Another day, another anti-male post in the Christian blogosphere. A couple days ago, Patheos published 9 things married men need to stop doing by .
Here’s a point by point rebuttal:
1. Getting more excited about Fantasy Football than you get about your wife and kids.
It’s true that men should make raising their family their number one priority. But by saying that men need to stop getting excited about Fantasy Football, the author is really saying “Don’t pursue hobbies of your own, men.”
First of all, the majority of men who are interested in Fantasy Football have already provided food and shelter for their family. That’s the number one responsibility of a masculine married man, and if that’s accomplished, a man should be free to have hobbies. The anti-male message that men shouldn’t have hobbies or interests outside of the home has become extremely popular in the modern church, so it’s no wonder men are abandoning the church in droves.
Secondly, a man without hobbies and personal interests is a boring man. He’s not a scholar. He’s not an inventor. He’s not an athlete. He is reduced to a source of income. To all of the married Christian women out there: did you really only marry your husband because of his ability to provide and talk to you about your interests? Or did you like other qualities he had, including his various hobbies? A man without hobbies and interests is plain, like soup without salt. I’m weary of the church and culture bashing male interests. Just because many women aren’t interested in it does not mean it isn’t a valuable use of time, or a good way for a man to unwind.
2. Looking at porn.
Correct. Christian men shouldn’t be looking at porn. But do you know what they should be having? Married sex. Paul wrote to the Corinthians,
“Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:5, NIV
The Christian church’s message to “wait, wait, wait” for marriage, and then within marriage, “don’t have sex” goes completely against verses in the Bible and New Testament. Single men and women who are tempted by lust are instructed by Paul to get married in the New Testament. (1 Corinthians 7:9) And further, married men and women should have sex, and shouldn’t deny one another, otherwise temptation will have an easy time with them.
3. Zoning out when your wife is talking to you.
This bullet point is setting unreasonable expectations for men. Most men simply aren’t wired for long conversations that extend past 20 minutes, or for hours on end. Some men are, sure, but the vast majority are not, due to the left brain/right brain gender split. If a married woman wants to talk to someone for an hour about something, she should go hang out with a female friend, instead of demanding something her husband can’t give to her. Similarly, would we expect a Christian wife to play video games, hunt, or fish with her husband all day on Saturday? Of course not – that’s why married men should have male friends, just as married women should have female friends.
4. Getting mad at your kids for stuff you do too.
This is a good point. But it goes just as much for married women as for married men. As an example: I have seen Christian married women overreact to life’s events, and then turn around and admonish their kids for overreacting to something. Both married men and married women are imperfect, and both need to check their spirits and keep their love on when interacting with children.
5. Checking out other women.
It’s nearly impossible for men to not visually acknowledge a female is attractive – it happens within milliseconds of seeing such a female, and it’s hardwired into any man with a drop of testosterone. After that first second, it is up to a man to either act on temptation, or look away. But it’s stupid to pretend that any man can avoid even looking once in our hypersexualized culture, where showing skin is the norm. Only blind men can avoid a glance at females in our skin obsessed culture.
6. Not wearing a wedding ring.
Check out this link on the dangers of wearing a ring, even around the house. This issue should be up to the individual couple, not a holier-than-thou blogger on the internet. (For any interested, I like these safe ring alternatives.)
7. Giving your career and hobbies your best and giving your wife your leftovers.
Wrong. The Bible clearly spells out that a man’s primary responsibility is to work hard and bear the curse of Adam by tending to his career. We like to pretend the curse of Adam doesn’t exist in white-collar churches – but many poorer married couples know that’s not the case. I already covered a lack of hobbies above – men, you should keep your hobbies, and find some that involve self improvement, such as lifting weights. A focus on self improvement will improve your marriage.
8. Staring at your phone more than you make eye contact with your family.
Okay. But it applies to married women who ignore their husbands and children in favor of a screen, too.
9. Expecting your wife to do everything around the house.
This is another part of our modern culture, which the church has accepted, where men are expected to provide their wives with the opportunity to pursue a career. It might work for some couples, but God did not curse Eve with toiling to produce food and shelter, and did not design men to take on the majority of child care. Men who try to keep both a career and a household are going to suffer, since most men are not built for child rearing (thanks to the left brain/right brain split mentioned above). For this reason, when women believe they can have it all (husband, kids, career), their husbands will suffer trying to make up the difference. I like the way comedian Tom Papa describes this tension in his own marriage in Tom Papa Live in New York City:
“There’s a new kind of dad now. Now you’re part mom, part dad. You’re like this useless hermaphrodite just hanging around the house. There’s no respect for fathers. Even the cartoons the kids watch: ‘Here comes dad! What a (censored)!'”
The division of responsibilities should be discussed before the couple gets married. Otherwise, the man who assumes his future wife will raise cheerful, clean, well-rounded children will be mightily disappointed. Similarly, the woman who assumes her husband will watch the kids while she pursues her career in finance will be disappointed. Talk about it before marriage – and don’t pretend for a second that God didn’t make men and women different.
In the end, articles like this one only widen the split between Christian men and the Christian church. A few of the comments on the original article reveal the deep hurt the church’s attitude toward men has created: