While my plans were to satisfy my interest in other things, a couple of questions by readers got me thinking and changed my posting plans for this week.
As a response to Encouraging Masculinity in Marriage, one reader commented that, while she agreed with the content, she was frustrated by the perception that so much Christian writing focused on the wife, placing the burden the concept of submission, and letting the man off the hook.
So, what does it mean for a man to be masculine in a marital relationship?
Masculinity and femininity were made to respond to each other. (see Image Part 1: Created in God’s Image) Since God looks first to the man for responsibility in the marriage, this is an important question.
It is on the man to be rooted in Christ so he can live in a masculine way. (see The Making of a Man) If your motivation as a husband is to keep your wife happy, that goal has more to do with your misplaced identity rather than her welfare. <– tweet that.
A man initiates.
Being in Christ helps eliminate fear of rejection.
Initiate emotionally. Handle your woman’s heart well, it is a delicate thing. Ask questions and listen.
Demonstrate vulnerability and make room for it in return. Communicate clearly and live in truth. Allowing her to support rather than going it alone.
Initiate physically. As a man, it is great when our wives initiate physically – both sexually and non-sexually. There is a time for that. But don’t make that the default. It communicates expectations and physical intimacy will begin to be filled with resentment.
A man leads spiritually.
Masculinity/femininity and leadership are such hot button issues. A lot of that is due to mankind’s brokenness and both sex’s use of the other to satisfy false identity issues. Women have leadership skills. That cannot be denied.
A husband, though, is called to guide his wife toward and identity in Christ. And away from an identity in the security of the marital relationship.
That is part of the purpose of marriage: two people becoming aware of their own brokenness as another rubs against it. Then allowing the truth of Jesus to mend the brokenness.
A man provides security.
Even while showing her that her ultimate security is in Christ, a man provides a secure relationship environment for his wife. She should not have to wonder who you are looking at, what her standing in your life is, where provision is coming from, etc.
(Does this mean the man should be the primary bread-winner? Depends. Jesus and the disciples were funded from the means of a group of women followers. Look it up. The key is faithfulness to Jesus and living in a masculine role. One size does not fit all.)
Security is a primary need of most women. It allows her to bloom and be all God created her to be. In the absence of security, women will attempt to manufacture it in other ways (see Eve).
A man loves.
Like Christ loves the church. This is the weight of the marriage relationship. Christ willingly gave his life for the church. A husband is willing to sacrifice his self for his wife.
If men had historically done this better, with an identity rooted in Christ rather than the marriage, wife, control, authority or power, submission to a husband who loves would not be such a controversial topic.
This man puts his wife’s needs alongside his own. Building her up as a representation of who he is in Christ, rather than tearing her down.
A man is differentiated.
Not distant. Not needy. Having an identity satisfied in Christ.
Then he can love without expectation of a return.
Then he can show grace without feeling tread upon.
Then he can show forgiveness without feeling used.
Masculinity starts and ends with an identity rooted in Christ.
What other attributes of masculinity in marriage come to your mind?
Men, how do you struggle to BE masculine in marriage?