“Brokenness is not manly.” – A lie
Our culture has a lot of conflicting ideas about how men should do relationships. Marriage, sex, and fatherhood in particular. Conservatives have a few ideas and liberals have different ideas. Religious people have a few ideas and nonreligious people have different ideas. Sports culture has ideas. Military culture has ideas. Business culture, blue-collar culture… they all have different ideas about what it means to be a man and how men should function in relationships. Every sub-culture in our culture claims to have “the key” to manhood and relationships. They all have keys. But not all those keys unlock doors you’d want to walk through.
This leaves men feeling confused. Maybe even lied to. Lied to about who you’re supposed to be as a man… as a husband… as a father… as a citizen. When you feel confused and lied to, you end up stuck in a place of powerlessness.
Empowering men is not about an overreaction to feminism. It is about helping men clear away the clutter and figure out the truth they can take action on. It is not a claim that I have the key. It is helping you find the keys to the doors you want to walk through. In your marriage… parenting… work… and community.
Being empowered as a man doesn’t fix everything because it is not a destination. It’s a journey. When you don’t have to be fixed, it becomes okay to be broken. It becomes okay to be a work in progress. You might not look stronger, but you feel stronger. Brokenness is a position of strength, not weakness.
As you approach more of life from a position of brokenness, you come to know that you are not meant to do life alone. You gain support. Support brings confidence, and confidence brings yet more strength. “A chord of three strands is not easily broken” becomes more than a nice saying. It becomes something you’ve lived and felt in the support of other broken men. This is the Brotherhood of the Broken.
As you live in and experience brotherhood, bearing the Image of God becomes an experience. Brokenness, brotherhood, and image bearing ripples into other relationships. Your brokenness strengthens your marriage. Your brokenness strengthens your family. Your brokenness strengthens your community. If this sounds like blue sky, sunny day optimism, it’s not. It is painful. Brokenness is being able to “embrace the suck” without shameful thoughts or behaviors. Living in brokenness is a position of strength because in brokenness we do not avoid pain, we accept it.
By accepting pain, we become stronger. We do less harm to those we love. By living in brokenness, we grow closer to those we love.
Brokenness is a journey.
A broken man becomes kinder, wiser, and richer.
If you feel confused or lied to about manhood, marriage, parenting, sex, pornography, work, faith, good citizenship, then perhaps you are ready to start your journey.