Fighting for Our Men: A Challenge to Any Woman for Any Man

Imagine five women: two married (one with kids), and three single gals. All around thirty, give or take. We’re at the Opryland Hotel, piled on a hotel bed and various spots on the floor, one with legs draped over the side of an ivory recliner. It’s close to midnight. And we’re talking..about guys, of course.

Recently, it’s been encouraging. Instead of hearing the “There are no REAL men to date. Just boys. Boys without jobs. Boys who play too much Call of Duty. Boys with too many other girls who are friends. Boys who live at home. Boys who don’t open doors,” we had a totally different conversation.

“Do you think that sometimes guys feel like they can’t be men because we’re always telling them that they’re boys?” asked my friend sitting next to me on the bed.

Yes, yes, a million times yes.

Man waterfall

It is easy to look around and see a world where men are tethered to their jobs, their phones, their parents…whatever gives them a sense of security and identity. Please don’t misread: women are as equally tethered to the things we find our value in. Somehow, we’ve found away, in spite of our competitive and comparative nature, to still champion one another – or at least help each other know we aren’t alone. From my very limited conversations with men, my husband included (who bleeds the desire to connect and grow with other men), it doesn’t happen so easily for them.

Generally speaking, women wired to nurture. Men are wired to protect. And because so many of us have experienced a man letting us down in our life (a father, a pastor, a priest, a spouse…), we have stepped into the role of protector so that we may feel nurtured. Safe. Free from being let down again.

If you’ve ever taken a sociology or human behaviors class, you know that once a group of people or culture changes a behavior, in time, that change has a profound effect on future human behavior. Just take a look at gender roles and how they shift with each passing decade. When the women of a culture tell men (by showing them) we don’t need them, it’s completely natural for the men to adapt to not being needed.

Instead of thinking the men of whatever generation are not men, maybe we can change our beliefs about them. By changing the way we think, I believe it will have a profound effect on how we act toward them – directly and indirectly. 

Man / Forest

I know in many situations, I’ve not always believed the best about my husband, Tim…even when one of the (many!) reasons he was able to break into my heart and steal it is because of his strong leadership and desire to protect and care for me.

We were one month into our marriage and finalizing details for our move to Nashville. We drove from Iowa to Tennessee and stayed with friends as we looked at renting and buying and where we should live. The cost of living in Nashville is about three times as much as it is in the Quad Cities area, so the sticker shock was a lot to take in.

I really (really, really) wanted to live in one area close to my friends and the community I’m used to living in. We had a little bit of debt to pay off, but we had the money to make the move happen without it stretching us too far financially. I thought it was a done deal until Tim proposed the idea of waiting three more months so that the debt could be paid and we could head into it without the guillotine of interest rates hanging over our heads.

In the living room of our friends’ home, with them present, I started crying/getting angry/being stubborn/wanting my way/and was pretty much on the border of a temper tantrum.

“Why don’t you want me to move back and live with my friends?!”

In one (loving) sentence, he shut my selfishness and my assumptions on his motivation down.

“The reason I want to wait three months is so I can give you this; so we can do this together, easier, and so you can have what your heart desires most.”

I see the power of my words, my passive responses to him, and the false beliefs I project on him and how they tear away at his innate desires to care for me and love me. When I show a lack of respect for him or my unwillingness to believe he has my best interest at heart fires away at him with 45-caliber force, I’m telling him I’m strong enough on my own. I can protect myself.

These things that hurt men, whether we’re married to them or not.

My friend that asked if sometimes men act like boys because of the way culture tells them to wrapped up our estrogen-filled talk time with a generous and love-filled thought:

“Whoever my future husband is, I pray he has women around him who are showing him he’s strong, he’s capable, and who are praying for him and encouraging him along the way, no matter where he is in his journey.”

May we all take on that countenance with the men in our lives: our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, our friends. May our thoughts, words and actions only build them up so they have one less voice telling them they’ll never be man enough.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, hateful or rude. Let's be grown ups here!

