How to Be a Man, Vol. 3

Monty Williams

Be like this man. Monty Williams. Because he’s what we’re called to be. (Image/pelicandebrief.com)

“This will work out,” Monty Williams said at his wife’s funeral the other day.

Out of context, you might find the comment flippant or emotionally detached. It was anything but.

The phrase I like to use is: Everything is going to be okay.

And that’s what Williams, an assistant coach of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, meant when he said matter-of-factly: “This will work out.”

Life is hard. And the most fortunate of us don’t know it when we’re children, because nothing is hard. You just wake up every day in comfort and safety that you didn’t earn, pay for, or work for, and then people love you, give you stuff, provide your needs, educate you, and allow you to spend—compared to adulthood, and within the context of appropriate behavior—a lot of time doing pretty much anything you want.

It’s magical, and none of us appreciated it because we all wanted to be big so we could “do whatever we wanted” like the little morons we were.

But then we grow up and no one just gives us things anymore. We have to work for what we have, and we have to work to maintain those things.

Instead of living with people who tend to love us no matter what, we now live with people who have to choose whether to love us—but because we don’t know better, we take that for granted and often assume they’ll love us like mom and dad did, because we exchanged vows, or share an address, or share a bed, or share children. But then we sometimes learn the hard way that we were wrong about that, too.

Many other hard things happen in adulthood.

Losing friends in adulthood is harder than when we were kids. Financial pressures in adulthood weigh heavier than they do for mostly insulated children. Because Father Time stops for no one, those fortunate enough to stay alive longest must in turn deal with the most amount of death.

Life is hard.

And because it’s so hard to think and feel and exist beyond our own minds and chest cavities, it’s difficult to not wallow in self-pity during the darkest, most difficult, most painful moments.

A dead wife.

Just 44.

Mother of five children, three of whom were with her in the car crash.

Killed in a freak accident by someone recklessly driving 92 miles per hour on a four-lane Oklahoma City road with traffic signals and a bunch of other cars on the road.

And the grieving husband and father said, with courage and conviction: “This will work out.”

All roads lead somewhere. Even the excruciatingly painful and treacherous ones.

And no matter how much we hurt, someday tomorrow will get here, when we will get to see exactly how things worked out so we could arrive to a better, perhaps beautiful, today.

Everything is going to be okay.

A Tangent on Personal Beliefs, God, and Faith

I deliberately tend to avoid writing about spiritual beliefs, God, religion, etc.

These are human beings’ most sacred beliefs, and they often generate strong emotional reactions, and by proxy, controversy.

This blog is mostly about two things: Personal growth and reducing the frequency of divorce. And since I feel strongly that both believers and non-believers can experience personal growth, and that regardless of belief system, people will continue to get married, I want to stay focused on those things.

If we start screaming at each other about which story about God is most credible, and internet-damning all dissenters to eternal damnation, I think the important personal growth and Let’s Make Marriage Suck Less conversations might get lost in the noise, or ignored entirely.

“Hey, Matt! Why don’t you ever write about faith as an important part of making marriage last!?”

Because I think if I tell an atheist she needs to pray to God; or a Buddhist that he needs Christ’s mercy; or Christians that they need to read the Qur’an; or Jews that they need to accept the New Testament; or the faithful that there is no god, that all of our conversations will become about that, and not what I’m actually thinking and writing about.

I’ve said it before: Does it matter how right you are, or how much truth you’re sharing if no one hears the message anyway?

I’d rather people from all walks of life strive to be better people and have healthy, positive, loving relationships, than spend time quibbling over disagreements that will never be settled in this lifetime, let alone these blog comments.

But if you must know, I believe in God. I just don’t presume to know how God works, or what God wants, or why God would want whatever that is.

I personally believe that God doesn’t want people screaming at one another and dividing up into camps of angry people telling others they’re going to hell if they don’t change all of their beliefs to whatever their particular camp believes, or worse, killing people with different opinions.

Something is true. And maybe we’ll find out what that truth is someday if the lights don’t insta-shut-off when we die. I hope so. Maybe in the meantime we can speak and act with humility, treat others kindly, teach our children to do those things, try to get 1% better at something every day, and try to live in such a way that we are giving more to others and the world than we take from them. Maybe we can do that no matter what we believe.

Coach Williams is a Christian man with a strong faith in God.

And should you listen to this courageous and inspiring eulogy to his wife at the bottom of this post (and I really hope you do), I’d like to ask all non-Christians not to get distracted by Bible references and churchy things, but simply on Williams’ class, bravery, humility, and forgiveness. I hope any men reading who believe how they treat and talk about their wives should be measured in blow-job frequency or what other guys think about them, will watch it.

Coach Williams probably messes up just like every other person, ever.

But he strikes me as a man who loved his wife as wives are meant to be loved. Who loves his children as fathers are called to love. Who wakes up each morning and falls asleep each night with a peaceful heart and relatively regret-free. Because he WALKS THE PATH.

Sometimes guys like to internet-shame me because of the things I write about marriage. They think they’re tough guys, and that I’m a huge pussy.

I used to be sensitive about that back when I spent every day wallowing in self-pity over divorce and feeling sorry for myself about how unfair life had become. I spent a lot of time doing the Why me, God!? thing. It’s because I was being a huge pussy.

But that’s not what I’m being today. Things were always going to work out. Everything was always going to be okay. And now they are.

