It’s incredibly easy for men to be misled these days about how they should live their lives, including when it comes to emotional health. Culture wants to erase the differences between men and women; they want men to lose their masculinity and become more feminine.
But you don’t have to reject your masculinity to be emotionally healthy. Contrary to the public opinion of our age, being more feminine is not equal to being emotionally healthier. You can be a biblical man and still handle your emotions in a wise, balanced, and mature way.
This is not going to be an exhaustive list of everything a man can do to be emotionally healthy. Emotional and mental health is going to be an ongoing theme I talk about on the AGW for Men YouTube Channel, so if you want to continue to learn more about this topic, make sure you are subscribed.
Here are 4 important ways a Christian man can be emotionally healthy without losing his man card.
1. Only Talk About Your Problems When You Are Prepared to Find Solutions
The Bible commands us to not complain (Philippians 2:14); but it also commands us to share our burdens with others (Galatians 6:2) and seek counsel from others (Proverbs 15:22).
What’s the difference between complaining and seeking counsel?
Perhaps we can tell we are complaining when we speak through the nose and wave our hands in flamboyant ways. But all joking aside, it really comes down to the reason for why you are talking about how you feel.
Complaining and seeking counsel might look exactly the same at the beginning of the conversation. But you will really see the difference as you keep traveling down the road you are on as you share your feelings. The difference comes down to what you do once you talk about how you feel.
Are you dwelling on the problem to truly seek a solution? Is your motive rooted in complaining, gossip, and self-righteousness? Or is your goal for voicing your feelings rooted in a desire to manage your emotions, change your negative feelings, and to solve the issue?
Sometimes after talking about your feelings you will realize there is no action to take and you just need to accept the situation for what it is. That’s good too. At other times the person you are talking to will help you find a solution. And sometimes, just by verbalizing your issue you will discover your own solution. This type of thing is very healthy to do as a person, including for men.
But never talk about your feelings just to complain. That makes you look weak and feel weak. It also magnifies your problem. The more you talk about an issue without trying to solve it, the worse the problem will feel.
Therefore, to be emotionally healthy as a man, only talk about your problems when you know you are in a place where you actually are prepared to solve this issue rather than just grumble about it.
2. Watch Your Motives When You Publicly Show Emotions
In previous generations, men could gain social points by not expressing their feelings. The more stoic and emotionally dead a man seemed, the more respect he was given. Men who talked about their feelings were ridiculed and feminized in an unfair way.
But that’s not the issue at this point in time. After a few generations of working on men to reject the unhealthy practice of never sharing their feelings, now things have gone too far in the opposite direction. Now men can get social points by crying on social media for the world to see, constantly talking about their emotions, and becoming outraged on behalf of the newest victim class society is currently idolizing.
So, as a Christian man seeking to be emotionally healthy, it really comes down to your motives for why you are publicly sharing your emotions. Each guy is wired a little different. Some guys truly are more emotional than other guys and that’s fine. Some guys need to talk about their feelings more than other men commonly do. And that’s okay.
What’s not okay for us as Christian men is to do what we know will give us social points. If you’re just acting a certain way because you want public pity, attention, or access to rewards you haven’t earned, then this is unhealthy. Repent and seek to honor the Lord through being honest and true.
As Jesus warned, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
3. Be Honest with the Woman in Your Life, But Don’t Be Whiny or Needy
Sharing your emotions in a wise way that doesn’t compromise your masculinity comes to a head at the intersection of “man talks to woman.”
A woman wants to know what her man is going through. She will say she wants a man in touch with his emotions. But many men interpret this to mean that she wants him to be a whiner who needs her to be his comforting mommy or his psychologist. This leads to her losing respect for you.
The key to being emotionally healthy with a woman is to be honest about your feelings without stumbling into pointless conversations that don’t result in anything positive. You don’t need to constantly give her internal updates about every passing emotion you experience. So before you start sharing your feelings, ask yourself, “Is there a point to this? Or am I just being weak and whiney?”
Share things she needs to know. If you’re having problems at work that are affecting you after work, let her know what’s going on so she understands your mood. But if you just come home every day and want to emotionally dump your mess on her, she will grow tired of this and see you as a weak man. Help her understand you. But don’t depend on her to be your emotional stability. She can help with that. But ultimately you need to be emotionally stable in the Lord, not in a woman.
So be honest with the woman in your life but don’t overshare or complain. She is your companion, not your counselor, mom, or mentor.
1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
If she sees you as the weaker vessel, your relationship isn’t going to be healthy.
4. Accept the Seasons Without Trying to Force Every Season to Be the Same
From a psychological viewpoint, perhaps the two most important words when it comes to emotional and mental health are “acceptance and change.”
Every issue eventually comes back to knowing which solution is needed, acceptance or change. In life, as a man, you will go through different seasons. Sometimes work will be great and other times it will be a grind. Sometimes friendships will be easy and at other times they will be annoying. Sometimes the woman in your life will make sense to you at other times she will be mysterious.
As a man, change what you can. Find solutions and be wise. But also remember there will be times to just accept things for what they are. When you can’t accept something, you become a whiner. You look weak because instead of enduring what can’t be changed, you just cry your way through it and lose your man card in the process.
As 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”