I haven’t disappeared completely. I’ve been thinking long and hard about where my post on Christian attraction should go because I think this is an important topic to define potential recommendations for young men (and women) wanting to marry.
However, I do want to briefly address why the Christian manosphere is so averse to the “man up” line.
I’ve discussed before that “man up” is a useful tool from other men to other men in order to fix problems in their lives. For example, if a man is afraid to public speak, or do something difficult for him, or is avoiding a conflict and being passive aggressive for any type of reason this is the type of line of thinking that men use for each other to motivate them to action. I spoke of this in masculinity is the truth.
Basically, Jesus does the same thing with His disciples very often. He criticisizes them for their lack of faith, or their lack of action, or getting things wrong such as worrying about who is the greatest, denying the little children from coming to Him, not allowing the sick and the hurting to speak with Him and receive healing, etc.
This is the positive aspect of “man up” where men can motivate other men to do the right thing or criticize each other to do the right thing.
- Men can use “man up” positively to other men in order to get such men to overcome their fears, adversity, or other difficulties in life.
However, the “man up” mantra gets hairy when you start to involve women into the picture.
“Man up” in regard to women is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, if a man admits that he wants to talk to a woman to ask her out on a date or some variation such as that it’s a good thing to stimulate a man into action in this case if he has performed his due diligence in vetting her character and in prayer.
However, the place where the “man up” mantra goes off kilter is in traditional churchianity:
- Pastor tells a husband or the dating Christian man, often from the pulpit, to “man up” and “lead” / “love” his wife.
- Especially if the husband wants more sex, or the Christian man wants to get the woman to like him.
- Pastor then gives some examples of what it means to “man up.”
- Examples include doing chores, give her compliments, buy her gifts, and of course the penultimate “make her feel loved” often by doing more things for her.
Dalrock outlines this well in Reframing Christian marriage.
Doing good things, compliments, and whatever else are not necessarily bad things. HOWEVER, when they’re put in this context multiple things go wrong:
- The wife can hear the pastor telling husbands to do X, Y, Z for her. If the pastor is saying this and the husband doing it then it’s not the husband leading.
- This “love” and “leading” is not love or leading. Love is given freely, and the pastor is teaching the incorrect notion that “love” and “sex” are something to be bargained for and of a transaction nature. They are not as taught in the Scriptures.
- Finally, as Dalrock states in the above the goal is of the man up is to “make his wife/girlfriend/etc. FEEL loved” and not actually about the husband actually leading himself.
I’m not one to criticize without giving answers, so I’d like to put forth an alternative presentation of what pastors can actually do in order to give men a good message that actually helps them lead their wives.
- Stop worrying about how your wife is feeling. Instead, make decisions based on spiritual health rather than physical feelings. The very fact that men tunnel in on how their wife is feeling means that they start to make everything about how their wife is feeling which means they are following their wives instead of following God. Do not fall into this trap.
- Take your wife’s feelings/opinions/etc under advisement. She is your helpmeet. She is giving you advice which you can take in to make the decision.
- Anything that you do for your wife you should not do it under the expectation that you will receive anything back for it. If you do anything under the expectation of tit-for-tat you are reinforcing poor behavior. You can’t “buy” or “negotiate” respect, sex, or anything in a relationship. If you reinforce that behavior you’re teaching your wife the wrong spiritual attitude in a relationship, and you will reap the consequences of such.
- Remind husbands and wives (if this is a sermon) that there needs to be both grace and forgiveness from each side. Holding things over each other, like tit-for-tat, is entirely unChristian and going to lead to terrible relationship dynamics.
- And last but not least, obviously reminder of the various Scriptural roles and responsibilities of husbands (head, love, not embittered, honor as co-heirs) and wives (helpmeet, respect, submission) in marriage.
All of these points are good start.
I think one of the biggest things that Christian husbands must be told to do is that if the wife is fighting for control of the relationship in marriage that he should stand up to her. Obviously, the wife should be told to stop attempting to usurp authority as that is a sin. However, a husband voluntarily acceding control of the relationship is a sin too. It is not a sin to fight for what God wants which is a husband led marriage.
This is what the real “man up” should be about. The husband should assert himself in the marriage. It’s better for a husband to be too strong of a leader than not enough.
edit: deti adds how “man up” is/was co-opted by feminists:
*** feminists appropriated the phrase “man up” to mean something very different from its original meaning, and Matt Walsh has fallen prey to it. It’s why a lot of men (myself included) bristle at the phrase, particularly when uttered nowadays.
“Man up” was a rebuke and a correction from men to other men and boys who needed a good kick in the pants. They needed encouragement or sometimes just a stern reproof from another man to get with the program, stop being such a whiny b*tch, stop being a p*ssy, pull your weight, get your sh!t done, etc. “Man up, son! The rest of the tribe needs you to get with it!”
Today, the phrase isn’t uttered to get men lined up with other men. Now, men are told to “man up” when they aren’t doing what women and feminized men want and expect them to. In this culture, “man up” is a demand that a man submit himself to the feminine imperative. He needs to hitch himself to a plow, get a job, make money and “put away childish things” not for his own good, but for the specific purpose of making himself useful to a woman. He needs to do these things not because it will sharpen him and make him into a man; but because they will benefit some woman in his preordained role as her husband and father to her (not their, HER) children.
“Man up” used to mean “your tribe needs you”. Now, it means “marry the slut”. It means “a woman needs your money, services, and labor”.
You can see how men and women used it differently. Now men are using it on other men because of feminism and this is bad.