The Sweet Christian Bride

Wild at Heart

by admin on February 14, 2013 in Relationship, Spouse with No Comments

On Valentine’s Day 2011, an article by Kay S. Hymowitz  called “Why Men Pop the Question” was published on CNN.com.  It was a timely article considering so many proposals occur on Valentine’s Day.  Her thesis was that despite the benefits of our egalitarian world, men still want to be men.  Popping the question is a way for the man to assert his initiative for the woman.  Beyond that, the display with which he proposes “proves” his worth to the woman he desires.

We see this same design in peacocks and insects and nearly every species of the animal kingdom.  Even in our myths and lore, the suitor has to slay the dragon in order to win the favor of the princess.  And closer to home, men have historically been responsible for presenting a dowry as proof that they will be able to provide and sacrifice for the woman they love.

As Hymowitz says, “The proposal provides a ritual forcing him to show that he is thoughtful, capable, loving and sincere.  In other words, that he will be a good husband and father.”

As I was reading the article, I was reminded of John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart (every wife should read this!), which explores the notion that men need permission to be men.  In a culture with practically no rite of passage into manhood, one of blended genders and political correctness, men often feel pressure to conform to the mold of tame, docile, callow robots instead of adventurous, confident, heroic men.

What that can bring to the marriage is a husband who feels smothered, who guards his self-interest more jealously than he guards his wife’s best interest, who cowers in the face of challenge, and who feels resentful without really understanding why.

I joked to Chris saying that God should have made women the head of the marriage because so many of us are dragging our reluctant husbands along for the ride.  Why not give into the common dynamic instead of work to undo deeply ingrained instincts of control in women and complacency in men?

He laughed and then told me his theory as to why it’s such a struggle for men to step up in the marriage.  Throughout history, leadership in the home was thrust upon men even if it was not in their nature to lead.  And so men stepped up.  They had to.  In the generational obedience of stepping up, men learned how to be the protector, the provider, the stalwart, and the chivalrous.

When women’s rights rang out across the nation and in many parts of the world, that expectation was lost.  Women’s rights is an excellent thing; it’s for good reason that men aren’t expected to be men anymore.  Women are growing in confidence and world impact, and men are learning how to nurture.  This is all good.  But we do need to be aware of how the pendulum never swings halfway.

Hymowitz voices this same realization: “Some readers will doubtless rue the tired gender rules and status displays that define the contemporary proposal.  But growing up in a culture whose idea of asking for a date is a midnight text message asking “u free?” a young man doesn’t face many opportunities to demonstrate manly initiative in the romance department.”

As a wife, we have the prized opportunity to let our men be men.  All of us who bemoan the fact that we are leading our husbands spiritually, health-wise, socially, financially, or in whatever capacity, can let go of the reins and give our husbands a chance to lead us.

Marriage is such a gift from God.  Despite the pendulum of culture’s trends, God always intends marriage as an opportunity to better the husband and the wife, transforming each more into His image as He created us to be.




© Liv Friis-larsen – Fotolia.com

Article was originally published on February 16, 2011

By Lindsay

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