I thought that since I wrote a letter to Emmie, I should write one to Gareth too. So here goes.
While I have already told your sister how to advise friends how to pick a good man (since she will be my little girl forever she will not need this info personally). You, on the other hand, I expect to grow up and get married. Now you can probably extrapolate later in life from what I have told Emmie the kind of man I hope you will be, but I wrote that for Emmie and I think, you being a boy, you might prefer a more direct rephrasing. So here a list of a few things that make a man.
1. You tell the truth. Now Scripture says to tell it “in love” or “with love” and you are not exempt. There will be times when telling someone the truth will be so very hard and so very dangerous that you won’t want to. Do it anyway or you will feel the burden for a thousand days in a thousand ways. The truth at the beginning is always easier.
2. Work hard. You will hear it said “Find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life.” That is a lie. Even the things you love can become boring or frustrating. And if it isn’t your career you have to work hard at it will be family, or faith, or balance, or something else. If life ever becomes easy, you are doing it wrong.
3. Love and respect everyone. I don’t mean have affectionate feelings towards everyone, I mean learn to see people for what they are–broken just like you. Treat them with kindness and humility. This is one of the things I have to work hard on. Humility is not easy when you are young…or when you are old from what I hear. But everyone, no matter the circumstances, is as worthy of love as you are and we should treat them that way.
4. Do not dishonor women. There is a lot of debate as I write this about whether Christian sexuality exalts sex to the most important thing (if you have premarital sex you can never have a good marriage, etc.). It isn’t the most important thing, the Gospel is. But taking care with a woman’s sexual honor is one of the many ways that men can defeat the usury of women by men in our culture. It is not right to use a woman emotionally, spiritually, or physically. What is right is to join with a woman emotionally, spiritually, and physically in the bonds of a covenant for life. This shows that you value her enough to commit yourself to her and only her.
Finally, a word about finding a good woman. Find one who loves God and who will marry you. It might seem simple, and it is. I married the first woman I dated and will never regret it. How do I know I will never regret it? Because your mother and I have promised to always love one another–and you can never regret truly loving someone.