If I ever have a son, I hope I can teach him these things about what it means to be a true man of integrity. And if not, I pray that I can share it with my nephews and my boys in my classroom. And I also pray for all the men in my life who are striving to be this very thing – not perfect, but running after it with all they’ve got. It’s hard. I know. But I’m so thankful for what you choose to be.
There are a lot of poor examples of men in our culture. Poor examples in movies, TV shows, books, YouTube channels, and in life. Examples of men who are selfish, who flatter with their lips while their eyes devour, who lead women on, who use them for their bodies and care not about their souls, who are faithless and shallow and undependable.
Examples of men who buy chocolates and roses and jewelry and say all the right things, but aren’t committed to fighting through the hard times and valuing women and the relationship because that’s what God has called them to do. Examples of men who won’t commit, who won’t lead, and who won’t step up to do what they don’t want to do.
But there are also so many examples of men of integrity out there, and I dearly hope that you look to them as your inspiration instead.
Examples of men who know their life is not their own. Who lead the ones they love to Christ. Who look life in the eye and show up to savor it for all it’s worth. Who treasure Christ above all else and seek to put His glory on display. Who lead gently with humility. Who know they’re not perfect and admit when they make a mistake.
And examples of men who know their own frailty and who treat relationships with the utmost care.
Because a true man of integrity will know that love is different from infatuation. That relationships are bigger than feelings, and that flattery and charm are not actually how you love someone. They are ways to make a woman fall for you. But they are not ways of seeking the woman’s best – which is drawing her closer to God through the relationship.
A true man of integrity guards his emotions well for some time, knowing they are not to be trusted. He seeks wisdom and counsel from those outside the relationship to keep himself accountable and from making rash errors.
A true man of integrity pursues with caution, knowing that his attention may cause his lady to fall too quickly. He pursues her soul before pursuing her body, knowing that emotional trust is built slowly over time through proving his character in big and small ways.
A true man of integrity takes the initiative to lead in the relationship – whether that’s spiritually in seeking the Lord through prayer and study of Scripture, physically by talking about boundaries and keeping them, or emotionally by seeking to care for her soul and sharing of his own heart at the appropriate times.
A true man of integrity doesn’t lead a woman on – making her think he’s interested in her, but never acting upon it.
But he also doesn’t act too quickly on a whim because the girl appears to be cute. He has self-control, he recognizes when he needs to grow before entering a relationship, and he has patience to take it a little slowly for the best of both involved.
We may instantly recognize traits that we like in another person, making us think, “He or she is the one!” We may also instantly recognize attraction towards or from another person, also making us think, “He or she is the one!”
But both of those things have to be tempered with time. Physical attraction won’t go anywhere if we don’t have a deeper attraction to their soul – and even personality traits and interests can’t be enough if men don’t have the maturity and spiritual leadership that we women need in the relationship. Such things are revealed in multiple situations over time.
So son, I beg you to have the patience and wisdom that it takes to build up a character of integrity before you enter into relationships that will affect other people. And even after you’re in a relationship or a marriage, I beg you to keep pursuing that integrity to deepen your maturity and leadership every single day.
And when you make mistakes – as we all will, for we are merely human – have the humility to admit them, the courage to ask for forgiveness, and the diligence to seek to change. Submit your heart, your ways, and your desires to the Lord, and He will always guide you.
Son, the potential you have to be a man of integrity that influences the world is staggering. I pray that you will pursue it with passion in your heart, for it is such a delight to behold those who do. I will always cheer you on, no matter where you are at in your journey.
From a womanly heart who loves to support men of integrity