Being Masculine in Marriage

Posted on June 23, 2013 | 31 comments

I’ve been on a little bit of a role here on the blog, with masculinity being the theme of many of the posts in the last couple months. (see The Opposite of Masculinity and Men and Women, Episode 2)

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?

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  1. Thanks for unpacking this for us, Scott. And I agree with your commenter that most bloggers focus on the woman’s role in submission. I suppose that’s because there are so many Christian women bloggers out there. So it’s refreshing to have the man’s point of view–especially since you take it clearly from scripture. Great job, as always, my friend!

    • Agreed on the number of Christian women bloggers. Where are all the dudes? Trying hard to find more men to connect with in this world. If anyone out there has recommendations, feel free to pass them on!

      • I hear ya, Scott. Sometimes my husband writes on Messy Marriage, but he often feels overwhelmed by his job and doesn’t make the time. I did ask him the other day when he’d write for MM next and he’s considering something. So I hope you’ll come over and support him when he does. Thanks for offering your male and husbandly perspective here. We all need to hear it!

      • A new facebook page was started recently by the husband of the author of Time-Warp Wife. I think it’s Time-Warp Husband. As of now he doesn’t have a blog for himself but I think if enough interest is shown he may.

        I love this post and can’t thank you enough for writing it. AS you said the men sort of get left behind in these discussions.

        Found you via the I am Eve blog hop and am truly happy I did. I am now a new follower via RSS. Can’t wait to see more of your writing.

  2. Excellent post, Scott. With, “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,” being a pivotal statement. Thanks for grappling with this tough subject. I give you and all other men contemplating this issue a lot of credit.

  3. A man covers his wife. And what a blessed and fortunate place it is to know I am fully covered.

  4. Yes, a man initiates, leads, protects, loves and certainly is different than a woman – Praise God. Yes, there are some excellent men bloggers out there. Floyd is one that you will probably enjoy! Here is his address

  5. I agree with the other commenters – some profound statements in this post. It is refreshing to think about a man’s role in marriage since (in blog land) we often read about what women should be doing. I think that marriage is about sacrifice, and putting the other first, for both men and women. We have to do that for one another in a myriad of ways, every day. Thinking of Christ and his example makes that possible.

  6. I love the reference to the women who followed, supported (both physically and financially) and helped Jesus! Thanks for this article which so clearly addresses a topic that sometimes gets left out.

  7. 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.
    This is one of our beartraps as women. Many of us were told that it WAS his job to make us happy and when he couldn’t, we felt betrayed.
    We are all, of course, to find our primary happiness in God and as I read your list of what men should do, I have to agree in principle, but the list seems just as daunting as the folklore of keeping a wife happy. How can a man truly do all that?
    We are all so broken, so damaged, so sinful. I think the best I can expect is a husband who loves God, tries his best, and fails, and love him anyway.

  8. I’ve found that a Christ-Masculine husband allows both of us liberation to soar – excellent, honest post!

  9. Yes, when we BOTH find our identity in Christ, and don’t expect the other to fulfill us, then our marriage will truly be a partnership and a glory to God! Thanks so much for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party today! 🙂

  10. Good one. The world gets caught up in the lies that lead to insecurities of flesh and mind. God’s truth is perfect and when we live as you’ve described as men our families and ourselves are at peace with God and one another… easier said than done, but it’s what we strive for.

    Great thoughts on the women supporting Christ, I’d not heard that used in this application, but makes the perfect point.

  11. It’s always so refreshing to hear your perspective. My blog-reader is filled with mostly women’s voices. Thanks for this. I also have to say, I was reminded while reading your words, how God has given me a great man with whom to share this life. He personifies much of what you say here. Yes, I’m boasting. But I’m feeling quite blessed. 🙂

    • Thanks. Loved your blog today about control issues. Great stuff.

  12. I am lucky to have a husband like this.

  13. Stopping by from Thrilling Thursdays link-up. What a great blog! I have a loving Godly husband but due to my personality I prefer to lead which leaves me exhausted and frustrated. Thanks for the reminder that we should allow our husbands to lead.

  14. Dear Scott
    Great way to explain a marriage as the relationship it actually is! When both partners consider the other as just as important, if not more than the other, I think it will be a great marriage!

  15. Thank you so much for these wise words, Scott. Going to share this link on our Longings End Facebook page.

  16. Thank you once again for communicating about masculinity in such a true to the Word way. Thank you for linking up to Thrilling Thursday once again!

  17. Hello! I found you on the Fun Friday Blog hop.

    I agree that masculinity is essential in marriage. Especially in how a husband treats his wife in front of the children. My husband is my king and he treats me like his queen. I want my daughter to see this and understand that she, too, deserves to be treated like a queen. And I want my boys to know their role and understand they are to treat their wives as queens, too.

    I also read you were looking for other Christian man bloggers. I’ve got a great one for you. He’s funny, too.

  18. I really like your blog and the desire God has given you to write about identity in Christ. My husband and I are passionate about that as well. He is a pastor who needs encouragement and is passionate about calling men up to be leaders in their marriages and families. I’ll send him your way! Keep going–this is great! Thanks for stopping by my site…

  19. I appreciate your words of wisdom, and thanks for stopping by Oh My Heartsie Reviews for linking this week.

  20. I’m visiting from the Bailey wellspring. I love that you are addressing this. There are too few real men in the world today, not necessary hunting fishing kind of men, but strong and godly leaders. I’m so thankful that my husband supports and encourages me.

  21. It’s very refreshing to get a male prospective! Thanks so much for linking up with us once more over at One Sharendipity Place!

    Sue@ The T2women

  22. “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.”

    Wow! I just came across your blog through a comment you left on another marriage-related site. Then to find this great exhortation! Thank you, sir, for putting this out there. It was an encouragement to me.

  23. Thank for sharing on Thank You Honey’s Whatever Wednesday party!! Hope to see you again this week!



  24. There aren’t many Christian men blogging out there nor many books written to men on marriage. There is a plethora of books and blogs on women and I am thankful for that since my job is to work on allowing God to transform *me* and not the other way around. Great post!!

    Thanks, Scott for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home this past week.

  25. Excellent, excellent post! This is such a needful topic today. This is a topic that is sadly lacking and I am so glad that you are tackling this very broad and complex topic! Thanks for linking this wonderful post up with me at A Little R & R Wednesdays. I hope you’ll be back by to link up again.

  26. Excellent post. While some men are very good contemplatives, in the core of our masculine being is a call to action and then getting the job done! I find Christian men who respond to the call not just by words and thought but by acting out the call of the gospel tend to have the happiest family lives. Their lives are just as hard as anyone’s, but they move forward in the joy of Christ and share it with the world in a lovely way. One Catholic organization that promotes men’s increased involvement in their families is the Knights of Columbus. Our monthly magazine (Columbia) has many inspirational examples of men leading their families towards Christ.

    Thanks for the excellent work…our family enjoys it.

    • Thanks, I’ll check out the resources you mentioned.

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