One fateful February afternoon, I was in this cozy and classy restaurant, having lunch with a senior colleague. Toni Braxton was crooning the song that won her her fourth Grammy, ‘He Wasn’t Man Enough For Me.’
I was transported to my first two years as an undergraduate when singing and listening to jazz and R&B songs was like breathing. Those days I even sleep and read with music playing.
For the first time, I really considered seriously the lyrics of the song in relation to me.
As I mused on the words of Toni, I asked myself, ‘Am I man enough for my wife and boy?’ How will Njeb, my wife, respond to the question, ‘Is your husband man enough for you?’
My musing ended with a resolve to pose the question to Njeb.
Two days later, when I got home from work, wrestling with reluctance, I mustered courage and popped the question.
My wife, sensing my emotional tension, enjoyed the moment. Mercilessly, she delayed her answer by responding, ‘Why are you asking?’ I answered, with a smile that I hardly felt, ‘I need to know.’ After what seemed like an hour (actually several seconds), with a serious look on her face (I held my breath waiting) she said, ‘Gem, you are man enough for me!’
That was seven years ago.
A few days ago, I asked Njeb the same question.
This is not an easy question to ask. I struggled to ask it seven years ago. I struggled to ask it recently. I know It is an important question to ask. Yet each time I wished I did not have to ask it.
The question “Am I man enough” is an invitation for feedback. And everybody I know squirms at the prospect of receiving feedback for fear that it may be negative. You see, I knew I was giving my best shot at being a husband and father. I still am. But I am also aware I may not be doing as well as I think.
Whether you think you are doing well or not, take the bold step. Ask your wife, ‘Am I man enough for you?’
How else would you find out if you are man enough? Who else would you ask if not the person who really knows you?
If you get positive feedback, great! Really, great (in the light of the dearth of men who are manning up as husbands and fathers).
If the feedback you get is not positive. Don’t see it as negative. See it as constructive. Because you have been given valuable information for growth and improvement.
When you get feedback that is not positive, don’t see it as negative. See it as constructive. You have been given valuable information for growth and improvement.Tweet
The goal of asking this question is not for your ego to be massaged. But for you to know how well you are doing – as a husband and father – for the purpose of improvement. Because being man enough is not being perfect. There is no perfect specimen of manhood anywhere on God’s green earth. You can never be man enough, enough. There is always room for growth and improvement.
Decide today to ask the most important person in your life this important question. Otherwise, you will be denying yourself valuable information you can never get elsewhere. You can’t afford that.
In my next post, I will talk about what it really means to be man enough.