Coach Williams’ manhood has never been in doubt, despite always touting the merits of his wife to anyone who would listen. Her beauty, and strength, and importance in his life.

When he wasn’t with her, he wanted to be.

When he isn’t with his children, he wants to be.

It’s what love looks like. And courageously choosing it even when it’s inconvenient is what makes a dude, a man.

Williams is a leader of men. And for those brave enough to listen, we can learn how to be men, too.

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22 thoughts on “How to Be a Man, Vol. 3

  1. swo8 says:

    Yes life is hard and you aren’t going to get out alive.
    Leslie

    Like

  2. completelyinthedark says:

    Totally needed that today, my friend. Thank you! Best, Mike

    Like

  3. Awesome post! My favorite phrase in the same vein is: In the end, everything turns out OK. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.

    Like

  4. I think this crosses over to the chick side don’t you? I know women who use their vaginas as an excuse to be bitchy, whiney, sissy girls. No I’m not a bully, but let’s stop playing into a behavior only appreciated in movies, on the hallmark channel. I know, because I’ve done it, that as women we long for things. If those things (romance, dinner in a beach, hot sex, red wine and gummy bears) don’t happen in our relationships we are broken. We expect our spouse to just know that’s what we long for. Yes, forgetting a special date is shitty, but choosing not remind and then being vengeful is well, more shitty. If you set yourself up for failure, you will fail. If you choose to be the hand extended from a place of love, you will receive it. I love this article by the way. Made my cry…damn it.

    Like

  5. Ac says:

    To all the men who think you’re a big pussy, I only hope whatever happens to them, to make them wake up to themselves one day, isn’t too soul destroying. Karma.

    Like

  6. Megan says:

    I totally get that you’re a man and writing this from your male perspective, but this post could easily be titled “How to be a Human.” One of the interesting things I’ve learned in counseling (as I navigate my own divorce after an almost 12 year marriage) is that being able to tell yourself “everything’s going to be okay,” is a form of self-care. At a time when you may feel powerless in the face of loss or adversity, being able to remind yourself that everything will be okay is an expression of faith in God, the universe, and/or YOURSELF that you are strong enough to make it through the challenging times. It’s a tremendously compassionate thing to be able to say to yourself that you have faith in YOU to have the ability to overcome.

    Like

  7. kirstencronlund says:

    Amazing post. And amazing video. I know there are people out there who have really strong and healthy relationships. This is a testament to that fact. Just beautiful…

    Like

  8. iammikes says:

    After watching Monty speak with so much courage and believe. I looked around my self and my situation and suddenly, i realized that its gonna work out for me too. I so love this post Matt. Just what i needed now. Once again, thanks.

    Like

  9. Very poignant essay, Matt. Thanks again. I may be your biggest fan.

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  10. jgroeber says:

    Ah, such a loss and such a love. Always good to remember that wherever we are, it isn’t permanent, for better or worse.

    Like

  11. What I love about this video, is how so much more of it -than many even realize- is pulled straight from the pages of scripture…words that he clearly has in his heart at all times. I can see what it is that truly sets him apart…like you said, he walks the walk. “It will all work out” is a direct paraphrase of the Romans 8:28 Bible verse that he quotes straight up…… “For we know (for we are confident) that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called, according to His purpose.” … “it’ll work out” is way bigger than mere words of comfort. there’s a big plan and we are often being called to be a part of it. This Coach knows exactly what his calling is and he does not miss the opportunity to share the gospel when he has the forum. Thanks for sharing this post and your thoughts on true manhood.

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  12. Quite lovely, Matt. Defining what it is to truly be man can be quite challenging, but I think that gratitude, grace, and courage is a good start. That’s what I see in Coach Williams, his gratitude and thankfulness. That’s a tough thing to lean into when all seems lost, but when we can fix our eyes on what we have been given rather than on what we have lost, it gives us strength.

    Like

  13. Lucy says:

    Awesome blog. Double awesome video. Bertrand Berry, Notre Dame alum and former Arizona Cardinals DE paid a very moving tribute to Ingrid Williams on his radio show, Off The Edge with BTrain, that left him and his listeners in tears. Now I understand BTrain’s reaction to the death of Ingrid Williams. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Thank you for checking it out and sharing that little story.

      She must have been an amazing person, wife and mother.

      I was thoroughly moved by Coach Williams’ obvious adoration for her and his family. Because I believe that’s what it’s supposed to look like.

      Like

  14. Barb Chabai says:

    Beautifully written. My version of the mantra is “All Will Be Well.”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Michelle says:

    He’s such a humble man. I love this 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautiful, inspiring and well-written. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Thank you, Monique. Seeing that man express that level of humility, faith and courage during what must be an unfathomably difficult time is one of the more inspiring things I’ve ever seen.

      I don’t think that level of greatness is within me, but I like having a bar to shoot for.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. D says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I wouldn’t have otherwise seen it. This was inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m so with you on the beliefs. My take has been that if we’d just all focus on where we agree, instead of disagree – if we sought to understand, rather than to be “right” – we’d find ourselves so much more in harmony.

    Peace to you.

    Like

  19. A “battle plan” is introduced from the truths of scripture that will help every man learn how to replace his life-taking idols with God’s life-giving grace. We see how Jesus himself, our model for Authentic Manhood, successfully fought the battle of idolatry in His own life.

    Like

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