To Young Unmarried Men – An Open Letter You Should Read Slowly

Hey buddy,

It is quite possible that you have heard some of these points before. I am hoping though, that this letter will drill them in further.

This is about your life and your heart. This is about helping you navigate your life as an unmarried young man in a way that will hopefully set you up to have the fulfilling life and marriage you want.

Get ready. Some of them might be very counter-intuitive.

1. Most women your age won’t appreciate you for what you are worth right now.
You may have started noticing it already (but probably ignoring it). Keep ignoring this, and you will end up spending all your time and energy trying to show the real you. You spend a lot of energy trying to convince women around you about your dreams and aspirations…that you are worth the time of day. You spend time and resources on people who don’t see past your wallet or what her friends might think, or her need to “have a boyfriend”.

Basically, you get recruited for a boyfriend job or you get rejected overall.

Let me go deeper if you will…

Contrary to popular opinion, it takes A LOT of work for a woman to know how to handle a man’s heart. It does not come naturally.

Let me be even more explicit (And this is going to sound counter-intuitive):

Your heart as a man is a delicate thing. I am not talking about the thumping piece of flesh in your chest either.

You see, the advantage a woman has is that she is able to identify and even create support systems to deal with, and discharge emotions.

She functions like a flowing river. Raging as it may be, it is flowing. Men’s emotions have the tendency to operate like dams. Think about it: Powerful, takes a lot of effort and machinery to move water, but once it is flowing, takes a lot to stop it. It is guarded, protected, and mostly closed off.

So again, I say this (Most women your age won’t appreciate you for what you are worth right now) not to make you upset or closed off to women but to prepare you and let you know that as a man, YOUR HEART NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED.

So…

2) Spend more of your resources on yourself right now and not on impressing women.

Notice that didn’t say “on impressing the woman you want”. I said “on impressing women”

If you find that girl that makes your heart dance…that woman that gives you a glimpse of what a marriage might look like for you and the children you want to have…impress her. Go after her like its the only thing that matters.

But don’t do that for every woman….as tempting as that may be and as good as it may feel to want to “feel like” “the man”.

I am not saying don’t be a gentleman. I am not saying don’t be nice to the ladies and female friends in your life. I am not even in that realm of thought at all. I am saying be careful of becoming a “boyfriend friend”. You know…the friend she treats like a boyfriend when she needs something or needs help, but does not care about or make sacrifices for you as a friend.

Why do I say this? Why am I even talking about this?

Here comes the counter-intuitive part:

Because when it comes to emotional well being, emotional self-determination, and conversations around the “Don’t let the opposite sex determine your self-worth” narrative, we are usually talking to women and encouraging them (**And rightfully so because they need that encouragement.)
I am simply saying this because whether people believe it or not, whether people think it’s worth talking about or not, many men suffer from this….and most men have never heard that before. Many good, well-intentioned, polite, big-hearted men struggle with this.

This is not about friend-zoning. This is much deeper. This is about gradually and unconsciously getting numbed as a young man so that when you “grow up” (whatever that means) you don’t have much left to give.

By the time most men grow up and are “ready for love”, they don’t have much depth to give because they have wasted their reserves. Remember…River vs Dam.

This will take wisdom to balance.

3. Figure out what your passionS are. EARLY.

Notice I didn’t say that you should know what you will do for the rest of your career.
Notice it is in plural form.

Just find passion. Find things that make you really happy and do those things…as much as you can.

This will work to ground you as a man. You see, once a man starts “Adulting” or coming of age, culture and society start to subtly tell him that he is not allowed to pursue passion. He is told to “make money and provide” and that it is somehow irresponsible to pursue passions.

Don’t believe me? Whats your first impression when you see a grown man with a skateboard? What’s your first impression when you hear a banker talk about how he wishes he was a painter? Yea. We harbor those feelings about those people…UNTIL major success starts to flow from that passion. Like when we hear stories of GoPro cameras, or Brandon Stanton of Humans of NewYork and other people who turn what we call “hobbies” or “unmanly careers” into success.

Making money is important. It is VERY important and I am not having a conversation about which is more important. I am saying that both are important and the more you can merge the two, the better for you.

Because …but there are many men who are making money but are deeply craving opportunities to pursue their passions and hobbies.

Why again am I bringing this to the surface?

Because our sisters have a bit more leeway here. She says she wants to be a painter…be a hairdresser and own a chain of salons, be a singer, be a fashion designer, wants to own a daycare…and even if she gets the occasional raised eyebrows and questioning, she will still get more support about that decision. She won’t be seen as irresponsible, foolish or weak like you might.

So find things you are passionate about. If you can, turn passion into income, make a killing…and shut the naysayers up. Most importantly, just know that you don’t have to gain your bank account at the expense of your passions.

If you don’t connect well with your creative side now, you won’t later. Love to write, sing, act, draw, dance, play an instrument…do it NOW. You will stand a better chance of defending those things from “life” later.

4. Find God…FOR YOURSELF.
As a young man, you need a perspective on God that you develop by yourself. Investigate him. Don’t depend on your parent’s expression of their perspective.

If you perceive he is out there, go find him. If you depend on “watching your parents and people”, you will resent things about God that are not true but you observed in your parents’ mismanagement of their faith.

