As an Asian man I was taught to tuck away and hide my emotions from the world especially when times are tough. It was more important in those times, to not show weakness and just be happy. Showing any true emotions was considered weakness. The Bible is the best by book (by far) to read for anything, but without sounding like a modern day gnostic, “Created for Connection” by Sue Johnson is a great book that helps shed light on emotion and how we manage these emotions within our relationships. Now, Johnson wrote this with married couples in mind but some of the problematic cycles she covers, are relevant for a variety of relationship types, including parental relationships and friendships. (Pastors, you know you are supposed to have friends, right? We are not just supposed to just work and fight side by side but also be friends).
During the pandemic, this book helped me learn a new way to speak with my wife that was scary for me because of my culture (and possibly the presence of my Y chromosome), but ultimately built a new level of connection for us. It helped me to speak with my teenage daughters about some of the things they were going through that are such a big deal to them and were not such a big deal to me. It helped me to identify some of the warning signs in my own marriage and marriages within my church, allowing me to pray more specifically and offer better advice. Created for Connection is a great book, opening the door for conversations that were once taboo. It ultimately helped me to be a better friend, husband, and dad, if you don’t dismiss it as psychological mumbo jumbo.