My brother likes to tease me about my personal habits. He will often jokingly say to our friends, “Mike needs to get to bed so he can wake up at 3 am,” or, “Mike can’t make it to the next party because he’ll be busy cleaning his bathroom.” I’m not horribly bothered by it because it’s always on the side of ridiculous, so people don’t really believe it. But there is a little bit of truth to every “just kidding!” I do care about clean living spaces and recognize the value of my time. And although I act this way out of my own desire, I also do it intentionally: these are traits that are going to help me in my future relationships and hopefully, marriage.
We live in a culture full of a lot of distractions, but one in particular that sticks out to me is laziness. And for men, it seems as if it’s even more prevalent than in women. I mean, have you seen a television show or commercial recently? According to them, all adult men are lazy. Wake up. Go to work. Come home and veg. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. That’s the system most single men in our culture tend to fall into. Well, I don’t want to buy in, and neither should you. It really doesn’t take much — a yes here, a no there. It merely takes a directional change of your natural habits from “veg” to “productivity.”
Women want what men want – a person to spend their life with. But what they are looking for is a man who can provide and take care of them, as well as a family. Dads can’t hit snooze. Women don’t want a man who is going to go to work, come home, pop open a beer, and shut down. They want a man willing to give himself in everything, right down to the little things. But this takes conviction and decision-making. You must choose to be this type of man. You must choose to be intentional.
Men like to be good at things. All things. We like to be the best. Sometimes, it’s our downfall. Some use this to make them great at their job, but then they come home and it’s time to shut down. I know the feeling! I’m a high school teacher and coach, and I’m always burned out after a day of dealing with teenage angst. But what if we took those feelings of being the best and instead of only applying them to our jobs, we applied them to every aspect of life? What if we made every moment a competition to be better than we were the moment before? Intentional living not only makes you feel like a better person, it makes you an actual better person.
So how do I do this? Well, I am still working on it, but a few changes have helped me make a lot of progress.
First, I NEVER hit the snooze. Don’t begin the day with a defeat; begin with a little victory over self. I wake up early every single day to read and pray before work, and this completely changes how I then respond to the situations that arise throughout the day. I cannot remember the last time I hit snooze or even “slept in” (past 8 am…). Maybe its strange, I mean who the heck would want to get up at 4:30? But think about it: if you want to be married, “snooze” should not and cannot be on your agenda. A family takes responsibility, and the sooner you start taking the initiative, the easier it will become.
Second, intentionality is a battle that must be constantly fought. I once had this unreal vision of what I needed to do and how I needed to live to be intentional, and I dared to say in a blog I wrote that “every moment matters.” Well, I wasn’t wrong, but I gave myself unreal expectations. Don’t worry if you don’t do everything perfectly. You are never going to. But what habits do you have that you can work on? What motivates you to change? Focus on that for starters.
At the end of the day, I’m striving for my best in everything, and so that is why I want to live intentionally. I live intentionally because I am competitive and I don’t want to just be what the rest of the world tells me I should be like as a man. I live intentionally because I want to be a man that women see and think, “this man doesn’t just think about his momentary pleasures and gains; he is living for others. That’s what I want in a spouse.” I live intentionally because I believe in love, and love is not selfish but is self-giving. Be a man and live for others by living intentionally. Not tomorrow. Now.