I talk a lot here about perceptions we have about sexuality that affect our the marital intimacy we experience. I’ve come to understand that we are also hampered at times by what we believe about the opposite sex. Wives often have a perspective about men generally that makes it difficult to trust their own husband.Wives often have a perspective about men generally that makes it difficult to trust their own husband. Click To Tweet
You know the sort of assumptions I’m talking about, because we’ve all heard them:
Men are pigs.
Men are jerks.
Men are perverts.
Men only want one thing.
Men are idiots.
Men are porn addicts.
Men are selfish.
Men are clueless.
You could probably keep going with Men are phrases you’ve heard in female circles. But let’s move on to what I truly believe about men. Because I don’t believe a single one of those things is inherently true.
What I believe about men colors how I view their approach to sex in marriage. Let’s get started with truths that I’ve observed, heard, studied, and talked to guys directly about.
Men want love. They’re just like us in this regard. Most men desire a long-lasting, committed relationship with a single woman they choose to invest in day after day. Even if he “sowed wild oats” in his premarital days, his deep longing is for a companion with whom he can share life and love. It’s why over two-thirds of adult men are married, and half of single adults say they want to eventually marry. (I suspect a few of those “don’t want to marry” types will change their mind in the future.) I couldn’t find exact statistics, but doing a bit of head math based on what I found, I think between 80-90% of men get married at some point in their lives.
What distinguishes men and women is that love might look a little different to each. She might define it by a great romance, while he might be content with familiar companionship. She might consider expression of love to include hours of conversational intimacy, while he wants her to go with him on fishing trips. He might think that he said “I love you” last week and that still stands unless he says otherwise (my husband’s inclination), while she wants him to express ongoing appreciation and desire.
When the way you show love differs, you can start doubting that he loves you. Or that the male species in general even wants love. After all, it seems like what he really wants is good cooking, time with the TV remote, and lots of sex (assuming he’s the higher-drive spouse, which he may not be). How can that possibly be love?! I suggest you ask him what love looks like to him.
The Five Love Languages can also help you interpret your husband’s strange priorities. Just because it looks a little different to him doesn’t mean that his love doesn’t run deep and long.Just because it looks a little different to him doesn't mean that his love doesn't run deep and long. Click To Tweet
Most husbands can easily answer yes to “Would you take a bullet for your wife?” We don’t think that way, but they do. And it means something — just ask another guy.
Men struggle with lust. Your husband is a “red-blooded male,” which means that he’s got eyes, an imagination, functioning body parts, and he ain’t dead yet. God actually created him to be a sexual being who — when everything is firing the way it should — desires physical intimacy. If you and he were living alone like Eve and Adam, I doubt sexual lust would be such an issue. They didn’t have Internet porn, Victoria’s Secret posters, or other women in the Garden of Eden. In the way God intended, Adam’s visual appetite and sexual longing were met by the one woman he knew and loved — Eve.
Sounds nice, right? But it didn’t last. They had another kind of lust — a lust for power — and that led to sin entering the world. When that happened, the world broke, and now we have numerous obstacles to living the life God wants us to have. But let’s not get cynical here. Because God, being GOD, provided for our redemption and equips us to have victory.
That’s why godly married men struggle with lust. Godless men don’t struggle. They give in. So even when I hear terrible statistics about the number of Christian men who have been exposed to or sought out porn, I don’t lose hope. Because a large percentage of them are racked with guilt and know that God wants something better.
As strong as men can be, many of them are in the fight of their lives against the real enemy, Satan, who wants nothing more than for men to give up and our marriages to crumble.
It’s a struggle, not a foregone conclusion. Men aren’t pigs or perverts or porn addicts, just by virtue of being men. Satan is doing his usual: he takes what God gave as a gift (sexual desire) and twists it into something horrible (lust outside of marriage). If a man is struggling to stay out of the quicksand, I’m not going to yell obscenities at him; I’m going to throw the poor guy a rope. And I believe every wife, every church, and the Church in general should be clear about this struggle and poised to bring people out of sin.
Men need tangibles. I truly dislike that getting my guys to clean the house involves me writing a list of to-dos they can work from. I simply don’t understand how they can’t scan the house, like I do, and see everything that would be involved in the simple phrase clean house. But after many discussions with them, and sharing notes with other wives and moms, I’ve stopped fighting biology and accepted that men work better with tangibles.
I think this is so true in marriage too. If you tell a husband you want to be more romantic, what does that mean? What does that look like? Most guys want to know. They might be willing to do what you want, if only they knew what you want. If you tell a hubby that you want to be more affectionate, he might appreciate you telling him that means holding hands while you’re taking a walk, kissing when you part and when you come back together, and having long hugs without overt groping. Now he knows what it looks like.
Many men even take abstract concepts and define them with concrete things: What’s romantic? Flowers. What’s sexy? Lingerie. What’s intimacy? Sex. Breaking it down into aspects they can see in their heads helps them know what to expect and what to do. Men tend to be more task-focused, so translating desires into tangible actions gives him something to work on. But nebulous complaints? What’s a husband to do with that?
Men don’t understand women. Some men do, but they’re a minority. I’m not saying men are idiots or men are clueless. Rather, we ladies aren’t really easier for them to understand than they are for us to understand. Our gender differences run deep, past the exterior distinctions down to our brain structure and chemistry.
I’ve often had to explain to my husband how a woman’s brain works or how women would likely react to a situation that’s different from men. And having two teenage sons, I know this isn’t a singular experience. I live with three men, and none of them understand women. Not really.
Which I why I think it’s really silly to fault guys for not doing things that we ladies think are obvious. Is it really obvious to him? One of my personal pet peeves is the line of thinking that culminates in such statements as: He should know what I’m thinking. He should know what’s wrong. Why doesn’t he know how I feel? Husbands aren’t psychics.Husbands aren't psychics. Click To Tweet
Moreover, your heart and mind probably work very differently from his. So of course he doesn’t understand you! Which is one of the reasons God gave us language.
Give the guy a break and explain to him what you — a woman, and a unique woman — are thinking, feeling, and wanting. He doesn’t “get” you, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t willing to listen and try.
Okay, guys, it’s time to shoot holes in my assumptions. Or you wives can add to my list! What would you put on your Man Manifesto — meaning what do you truly believe about men?