Being a ladies’ man, never settling down, not being a one-woman man….
For too long, these “values” have been allowed to crowd into the national consciousness as the definition of what is manly. That same conqueror mentality is what creates temptation in marriage. Often the desire to stray, while still fully the decision of the man, is also fed by societal images.
What are the headlines about celebrity marriage? Fourteen years for Broderick and Parker, or 72 days for Kim and Kris?
Many people think that the media glamorizes train wreck celebrity marriages and infidelity by reporting on them, but they miss one key point:
It’s being reported because it is not normal.
Here’s a parallel. There are millions of houses in the United States. A few catch fire each day and end up on the local news. Millions of others do not. That doesn’t mean it’s best that houses burn. It means that for a few unfortunate families, they experienced a departure from the norm.
There are plenty of other misperceptions about marriage in the public consciousness, which is precisely what author Mort Fertel discusses in his blog on the dynamics of marriage.
Just as there is a right way and a wrong way to meet women, there are better choices in how to maintain the marriage that could result from that meeting.
You communicate with your spouse. You care about your marriage, and you work to make it strong from the moment you meet your wife. If you have kids, you give them your full measure of devotion.
Unfortunately, these things get flagged as un-manly, as fluffy stuff for guys who don’t drive fast cars or follow sports. So here’s what makes them truly manly after all.
Communicating With Your Spouse
What are you afraid of? Hearing her thoughts on things? Despite some of the caveman thinking that exists, your wife is an equal partner in the marriage, and that means her input is on an equal footing with yours.
Remember that communication goes two ways. It’s not just about giving in to what she wants, it’s also about voicing what’s important to you and asserting your beliefs. From there you find a way to make things work for both of you.
Caring About Your Marriage
Your wife is an amazing treasure to you. She is worth hanging on to, yet some people think it’s manly to harbor enough apathy that you can walk away from the woman you once pledged your lifelong devotion to.
The fact is that there is nothing more masculine than being able to hold on to what is important to you, and there’s no truer measure of good old-fashioned male character than keeping your word.
Being Devoted To Your Kids
Somehow, hands-off fathering has gotten awfully trendy. Comedians think it’s great fun to have no idea what your kids’ birthdays are, what they want to be when they grow up, or when they next see the dentist.
Yet those same men think that their spawn are by far superior to that of lesser men. Just watch a little league game if you doubt that.
How is it possible that those two philosophies coexist? Either your kid is proof of your awesomeness, or your kid is a disruption to the silence in your house. You can’t have it both ways.
One of the studs of the NFL right now is Peyton Manning. His dad–a tough, old-school quarterback himself–was also a hugging, supportive, in-the-bleachers dad to Peyton and his two brothers. All three have turned out to be successful men, by no means “sissies.”
Being a masculine dad is being a good dad. The two traits don’t just tolerate each other, they support each other.
A marriage has two partners of equal value, who should exhibit a similar level of gender character. The noise and confusion of society can’t change that. Real men–and real women–maintain healthy, loving marriages.