by Bill Martin

For Men Only!

       Benjamin Franklin once wrote: Before marriage a man is incomplete, afterwards he is finished." And all the women said, "Amen".

       In a month where we celebrate romance with Valentines Day, how do you measure up as a husband, boyfriend, and a man? Are you responsible, caring, spiritual? My answers are yes, no and sometimes.

       I ask God to change my heart daily. I want my wife to know she's loved and to stay proud of the man she married 15-years ago. I believe I've found a great example in the life of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.

       This column is the outgrowth of this past Christmas. I spent the holidays with my parents for the first time in nearly 20-years. (A job in television has kept me moving and they live in Florida.) I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it was to have them spend time not only with the grandkids but also for me to take a good long look at my father.

       My father's a strong, self-made man. I remember him coaching my baseball and football teams barking out instruction. I remember him driving me to hockey practice at all hours of the morning. He showed little outside emotion from my perspective (I am very emotional) but I look back now at the deep love and strong lessons I was taught. Lessons to help mold me in the very image of Joseph.

       Most experts believe Joseph died before Jesus began his work so there is no information about Joseph during Jesus' adult life. His imprint as a man though was already laid. A guide for me, and a guide for you.

       Joseph had deep love for his wife and his son. Mathew 1:24 "Joseph... took Mary home as his wife", Luke 2: 41-52. When Jesus disappeared for 3-days Joseph and Mary found him at the temple, " Your father and I have been anxious searching for you."

       Joseph listened to God. Mathew 1:24 "when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary as his wife."

       Joseph stuck by his woman. Mathew 1:19 " because Joseph was a righteous man." He was about to break off the engagement but Joseph was there regardless of the potential scandal.

       Joseph took personal responsibility. Mathew 2:13-14. Luke 2:21-24. He made sure his son was circumcised, given the name Jesus as the angel had instructed, and made a sacrifice for him in Jerusalem.

       So here's the imprint of Joseph for us. Loving, righteous, protective, responsible, and obedient. Are you all of those things? Are you any of these things? As I look back on the boy my father was molding; I look to the life of Joseph with great joy.

       As someone once wrote: "You will never become what you need to be by remaining who you are. In this month of romance, lets be more like Joseph.

Bill Martin is a multiple winner of Emmy and Associated Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. He was also included into the Ohio Television/Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.