The Men’s Movement would have us believe a lot of things about what a “real man” is. After having read many of their blog/writings, I think their search for authentic masculinity has some hits and misses. They score many direct hits when they emphasize that real men need to be leaders and be reflect qualities of strength, confidence, power, authority and more. But I think they totally miss it if they think that real men should not express their emotions, particularly to the woman they are married to.
I am not at all suggesting the Feminist drivel that men need to get in touch with their feminine side, that they need to be sensitive snowflakes crying over things. Our society has allowed for the emasculation of males in doing this. In fact, I think we are moving beyond the emasculation of males to the infantization of them. Recently I was in Walmart and noted that in the men’s section they had what I would call “bunny suits” for grown men, like the footed sleepwear toddlers would wear. Example below:
But getting back to the issue of emotions, it has been very disturbing to me to read of men who refuse to hug their wives, kiss them or tell them that they love them because they claim that real men don’t express emotion. They claim Song of Solomon is purely erotic, overlooking the obvious affection displayed (Solomon spouts all kinds of endearments at his love), claims every other other example of coitus in the Bible is just that, pure sex and nothing else. Such drivel. I’m not sure what model of masculinity they are looking at, but I’m sure that even Vikings kissed.
Should men express emotion outside of marital intimacy? Jesus did. I can think of numerous examples of where Jesus had compassion on people, caring, kindness. He related to his followers the depths of God’s loving devotion to us in that God cares even if a sparrow falls to the earth. Jesus wept.
Love is more than just obligation and duty. Love is commitment, but to claim that it should be exclusive of emotion is false; agape, the highest form of love, includes affection. John the Apostle leaned on the bosom of Jesus–the Men’s Movement would probably call him a homosexual. The early church brethren gave each other a “holy kiss” which was common in the Middle East and Mediterranean cultures as a greeting. Jonathan, the son of Saul had a deep affection for David that was so heartfelt many have tried to claim it as homosexual feeling. David himself frequently expressed emotions throughout the Psalms and in his own feelings for Jonathan said that his love surpassed that of women. If men could feel these things for each other, it is preposterous for “real men”, particularly CHRISTIAN men to claim that they can’t express emotion for their wives.
Should a man express love for her? Certainly, Solomon did. Jacob did. Should he express appreciation of her? The scripture tells us he must hold her in high esteem (part of agape). Should he treat her as special? Paul said the Bride of Christ is a gift He gives to Himself.
A man and his wife are one flesh and they are to operate as one in serving Christ. The woman is his helpmate and his companion. Wives went with their husbands on missions in the Bible, and they were mentioned in the pastoral letters as impacting their husbands’s offices. For them to enjoy this singleness of purpose, there does need to be communication, and affection is a part of marital communication.
Communication though, is more than just words. It also includes actions, non-verbal expressions. I don’t think real men need to get in touch with their feminine sides, nor do they need to be constantly in conversation with their wives. I think they need to be honest and genuine in their communications. She is their co-heir in salvation after all. To close themselves off emotionally from her drains their marriage of real happiness and joy that both should be experiencing. Marriage is a great benefit to man and a symbol of God’s love for us, HIs people. Where Feminism seeks to drain men of their masculine nature, the Men’s Movement goes to the other extreme of draining them of their hearts and souls and turn them into pure Ego and Eros. What if they sought to be what God intended them to be, what He made them to be? Real men are capable of great affection and compassion. I hope they can find it.
Pamela Parizo © 2017