As exciting and fun as the first three phases of a man's life might be, I think it's these last three that will really define him and determine the "legacy" we all seek to leave.
Lover - This is an area of life that men tend to either focus too much on, or completely miss altogether. Not limited just to loving the woman, this stage awakens men to the beauty of life in general; however, it is during this phase that men focus on women, particularly offering himself to her.
King - Seriously, who wouldn't want to be seen as a King??? Whatever your "kingdom" might be, this is a period where you're in charge of people, whether as a boss, father, coach, etc. You rule over these people, and they look to you for answers or solutions. Although you are seen as the "head honcho" or "big man on campus", this is a time of great responsibility and accountability. This, along with being a Lover, are two of the most tumultuous phases because the decisions you make and the actions you take can have the greatest long-term impact on those around you.
Sage - When I think of a Sage, I'm reminded of the great ancient philosophers. Men like Plato and Aristotle established much of the concepts we still use to interpret and understand the world around us. There are probably several men in your personal life, or in America, that you look to for advice. The knowledge they impart to you seems to make life easier to understand, especially when going through tough times. Their "been there, done that" advice gives you what is needed to better navigate your way through each day. Some may say that it's in the sunset of a man's life that he reaches this phase, but I say it could begin as quickly as when he moves on to the next stage.
I have now summarized the 6 stages that Eldredge ascribes to each man's life. Next, I'm going to discuss some pros and cons to them and how other men can affect how long he stays in each one. Wade has touched on this issue in his post, but I'm sure he's got even more thoughts on the matter, as this is the crux of the chapter.
FYI, another good friend and former Marine, Barrett, is joining the discussion. For his thoughts on the book, and the Wild Heart in general, you can visit his blog at: