Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Missing Manhood

This post stems from a terrible trend that needs to be called out.  

Here is the post

"I’ve decided that I must apologize for my endeavors of late. (X) year(s) ago this week I tricked one of societies most sweet, loving, and wonderful members into marrying such a wretch as myself. In order to repay my debt.... I vow to serve and honor, paying due respect to this marvelous individual who is my wife. I shall love her for all eternity and ever be grateful for her sacrifice..."

Or here is another:

_________ made me the luckiest guy in the world by letting me marry her.

And another:  This is what married men do on Saturdays... i.e. Whatever their wives say so they can watch football Saturday night.

There is a bit of a trend among male church members that is illustrated by this. It's the "put self down, in order to elevate the woman" thing. The idea of respecting, and showing love towards women in our life is of course good.  But if done at the expense of yourself, and in a way that makes her loose any and all confidence in the man, then a wake up call is in order.  Especially that second example communicates that sometimes guys value themselves as the object of a woman's pity and luck.  Instead of being a mature man, who adds value to her life.  It's that he's "lucky".  Instead of saying "how lucky he is" he could instead point how how wonderful his wife is, and how he is not a half bad catch himself.  It affirms her intelligence in that she chose a great guy.

This is part of a bigger societal problem.  In the media, TV, and Movies, men are becoming more and more portrayed as weak, fat, slobs, loosers, or incompetent.  Even in Disney movies the men are becoming the ones who need to be rescued.  They have lost the protector and provider roles.  They are often objects of laughter.  That is not manhood.  I think men are being emasculated and it's not good.    

But along the lines of the original quote.  If someone needs to apologize sincerely for something, they should. However, sometimes guys will speak about their wife, and in that context "by contrast" will lower themselves even below a level of self respect. I don't fully know why this occurs. The above post is just one example. It undermines their own good qualities and in the process make it difficult for their spouse to develop and maintain respect for them. This should cause warning flags. Being humble before God is good. Humility, and respect in a relationship is also good. However this other stuff that happens when talking about the opposite sex is downright painful. I've never met a female who actually liked it, I've asked many many of them.

Sometimes its sarcastic, and will get a laugh, or a small gesture of  semi-affection "awww". However, there is more going on under the surface. These kinds of comments shows that a guy does not know how to indirectly communicate. Some guys even do this weird public humility thing and say from the pulpit that "their wife got the poor end of the marriage deal".  Or how he "Married up".   How is that supposed to make her feel?  So they did she marry down?  Is that going to increase her respect and confidence in him? How could it? The translation of that comment is: "I"m pretty much a looser, a bum, and not likely to ever change".  Not a good message to send. Ever.  Then she too looks dumb.  This kind of talk isn't worth any number of cheap laughs. It can leave the other party feeling complimented but at the same time very empty, and sometimes embarrassed.

Common sense tells us a woman would want to be able to respect the men in their life, and would like to have confidence in him.  But guys sometimes make it so incredibly hard for them to do so because they don't think about what they are saying.  At some point we all need to become aware of what we indirectly communicate by our words and thoughtless actions.  It's mind boggling when you actually think about it.  There is no real good reason for a man to make himself look like a total idiot in order to compliment his wife. Perhaps it's that we've heard others do it, and so we do.  But no matter how many people do a thing, numbers do not make it right.

Now I have to say that of course it's ok to acknowledge and work to better the things in your life that need to change. Obviously. And it can be done in a mature way.  I've seen guys demonstrate incredible public humility appropriately.  What I'm talking about is not that.

I think we would all much more enjoy seeing a man who honors and respects the women in his life, while at the same time showing a confident mature masculinity from inside him.  Showing that he was actually a good choice of spouse even if he has things he is working to improve.  This is "manhood".  But it seems to sometimes be missing, and it's a tragic loss.  It sets a poor example.  Now I'm not saying to be self absorbed, or be domineering.  No, it's just a simple, mature, old school, God given confident manhood.  Sort of like an anchor in a way.  Solid, secure, grounded, and able to handle a storm.

Jesus taught that praying and fasting "to be seen of men" is not helpful.  I wonder if being humble "to be seen of men" or "to be seen of your spouse" is not a good idea either.  Worth thinking about anyway.

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For an enjoyable and highly entertaining website on the lost art of manliness and a host of great articles go here:  www.artofmanliness.com  

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