Recently Zerrin and I spent some very rich time with some good friends. As we conversed, the husband began to share he felt as though his life no longer had purpose. We talked about challenges they faced, the season of life they were in, and questions about God. I wanted to encourage my brother, but experienced a growing frustration inside of me because nothing I said seemed to have any impact.
Then something happened that came out of no where. Torrents of emotions were stirred in me and I began to weep! Through my tears I managed to tell him how much of a difference he has made in my life and how much I need him and how difficult it would be to go on in life if I knew that he wasn’t still running the race as I am.
Then, in the midst of my tears, I found myself wondering what my friends and my wife were thinking about me as I was crying. Was it OK? Or did they see me as weak?
Is Crying A Sign Of Weakness?
Most men have the same questions about feeling emotions that might stir them to tears. Is it OK? Is it a sign of weakness or strength?
While growing up most boys are generally discouraged from showing their feelings. They are even shamed when doing so. This often translates into men who grow up with a lack of emotional awareness and deficit of it’s accompanying vocabulary. They have difficulty naming their feelings, let alone talking about them. Letting emotions be exposed is even more difficult.
4 Reasons Emotions Are Good For Men
In spite of our experience as men, here are 4 reasons why it is not only OK for men to feel, but why it is a good thing:
1. It is OK to feel because God made us emotional beings.
We don’t just think. Emotions are just as much a real part of who we are. Jesus Himself felt stressed, alone, anger, and great sadness. On at least two occasions, the Bible says He wept.
2. We acknowledge our feelings because we want to be people of integrity.
If emotions are a part of who we are, then we must learn to be real with them. I am not saying be controlled by them, but we must learn to be honest about them with ourselves and with others at times, like our wife.
3. We allow ourselves to feel because it puts us in touch with our humanity.
Though we as men might have gotten the message that we are supposed to be superhuman and not feel, it isn’t true. We have hearts that can be hurt–and often are–but we hide the hurt from others, even those who care about us the most. More often than not, that hinders intimacy.
4. When we feel, it makes us aware of our vulnerability.
Showing or talking about our emotions with our wife sends the message that we want and need her. Being honest about that need, not in a weak or cowardly manner, but in a sincere effort to be real and vulnerable creates the opportunity for a deeper connection.
Our western culture prompts each of us to wave the flag of independence, declaring we don’t need any one. But deep down inside, doubts persist of our abilities to handle life on our own. A nagging loneliness pushes us to find avenues to escape. Try as we might, we weren’t made to go it alone. We were made for relationships.
Was I Weak? My Wife’s Answer:
Interestingly enough, the turning point in the conversation with our friends was when I began to weep. It wasn’t at all planned. It was very real, and me being very vulnerable. Through my tears, love was expressed. It wasn’t long before all four of us were in tears as we grew more deeply in touch with how much we needed and appreciated each other. It was a wonderful experience of rich community and our relationship with each other grew even stronger.
Watch this video to hear more and learn how my wife reacted.
How do you react to what I wrote above?