Why Men Struggle With The L Word

Last week I wrote about how all men question their sexual prowess.  If you haven’t read last week’s posts, and you are a guy, I’d strongly encourage you to do that.  We ended the sexual prowess post talking about the real question we need to be answering – “Am I a good lover?”

I believe as men we often struggle with love and intimacy. I think as a single this can become a huge deal in our life.  Often we can go long periods of time without touch or loving words.

I want to say more about physical touch soon, but today I want to focus on the problem we have with the words, “I love you.”

I’m not talking about the way we say it most of the time.  I’m not talking about the sarcastic, bro fake intimacy, of “I love you man” crap.  I’m also not talking about “I love you” when we mean, “don’t be mad at me”. Nor am I talking about the “I love you” when we mean I’m desperate for you to like me.

I’m talking about being able to say it and mean it in the straight forward, no excuses, expecting nothing back, “I love you.”

This is frankly just hard for a lot of us.  There are a lot of reasons and it goes way deeper than the whole macho stereotype.

For starters many of us never heard it from our fathers.  This isn’t to say our fathers didn’t love us, although there are many of us who do come from that.  What I mean is that they didn’t know how to say it either.  Moms said it to us which is good when you’re little but if you only hear it from her you’re in trouble because “I love you” becomes feminine.  And most guys don’t want to be that.

When we don’t hear it from a man, when we become men, we don’t say it.  And I’m not just talking about saying it to a woman.  I’m talking about saying it to your parents, to your friends, to a mentor, a disciple, to your kids.

It’s like when it comes to the surface we kind of swallow it.  There are still times in my life when I know it’s what needs to be said and I choke it back.

Saying I love you – especially saying it in a serious way – requires vulnerability. What if you say it and don’t hear it back?  We can often be afraid to “go there” even with those close to us.  It feels risky.  It feels like I’m opening up some part of me that I’m not sure I want to expose.

The truth is that you can really only be a good lover if you are secure in who you are.  And the only way to be secure is to know that you are loved.  Ultimately only one person can answer that.

Let’s say that you had a 10 minute meeting with God.  In that 10 minutes God (who knows your whole life – all that you’ve done, all that you want, all that you are doing and dreaming) is going to tell you what is most important to Him that He wants you do know. What do you think he would tell you?

I’ve asked a lot of people this question.  Mostly people say something the effect of, “He’d tell me this was good or this was bad, or that I need to work on this or that.”  Some people say, “I’d hope He’d tell me why this or that happened.”

But I’m convinced that what He would do is spend the entire ten minutes telling you He loved you.  Oh if we believed that!  Oh sure we know that God “loves us”.  We know it theologically, heck even logically.  We can quote it, preach it and put it on a bumper sticker.  But living out of it – that’s a whole other thing.

Part of the reason we have a hard time saying it, is that we have a hard time hearing it.  I know this was true for me for a long time.  It was like when someone said it to me I would kind of squirm inside.  It stirred something but I didn’t know what to do with it.

As a guy we need to work through this area of our life.  How comfortable are we at receiving and giving out those words?  As a single person we often don’t have a built in place to do that, but we have to develop it anyway.  We have to become lovers.  It’s part of becoming a true adult.

How comfortable are you with “I love you”?  What did you learn from your father about “I love you”?  This weekend is father’s day.  Could you call your dad and legitimately say, “I love you”?   How do you feel when a man says it to you now?  A woman?  How do you receive it?  How comfortable are you with saying it? When it comes up in your heart do you speak it or swallow it?

If you had 10 minutes alone with God what would He say to you?

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