David the great King of Israel knew this and this was, in fact, his last direct advice to his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9-10 He said: “And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he’ll make sure you find him…”

5.Travel
See the world bro.
Go places.
Pursue experiences.
You don’t even have to physically travel long distance all the time. Make friends from different cultures. Go to their cultural events. Read books that have cultures of places woven into them.
This will make a huge difference for you in life. Trust me. You become more grounded as a man.

6. Ask your father a lot of questions
This one right here.
Few things will make as much of a difference in your life than having a father whom you ask a lot of questions or whom you can talk to.

Notice I didn’t say “having a father that likes to talk…or that has a lot of wisdom.” This is about you and being comfortable seeking wisdom from men older than you.

7. Get a mentor
This continues in line with the above point but let me be more clear.

Get mentors that you can submit to.

Meaning, get mentors that won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but ones whom you can obey when they advise you on what to do.
It does something to a man when he has other men he can be accountable to.

8. These diamonds will not be forever
Do not be intimidated by privileged peers in the early stages of life. (In any context – physical attractiveness, family wealth, etc)
Do not try to be like them or live like them.
Hold on though…am I saying don’t want the nice things in life?
NO. Are you kidding?
I am saying, don’t let your insecurity towards people (who have not worked to make or keep any money of their own or any attractiveness of their own or any character trait of their own) make you lose yourself or act like who you are not, just to fit in.

Why?

a) Many of them will not turn out to be the pioneers you thought they would be 10 years from now
b) Everyone has different journeys to his or her destination

Sure they seem to “get all the girls” now…but wait till they get married and stay married before you give them the all-star award.
Sure they get all the boys to turn now but seriously…wait 10 years
Sure they were the loudest mouths in high school…but give it time…it may be a different story few years down the line.
Does this mean you should wish bad things on “those people”? No. Of course not.

Just don’t hate yourself because you like them or what they have.

9. If you don’t start respecting women now, it won’t come easy later.
This is not a switch you’re going to turn on like a light bulb when you get older.
Remember, as a man, you are competing with years of cultural and patriarchal environmental conditioning that tells you that you are somehow more important than a woman. This is not true. Not even a little bit.

Let me go deeper if you will.

If you don’t fight that notion that you are “better than” or “smarter than” or “stronger than ” than a woman is, when you get married, you will never be able to truly rely on your wife and that means that you will never enjoy the full benefit of the full extent of her strength and wisdom. You won’t even know to look for it and you certainly won’t have the patience to extract it.

That revelation should sober you.

10. That said, do not allow yourself to be constantly put down, used or disrespected by women.
I know. I just told you to respect women but now I am saying don’t let them disrespect or use you.
There are two critical thoughts to this:

a)You can have both.
They are not mutually exclusive. Respecting women does not have to translate into disrespecting/using you. You don’t have to live feeling disrespected just because you are trying to be respectful.
b) This doesn’t give you permission to be a jerk.
This in no way gives you a reason for retaliation or taking matters into your hands to “teach them a lesson” or perpetuate any aggressive “patriarchal” behavior. No. If a woman disrespects you and consistently uses you especially before you marry her, flee. Get out. Leave your coat of many colors too.

11. Pick friends wisely
Be a smart friend-picker: This will save you time, money, regret, and pain.
a)Have friends from different places outside your own culture or perspective
Have you ever heard the saying that you are the average of your top 5 friends? Well, the same thing applies to your global perspective. Your global perspective will be the average of the top 5 friends you relate with.
b)Pick friends who give you positive pressure.
Friends who inspire you and push you BECAUSE they believe in you. Friends who will not let you rest until you become everything you can be.
Friends who while doing the above, know when to just hold you…and catch you when you fall.

Take a cue from most women. Pick friends whom you can actually share emotions with. Not friends to just “roll deep” with or friends you can just call “your boys” who are actually useless when your heart is breaking or life has you in a chokehold.

Pick friends well. Pick friends you can make your brothers

12) Don’t be afraid to have high standards for the woman you want to be with.
Women may despise this and people may make you feel bad for this. Ignore them. Its ok. If you have a picture in your mind of the ideal woman, go for that. (Trust me, ladies are doing exactly the same). Your happiness in a relationship does not matter less.

Here is what I will tell you though:
a)Don’t demand standards that you are not willing to live by and show by example.
Want a woman who respects you, you better be respectful. Want a woman who is hardworking, work hard. Want a woman who is clean and has an interest in keeping a home tidy? No problem…be the cleanest man she has ever met and keep your home spotless before she marries you. Want a woman who takes care of herself physically, lose the gut and hit the gym.
b) Don’t lead the conversation with your standards.
It will almost always sound like you have evil horns when you verbalize your personal standards for the woman you want. It’s ok.
You don’t always have to “talk” about your standards, just show them and live them. Let them be easily perceivable and you will have earned the right to ask for them.

So…remember…
You are a man. You are a man. YOU ARE A MAN.
Wonderfully created. Able to be strong yet tender in heart and kind.
You are a man.
You are important.
You are a man. You deserve to be happy…to pursue your dreams…to seek out what inspires you and touches your heart.
YOU ARE A MAN….and your biceps may be important…but so is your heart.

I know you may not have heard this in a while…but I love you bro. I do…and so does your father in heaven.

Some may read this and think ” Since when did men need love and encouragement for life and encouragement to feel like they matter on the inside?” Well, that in itself…that thought…is why I had to write this.

PS:
If you are in a relationship, send this piece to your boo and it could serve as a great anchor for a meaningful and deep conversation.

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