By Zach Goodrow
Please excuse my recent delay in writing to you. I’ve been preoccupied with many things; predominantly raising your cousin. He’s a handful, as I am sure you are aware. But hey, what can you do? Boys will be boys.
I say that last sentence rather tongue in cheek because I know the culture hates it. Though I do not know if that fully describes the depth of the situation. If I’m honest with you, Charlotte, I think the culture hates the phrase because the culture hates boys. This, however, is not because of any crime the boys have committed, but it is because of an offense that they will commit; it is because boys are destined to become men and the greatest sin anyone can commit in our time is to be a man. But do not forget that manliness is no sin. In fact, it is a gift from God.
So what does that mean for you, dear Charlotte? You who have been blessed with fascinating femininity. It means, child, that unless you want to have an intimate relationship with one who is expected to think, act, and speak exactly like you, you may need to look to other sources for what you are looking for in a man.
That source should primarily be Scripture, if you are to live a fulfilled and godly life. So what does Scripture require of the one who is meant to be your opposite, yet your equal?
It requires that he must be masculine, so that you can be feminine. In the chronicle of creation, man was created from the dirt and woman was crafted from the man. This means that before we decided to add a distinction of race, or before there was a separation between the rich and the poor, there was male and female. The color of Adam and Eve’s skin did not matter (it’s not even mentioned), and their possessions consisted of both everything and nothing. But they were explicitly male and female as was the rest of creation.
These qualities also require roles. And the role of the male, of the masculine, is to create, to cultivate, to defend, to lead, and to destroy. None of that is “toxic”, no matter what the world may tell you. Masculinity drove out the wolves when we were in caves. Masculinity built gates and walls to keep out evil. Masculinity built our roads, powered our houses, defended our borders, and moved the mountains.
I do not say these things to discount the role of the feminine, which is just as essential as the masculine. However, femininity is not under attack today. The world isn’t asking you to be less womanly. It’s asking men to be less manly because masculinity is not tamable.
I must alert you Charlotte, that a masculine man will not be a safe man. Just as our masculine God is no safe God. Any man worthy of your affection should not be merely safe. I do not mean, of course, that he should be a threat to you. A masculine man will never be a threat to you. Though he should not be a threat to you, he should be a threat. You should be safe around him precisely because he is not safe, but he should be good.
If he is good then he should know that this world has evil in it. And that the evil in the world is not found out there in a political party or nation. That the evil in the world is found in the heart of every individual. And since he is an individual, he should know that evil is in his heart… and that evil is in yours. And the destroying aspect of his masculinity should be focused on killing the evil in the hearts of himself and those around him. This is why he must be the leader.
Look for a man who will lead with the spine that God has given him. If you see a man who cannot make decisions or who crumples when people oppose him, keep him as a friend only. If he will not stand firm on the Word of God, he will not stand firm on your relationship, so beware. You will not be satisfied with a wet blanket, or a milquetoast man. The reason why you won’t is because eventually you will want to start a family, and you will not want to raise both your kids and your husband.
Look for a masculine man Charlotte. One who will lead you into a wonderful Christian life. One who sanctifies you and makes you more like Jesus. One who will tell you no, and mean it. One who speaks the truth and does not cower because of it. One who listens to you and cares for you gently, but protects you fiercely and diligently. These things are non-negotiable. Whether or not he has a beard and smokes cigars might be good indicators of his masculinity, but the better markers are how formidable his spine happens to be.
Because maleness and femaleness goes all the way down to our DNA, there will be times that you will not understand him, and vice versa. But that does not mean that his masculinity is toxic, or that your femininity is flawed. Just because we cannot understand everything about the way God operates does not make him a toxic God. This simply means that we are different which is a wonderful thing because we were designed to be different.
Pookie, when the time comes, look for a man who stands up straight with his shoulders back, who has his face set like flint on the immoveable mountain of God’s purpose for him, and who clenches his jaw in the face of a threat to you or your family. Do not buy the lie of the world that masculinity is toxic. Do not let this present darkness convince you that you need someone who is sensitive and tame. Ask your aunts and your grandmother, men are not easy to deal with. But they are worth dealing with.
God designed us with differences on purpose. There shouldn’t be two people who think exactly the same in a marriage. If that were the case, one of the parties would be unnecessary. Masculinity is good. Femininity is good. Both are necessary for a habitable world. Though both can be ignored to the detriment of the individual and those around them, neither are toxic.
Celebrate the men in your life. Don’t participate in the emasculation of men around you. Fear strong men, but be terrified of weak men.