. And a multitude of men are confident in their relationship with Christ, while a great number of the male population are confident in their belief that there is a God, and think that is quite enough.

Wherever a man’s confidence lies, the true indicator of ultimate confidence comes in how we view ourselves as a person. Because if that confidence is grounded in realness, It is the truth. Not just what we want to believe about ourselves, and moreover what we want others to believe about us.

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Nelson Mandela, in his 1994 inaugural speech, said the following regarding the concept of confidence:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Is that quote a head-turner for you? It was for me. But when our air of confidence is not really rooted, but put on, the rubber really never meets the road. Our money is rarely put where our mouth is, and the person that knows that the best is the one that knows us the best – our wives.

Do you think we can, as men, “pretend” to be confident around others, yet fool them?

If you answered “yes” to that question, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.

Here’s why. Across humanity, those that exude the greatest amount of confidence, are frequently those that possess the greatest amount of fear. Remember the school-yard bully in the 4th grade? He was probably bigger, stronger, louder, and meaner than anyone else in the yard.

And at the same time, the most fearful . . .

As a matter of fact, the “things” he picked on others about, were the very things he feared the most about himself.

Did he want to make you feel weak? Self-conscious about your body or body image? To feel badly about the Rustlers that you wore instead of name brand jeans? To point out that you lived in an apartment or mobile home instead of a house of bricks?

schoolyard_bully

Yes, and more.

And the ugly truth about that bully?

He himself feared physical weakness; his own body image; that he would not be the best dressed; and that his family might not always be highly regarded because of where they lived.

Appearing to be confident in areas of our marriages when in fact we are more fearful than anything can result in a lot of “marital game-playing,” that is always destructive, and never productive. Our wives know. That’s it. They just know. When the public persona we “put on” when we walk out the door is not consistent with who we really are, they become keenly aware of the inconsistency, and will often see it as weakness rather than strength.

So while we are strutting our stuff, they are actually pitying us. One of the biggest factors in this “game,” is that eventually, as a simple human dynamic, these weaknesses or perceived weaknesses will be used against us. This is not a criticism of women or wives! In fact, if the tables are turned, men will do the same when they see the need for leverage during almost any type of marital conflict.

A brief example: Mary frequently observes as her husband engages with confidence and concern when couples in their social circles are struggling in their marriages. He makes it a point to go out of his way to meet with the other husband so he can encourage him, pray with him, and give him the opportunity for accountability.

At home however, Mary’s husband seldom, if ever – offers relational encouragement, goes out of his way to right a wrong, or considers prayer with his wife to be something of value or necessity.

It’s that simple. We as men will do our thing with confidence outside the home, while literally shutting down while in it.

Does this ring true for any of you? Have you seen these tendencies or patterns in your own marriage? 

And for the rest of us, how have you gone about making them better?

Are ya’ real enough to share them in a comment?

Don’t forget, we all need each other. And being “REAL” enough to admit our struggles and challenges is a part of our journey.

And, as always . . .

FINISH WELL!

 

