Today, for part 2 of our masculinity series, we have a guest post. On a subject like masculinity I felt it would be interesting to get a female perspective, so today we have a post by @God_loves_women – a prominent womans advocate, tweeter and writer. She is married and lives in the UK, and prefers for safety reasons to keep her identity confidential.
As a woman, writing a blog on masculinity, I am not sure what qualifications I have. I have a father, a brother, a son and I am married to a man. So perhaps that is where I should start.
My husband had been single for over a decade when we got married and had read every relationship book going. A favourite of his was “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray.
I really appreciated his commitment to growing himself and his relationships but (there’s always a but isn’t there…?) I really struggled with the fact anytime he did anything that bothered me he would justify himself by saying, “It’s because I’m a man.”
Now if he had said it was because he had learned to behave in that way, or because he felt like it, or because he was just extremely irritating; I could have coped, but making it about his manhood somehow made it unchangeable, irrevocable and an almost God ordained way of being.
Often we can think that masculinity is fixed and there is a “one size fits all” element to it; something I’ve learned to refer to as the “man box”. This is a dangerous and extremely pervasive myth, seen as fact by many within the Christian community.
This box squashes men into a particular shape, one that usually requires physical strength, limited emotional ability, financial provision for the family and wielding power and authority (in a loving servant hearted way of course).
The reality is that the man box cannot do justice to the unique and awesome way God has created each one of us. He has given us all specific gifts, talents and abilities. What the man box does is prevent men from fully recognising everything God is calling them to be, it becomes about conforming to the man box, rather than living out the fullness of life Jesus calls each one of us to.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
My husband and I spent a lot of time and heated discussion on whether it was because “he was a man” and we concluded that, some of it was learned behaviour, some of it was because of expectations from society/culture/church and some of it was because that’s who God has made him to be (and I’ve learned to – just about – love those parts).
Rather than focusing on what it means to be a Christian man or woman, I believe it is much more important considering who God made us to be; what are our gifts and talents? What are our weaknesses and failings that we need God to transform within us? Our goal must always be to love the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and soul and to love our neighbour as ourselves.
As the Holy Spirit enables us to do this we will grow in the characteristics that really matter:
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Do you agree with God_loves_women?
Is the ‘man-box’ limiting to men?
How can men break free of this box?
How does this influence our views of masculinity & femininity, and gender issues?
God_loves_women loves God with all her heart & hopes to share the truth of God’s love for women & her frustration when His body ignores this truth & puts down and devalues women. You can follow her on Twitter at @God_loves_women and find her writing online at God-loves-women.webs.com