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17 thoughts on “Fighting for Our Men: A Challenge to Any Woman for Any Man

  1. OUCH!

    This really struck a nerve. For years I called all single men boys, and I still struggle with actually calling them men. Your comment “When the women of a culture tell men (by showing them) we don’t need them, it’s completely natural for the men to adapt to not being needed.” hit me right where God has been trying to speak into my life. Until I was into my thirties, I allowed many men to hurt me and since have stepped into that protector role. It is one that is super hard for me to step out of!

  2. Anne, I tried to respond to your reply and couldn’t figure it out! I wanted to say your comment made me realize that maybe my biggest struggle is in allowing God to be my protector. Something to pray over as I go on my walk today! Thanks

  3. This made me cry. At work!

    I was just telling my mom last week that I would be happy to follow a man if God would just provide one worthy of following! I’m very supportive in the beginning of a relationship, but as it goes along, as the man reveals more and more of himself to me (his faults), I trust him less and less. I stop letting him be in control- be the leader, and I start second-guessing him. Although I now see that this is a misguided effort to protect myself ((“And because so many of us have experienced a man letting us down in our life (a father, a pastor, a priest, a spouse…), we have stepped into the role of protector so that we may feel nurtured. Safe. Free from being let down again.”)), it really just undermines him and forces him to adapt to being superfluous. What i got from this article is that I need to be braver and trust God more. Thank you.

  4. Excellent Anne. When my husband and I married, it was not the first time around for either of us. At our wedding I gave him back a ring that he had given me and I told him it came with extra promises, that I would encourage and support him as both the physical and spiritual head of our household, that I would never us sex as a weapon or a tool. and that I would do all I could to honor him with my words and my actions both in public and in private. These three promises that were given to my by God to give to my husband, have first and foremost changed me. The way I think, act, and speak toward myself and my husband. By empowering change first in me, I in turn am empowering my husband to be a man. Our men need us to need them. And other women need women to teach, encourage, and equip them to show their men how to stand up and be men.

  5. My husband is 10 years older and more conservative than me. I love to travel, go on a whim and think about having fun. Yes we both want to pay down debt but for me it’s come down to this argument lately: we’ve had a hard year, I’ve saved to take a trip to see a friend that is getting married so I won’t travel to see her right now. So I want to take that money and put it towards a trip with my husband to Paris. He said Paris will be there someday later, we have to pay debt. I find ways to throw in Paris or French ideas or quotes here and there hoping he will come around to see my way a bit more because he is so hung up on paying off all our debt. There is no way we’ll pay it all off in the next 20 years with a mortgage, etc. He knew when he married me I couldn’t NOT travel and we want to start a family this year. I’m afraid we’ll stop having fun altogether.

    So this article is perfect because it reminds me there is compromise but there is also reasoning behind what we all want to do. Husbands just think differently and want to provide, not just go off on a lark. It’s why we marry them—they ground us. So while I try to honor him I also try to honor my passion for travel and find ways to do it while in the meantime crossing my fingers Paris won’t be so far away after all. Maybe 

  6. I find that I call them boys just because I don’t want them to be men…I don’t want to entrust them with the title man until they prove it…but they can only prove it if I entrust it to them. Kind of sucks….

  7. Anne, I think us men need to realize (a) that even if we’re the “senior partner” in a marriage, our wives ARE still partners, not servants; (b) that Jesus taught us that greatness comes by serving, and that includes serving our wives; and perhaps (c) that the several Scriptures that say “the first shall be last, and the last first” might just caution us men to not make our wives servants in this life, or in the next life we might find we’ve become theirs!

    Very good thoughts and comments. I enjoyed this whole set of blogs.

  8. I think what I wrote above applies equally to both men and women – if both serve the other, if both are givers and not takers, both will find the marriage very fulfilling and it will have a very solid foundation. Those of us who look at our wives as servants and not partners make it very hard for our wives to want to fight for us. When one does, in spite of us, she’s a gem!

  9. Thank you for writing this! As men, we’ve been guilty of ogling and objectifying rather than admiring and respecting. Over the years (esp. in four different public schools) I’ve often been very disappointed (and frankly, shocked) at the immature attitudes and lack of respect toward women; even in the Christian workplace(!). But thankfully, not all guys are like that. You are beautiful as God designed you to be, and some of us genuinely want to respect you.

    BTW, another excellent two-part article on this:

    http://choosetotrust.com/2013/04/men-and-women-episode-1/