Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “I” Is For “Integrity”

4 Jun

(“The Alphabet of Manly Virtues” is a 26 post series examining various character traits of godly men. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday for new posts! To view other entries in the series, click here.)

iImagine you are asked what qualities to look for in a man, the person you love who will ultimately share your life, hopes and dreams. I’m considering this thought based on the letter ‘I’.

Should it be someone with an in-built desire to please? How about ignorance (real or pretended) of our flaws, faults and failings? An impossibly large bank balance might come in handy for all the clothes and shoes women usually love to purchase.

It is helpful for him to be inspiring, to use his own initiative, be imaginative and innovative when it comes to life’s tricky problems. I wouldn’t want a man to be insensitive, intolerant, or an irritable ingrate either.

As it so happens, I have ‘one I made earlier’ (or rather God provided) already safely ensconced at home. He is interesting, intelligent, informative, and (best of all) comes with an innate desire to please me. What more could a woman want?

Throughout our marriage, I have valued many of my husband’s great qualities and all the more as the years have passed and the extent and depth of them has been revealed.

Having originally been drawn to his dark good looks, deep sexy voice and lithe, athletic physique (I am only human); I know that those things are subject to alteration with the strain of life and passing years.

Some qualities mellow and improve. Others are largely hidden and take a while to be revealed. His faithfulness has been severely tried and tested by the reactions I’ve had to my past and the changes it wrought. The girl he married became virtually catatonic through a severe mental health breakdown only a few short weeks after the honeymoon. A lesser man would have had every reason to walk away.

I love him for his faithfulness, endurance, kindness, gentleness, sensitivity and tenderness, as well as the breadth and originality of his thinking.

What appeals to me most about the man I love is his integrity. I trust him implicitly.

It’s a largely invisible quality that has been drawn out and made visible through very painful times.

In his last work environment, senior management (some of them Christians) asked him to lie and falsify documentation – but he refused to do so. They tried to demote him, subjected him to prolonged bullying and harassment, made his life a complete misery, culminating in two breakdowns, an unfair constructive dismissal and subsequent loss of career, status and self-esteem.

His Christian faith and his job were on the line. He chose to stay faithful to biblical principles, though it cost him dear.

He has not been well enough to work since, but he has suffered tremendously with stress, anxiety and associated mental health problems, from which he is slowly recovering.

All of this deeply affected his health, future job/financial prospects, and trust of fellow believers.

But I wouldn’t have wanted him to act differently.

I am blessed to have a man who never lies to me, who is faithful and true, a man I can trust.

He is also a man who models the servant-hood of Jesus to me every single day as he takes on the practical  care of house and home I can no longer achieve due to health problems.

He’s not insipid either. The originality and good sense of humor remain, so does an eclectic taste in music and films and a great love of sport. There are enough intriguing facets to his personality to keep me fascinated. He is never boring!

As someone who came into the marriage already broken inside, with trust fractured by those purporting to love me; it is such a relief to have a man by my side who I have no doubts about, whose love is absolute, trustworthy and sincere – not a man who uses and abuses the fragile trust I give, but rather one who has become my emotional and physical rock.

Ladies, may I urge you to look beyond the externals? Check out his heart. To have a trustworthy man brings peace of mind beyond price.

And, gentlemen, look to developing the inner qualities that endure. The image in the mirror is only a minor part of the package. We women are not that shallow. Working on your biceps may be appealing, but may I suggest that if you work harder on being a faithful, loyal and loving man who mirrors the characteristics of Christ, you won’t go far wrong.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” ~ Proverbs 11:3

-Joy Lenton

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Joy Lenton is a wife, mother to two grown sons, grandma-in-waiting, and M.E sufferer. A lot of her days are spent in PJs, penning poetry and prose. She loves connecting with people, reading, drinking coffee and eating way too much dark chocolate. Before chronic illness scuppered her plans, Joy worked as a nurse. She still has a heart to help, support and encourage others by sharing her faith and life experiences. Joy blogs at Words of Joy and would love to connect with you on Facebook  or on Twitter

9 Responses to “Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “I” Is For “Integrity””

  1. Shelley June 4, 2013 at 09:39 #

    If ever the world needed men with integrity, now is the time. To stand against the enemy rather than turn and run describes the kind of man who makes a difference. Thank you, Joy for this fine tuned piece that reflects your heart, your husband, and your marriage.

    • Joy Lenton June 5, 2013 at 10:05 #

      That is so true, Shelley. Biblical manhood is an area that requires definition and strengthening to equip us for the fight. This series helps to highlight that issue. Male integrity is a valuable character asset that enhances faithfulness and trustworthiness in men, and gives confidence and peace to the women in their lives.

  2. eil1een June 4, 2013 at 10:39 #

    Integrity…that’s what I love about my husband too. This is my second marriage and lies and deceit were the only thing I could “depend” on during my first marriage. I love that I can trust and respect and my husband.

    • Joy Lenton June 5, 2013 at 10:08 #

      We have something else in common, Eileen, beyond loving coffee, reading and writing! Yes, trust is so important and so hard to regain once broken. I am delighted to hear you have found a man who you love, respect and trust.

  3. Minuscule Moments June 4, 2013 at 15:15 #

    Beautiful piece celebrating marriage in all of its ups and downs Joy. My husband is my best friend, if we can’t laugh about life together we hold on tight until the challenges subside. Thank you for sharing.

    • Joy Lenton June 5, 2013 at 10:11 #

      Being best friends is a huge blessing. I may not have been able to say that in the past, but I can definitely say the same now about my husband. I love the way you face challenges together. Laughter and mutual love, trust and support are key to holding a marriage together. Thank you for sharing your insights, Kath.

  4. Helen Murray June 5, 2013 at 11:27 #

    What a wonderful tribute to your husband, Joy. Everything in life seems more manageable when you’re part of a team and it sounds as if the two of you are strong together. What a blessing. Thank you for sharing.

    • Joy Lenton June 5, 2013 at 15:00 #

      It has taken us many years to get to this point, Helen. But I’m so grateful that God has graced us to make it through the hard, painful times to become best friends and companions on life’s journey. Our faith and marriage are now stronger as a result.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Breaking the silence - Words of Joy - July 15, 2015

    […] come over with me to Dave’s place, ‘More than a Beard’, (a place for discussion of godly manhood) by clicking on the link to read the rest… I hope […]

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