Let’s assume that we understand what a “man” is. If using the word to describe those who XY chromosomes offends you, then go ahead and stop reading. This is not a critique of transgenderism or the social construction of masculinity. This is a critique of Christian heteronormative masculinity as it relates to the 21st century.
Men. What has happened to us?
In the home, the workplace, the education system, and churches, men have become the subservient ones. We have become submissive. Chivalry is not dead, but it has been distorted and denigrated. There are many of us who still wish to open doors for ladies and pay for meals. However, we also capitulate to women with regard to finances, discipline of our children, and making sure everyone is ready for church on Sunday mornings.
We have mistaken showing love for giving up our leadership roles.
We fear being labeled a sexist at work, so we allow women to take promotions away from us. We fear being seen as oppressive in the home, so we hand total control of our children to our wives. Why are we so afraid to take control of what God has commanded us to do?
Society has become an emasculating force the likes of which have never been seen. While simultaneously being slammed for our privileged position in a “patriarchy” (a fancy term that is never truly understood by those who use it), the ham-handed media forces television shows and films featuring “strong” women down our gullets. Sometimes these women are business leaders. Other times they are supposed to be physically dangerous heroines that save the day through martial arts or expert weapon usage. Reality does not reflect these vain imaginations, but the idea is to brainwash us into thinking it not only possible, but normal.
It is not. Nor should it be.
Of course, this is not an excuse for men to belittle women. Just because God commanded women to be subservient to their husbands, we do not get to treat women like second class citizens. In fact, God commanded men to LOVE their wives. We don’t love our slaves or servants. We love ourselves, do we not? We should love women with as much vigor as we love ourselves.
How is it possible to do this in today’s effeminate society without compromising our strength and leadership?
- We should not compromise our competitive nature for anyone, but we should show everyone compassionate sportsmanship. Win with grace. Lose with dignity. This can be at work, where you fight hard for that promotion, but don’t be dirty about it. Earn it. If you are rewarded, avoid rubbing others’ faces in it. If you are passed up, congratulate the victor. If your main competition is a woman, admire her drive, but do not capitulate. If your new boss just happens to be a woman, treat them with the respect that the POSITION requires.
- Make sure to have the final word at home. Many men operate under the “doctrine of separate spheres.” That is, the woman’s sphere is the home and the men’s sphere is outside the home; never the twain shall meet. It is a bit old fashioned, but there is some merit there. Sure, some men end up being stay-at-home dads, but even those who are the breadwinners should know what is happening inside their houses. Regardless of how busy you believe you are, you can still do a budget and help raise your children.
The one of the top cited reasons for divorce is money (along with poor communication). The Bible says “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Thus, finances are clearly important. A true leader understands that they should be in charge of the most important things in any relationship. So you, as the leader of your home, must handle the budget.
There is a ton of research out there that shows that the best thing that can happen to a child is to be raised in a two parent household where they are both loved and disciplined. Moms should never be responsible for doing both while dad coldly closes off his relationship with the child. Mothers are naturally nurturing (sorry, social justice warriors). Men are also naturally dominant (sorry, feminists). Men are physiologically more intimidating. We tend to be larger and have deeper voices. This is a great tool for disciplining a child. In a two-parent home, it allows a “good cop-bad cop” game. Accept it, and use it.
I would like to give a special shout-out to the single parents who must play both roles. Your task is that much more difficult; but should you find a suitable spouse after raising kids alone, allow your new mate to step into the proper role. Men, allow your new wife to love and care for your children. Women, allow your new husband to do the budget and discipline your children. It is always scary to give up power to another, but that is the essence of marriage.
- Be the spiritual leader in your home. Men should be the ones who make sure everyone knows that the family is going to church in the morning. Men should be the ones to suggest prayer at the dining room table and before bedtime. Men should be the ones who step into leadership roles at the church. I believe this is where we, as society, are lacking the most. There is a shortage of strong, spiritual men.
We sleep in because of a massive hangover. We stay home to watch football. We once again give our wives complete control over the children, so that mom ends up leading prayer. We fail to study God’s word, and those of us who do often do it so privately that our wives and kids do not see us doing it.
Most importantly, we do not live a spiritual life. Our kids know when we have a cigarette or a shot of whiskey. They copy our language when we cuss out a telemarketer. They mimic to others our tone when we constantly shout. They may eventually find our stash of pornography or overhear a conversation when we talk bad about our pastors. We must take responsibility for our actions, and understand that we are role models for others — whether we want to be or not.
Our number one role model for masculinity is Jesus Christ. He was a strong, spiritual leader. He inspired multitudes of followers. He also expressed his love in a plethora of ways from constant companionship to dying for us. He respected even the lowest on the social acceptability ladder and treated everyone like they were worthy of his time.
If men in our society were to implement compassion with unfettered leadership as Christ did, all of us would be better off. Rather than choosing one path or the other, we need to be more complete. We are not only made in Christ’s image, but we can do all things through him.
At the very least, just try to be a better human being.