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About Kyle Hargrove

There's really not much that's all that special about me . . . It was probably about a decade ago when I realized that "in all its glory." At about that time some of life's recent experiences taught me that regardless of who or what anyone ELSE is, and regardless of how much I may have built MYSELF up, I'm just one life circumstance from being just like anyone else. Although my pride took a ding in the process, it was ultimately a positive and humbling experience that gave my life a different direction altogether. I'm a pretty ordinary husband and father . . . Of course, ordinary comes in lots of shapes and colors. My wife Debbi and I have been married since 2000, and both of us had been previously married. She is a school administrator and has a work ethic that has been passed down generationally - usually leaves home in the dark, and for at least half the year, comes home in the dark too. We're praying that as our kids get through college, she can retire and fulfill some of her most intimate dreams. Debbi and I have five children (Adam, Cameron, Callye, Caleb, and Brandon), one grandson (William), one son-in-law (J.R.), somewhere around five "adopted kids," (not officially but in our hearts), and four dogs (Symon, Sombra, Sophie, and Duke). I often say that I love my kids and love my dogs, but there have been days that I liked my dogs more than my kids. That is of course, suggested in jest . . . mostly :) One of our sons has completed college, and the other four kids are still finding their way through that maze. We love Auburn University (Debbi's alma mater), and Texas A&M University (doesn't everyone?) It took a long time for me to understand my job . . . Professionally, I've had the opportunity to experience some fairly diverse "job titles." I came up as a burgeoning sports journalist, switched to church staff ministry, returned to school to earn two masters degrees, entered the world of private practice, experienced the world of corporate training, founded a Christ-centered residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, and enjoyed some more private practice. Oh, on top of that, I have enjoyed the thrill of becoming a teaching chef in my spare time. All of that took a lot of learning, understanding, and energy. But in 2003 through the benefit of Fellowship of the Sword, a ministry out of Fort Worth, Texas, God showed me what my real job was, and for the first time ever, I really, really "got it." He showed me that my real purpose in this life was to first serve Him, and in the outflow of that, to serve my wife, serve my children, and serve anyone else, anywhere else, who exhibited any need, whatsoever. For a very egocentric person, learning to serve is initially kind of hard. But as the blessings start to roll in, it becomes a joyous lifestyle. It's not always easy. I'm not always successful (I'm still kind of selfish). But it is one of the highest privileges I enjoy - the calling from God - to serve people - just like He did. If we're going to develop the character of Jesus, we had better get serving - the sooner the better. Cooking, singing, golfing, reading, speaking, teaching, and writing . . . Those are a few of my favorite pastimes outside of "work." I try to not let those things define who I am, but sometimes the golf thing gets in the way a little bit. And I'm really not that good. But I value my recreation and free time. I love being around people, and meet very few "strangers," but need "me time" too. I prefer outdoors to indoors, cool weather to hot weather, mountains to the beach, and being active to sitting still. I have traveled the world, and want to find new places, and visit the previous ones again. You could say I was born with a sense of wanderlust. I want to encourage you . . . This blog may have themes but the desire to write it, and the commitment to maintain it is about one thing more than any other. If through the blog, you can be encouraged, recharged, reminded, uplifted, motivated, or if you can just relate to something you read, I will sleep well and know that God has used something - as benign as it may seem on the surface, to help you move forward in understanding who you are, and what your purpose ultimately is. Life was intended to be dynamic - not static. One of my good friends Ricky Bobby once said, "If you ain't first, you're last." Although there may be some detractors to the actual truth (or benefit) of that statement, don't you want to live your life progressing? I don't want to sit around and wish I was getting better at what I do, or who I am. I was born to pursue - to improve - to invent - to move forward. When it's all said and done, I'd like to know that I ran after God, rather than for Him to have had to run after me. We'll all be challenged . . . Writing is sometimes as much about me as it is about you. My "bag of tricks" comes as much from my own experiences as it does anything I've learned from a textbook. I don't know about you (actually I do but certainly can't speak for you), but the things I have learned in this life have typically come from challenging circumstances, mistakes I've chosen to make, mistakes I've unintentionally made, places I shouldn't have been, and a myriad of other mostly-painful experiences. I think we're a lot alike. And I think we're about to find out. As always my friends . . . FINISH WELL!

Posted on April 21, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I remember that bully on the playground for I was her victim. It seemed like anything I said or tried did not work. Then one day, within a blink of an eye, I slammed a good left hand pop in the bridge of her nose. She cried like a baby, but she never bothered me or anyone else again. I guess she learned that even the “weakest” person has their limits.

    There is different kinds of bullying and at different levels; but no matter which you slice it, it still comes out the same way, someone making it their business to destroy one’s self-esteem while facedly building their own. The bullying continues because it doesn’t bring true self-esteem within them. It almost becomes addictive until someone like me comes a long and pops them right smack in the middle of their bullying. It is not always the solution; but left with no other options it becomes the only solution.

    Family members try to “bully” us into thinking that the decisions we make are wrong or not according to their beliefs, or because there is something that they will gain if we change our mind and follow their advice. Sometimes they don’t know when to mind their own business. They would rather focus on your backyard and your problems then to have to deal with their own fears and challenges.

    Husbands and wives bullying each other into doing something they might not want to do because they think it will make the person happy. True confidence is not built externally. It is something that comes from within through trying, failing, trying, succeeding encouraging and even some praise. Do affirmations help? Yes. It is our moral responsibility and obligation to build people up, whether that building is our spouse or just the neighbor down the street. Society grids on our confidence like a scratch on the blackboard. We all have to find ways around a society that wants to shake our confidence down to the core, beat it up, abuse it, and ring it out, until we are left dry and the life has been sucked out of us.

    I had to regroup these past couple of days because I just experienced a “bully” experience within my own extended family. I needed someone to tell me that I am a good person and a good parent. (Thanks, Kyle). I needed my husband to back me up, which he did, and let me know that I am a good person, a good mom, and a good wife. But more importantly, I had to come to grips with myself and not let someone take away the confidence I worked on building up inside of me. Even more importantly I had to ask God to help me. With all this in my corner, my regrouping took less time. I am not 100% where I would like to be; however, I am not beating myself up. I am even starting to laugh about it. I guess that is real confidence.

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