The masculine and the feminine and identity testing

So I’m going to start writing more about boundaries and communications in relationships as I am in a relationship. Some of the most interesting comments that I find are just fundamentally how masculinity and femininity interact with each other.

On butterflies:

Me: “I feel butterflies when I desire a woman”
Her: “I feel butterflies when I am desired”

On the best thing you can say/give to a person:

Me: “What is the best thing you can say to a person?”
Her: “That I admire that person.” (Or in other words, she adores and/or respects that person as they are all from the same root)
Me: and later… “The best thing that I could say is that I love someone”

On the things we want in the relationship:

Her: “I want to be loved”
Me: “I want to be respected”

Going off of these general concepts it’s easy to see the deviation of men and women into the masculine and feminine. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that men who want to be “loved for who they are” tend to be unmasculine (or “nice”) since they are seeking after feminine validation.

I suspect this is not just from wider culture where men are pressured to show their emotions and/or men taking their cue from Disney fairy tales wanting to be loved. However, with the skyrocking fatherlessness and lack of fathers mentoring their sons to be men it can be that the mothers are impressing upon their sons that they should marry women that love them rather than respect them.

The test

If you’re talking to a man or woman and want to figure out their exact state of mind regarding their masculinity or femininity you can employ the respect or love test to them. Simply ask if they would rather be respected or loved. Their answer and the decisiveness of their answer will tell you all you need to know.

  • Obviously, if a man chooses love instead of respect or a woman chooses respect instead of love you are dealing with a feminized male and a masculinized female. You can go down the road of challenging them on why if you want, which can lead to some interesting questions and discussion.
  • The speed of their answer and decisiveness tells you some very important things about how well they know their desires and ability to be completely honest with them in a moment.
  • If they have to think about their answer for a few seconds or more you should always follow up with the question of why. This will make them think about their identity, and question why they chose that particular decision. This can lead to some interesting questions, and if they are Christian you can always guide them back to the Scriptures on Ephesian 5 and 1 Peter 3.

This type of test is a direct probe onto how their own identity and desires. It is often the case that Christians (and non-Christians) for that matter in wider culture are confused about their own identity and who they are. This can be useful to stimulate personal development, or probe a particular love interest as well. If a woman every said they wanted to be respected more than loved that would tell me immediately that she is unfeminine and I don’t want to be in a relationship with her.

Alternatively, you can use the reverse question like I did with my girl and ask her what is the best thing you can tell [their significant other]. For males it would to love, and for females it would be to respect, admire, or adore if you are dealing with masculine men and feminine women. Any other answers they aren’t in touch with identity and how they should be operating in a relationship.

Use wisely.

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24 Responses to The masculine and the feminine and identity testing

  1. GeoffSmith says:

    I’m not sure I fully buy that. I think the over all point is sound, but very little in the Song of Solomon indicates that the man is excited by the respect he receives from the woman. He’s excited about the quality of her erotic/romantic gestures.

    I think a man who generally gets a great deal of respect might legitimately want a partner for the love she provides.

    I think it’s a decent heuristic, but it seems to have exceptions.

  2. @ GeoffSmith

    I think you’re overthinking this. Obviously, a man can love and honor his wife, and a woman can respect and love her husband.

    The post is not love *and* respect. It’s if they had to choose one: love *or* respect.

    This specifically tells you about their priorities and how they think about their identity.

  3. GeoffSmith says:

    That may be. I seem to have misunderstood the thought experiment.

  4. CHero says:

    This post is good but makes me realize I’m constantly at war with the feminine mindset I developed over the years.

  5. CHero says:

    Way to go on the relationship, by the way!

  6. hearthie says:

    Decent book, the best thing I got out of it was that guys like it when you hang out with them, even if you’re not interacting, being nearby is desirable. (There’s a Christian marriage advice book called Love and Respect, if you are confused by this comment).

  7. @ hearthie

    Yeah, haven’t read the book myself. It’s interesting how those in tune with how God created them to be and who they are in Christ will naturally gravitate to the roles that He has made us for. That as opposed to being ingrained with societal programming

  8. @ CHero

    It’s a process! It’s actually a good question to ask yourself if you’re talking with a woman you’re interested in and you don’t know what to say in a hard situation:

    Would I rather be loved or rather be respected?

    It will actually change your perspective on how you act. Those who are respected are not afraid to say no or confront someone if there is an issue.

    And thanks!

  9. karenjo12 says:

    How can you love someone without respecting her? What kind of love has contempt as its base?

  10. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    Pretty good post DS.

    Decent book, the best thing I got out of it was that guys like it when you hang out with them, even if you’re not interacting, being nearby is desirable. (There’s a Christian marriage advice book called Love and Respect, if you are confused by this comment).

    I read this book years ago in an attempt to understand the male mindset (to help make it less likely that I would hurt my hopefully future husband out of sheer ignorance), and I got a lot out of it.

    The author talks about how men need respect like they need air to breathe, as do women need love. He compares a woman being disrespectful to her husband to the idea of stepping on his air hose: he’ll suffocate without it and will eventually lash out reflexively, same as how someone who’s *real* air supply is being cut off via suffocation will reflexively fight whatever is cutting off their air supply so they can breathe.

    Also, that if a man feels disrespected by his wife (based on something she said or did), he will react in ways that feel unloving to her. And if she feels unloved, she will react in ways that feel disrespectful to him, and so the cycle continues. But if both people (or even just one) decide to keep in mind that the other is most likely not intentionally trying to be evil and harmful, then they can *choose* to not *react* in those ways and break the cycle. That if a wife chooses to show her husband respect even if she feels unloved, then he will react in ways that feel loving to her. And if the husband chooses to show love to his wife even if he feels disrespected, then she will react in ways that feel respectful to him.

    There’s a lot more to the book, but that’s what I got out of it. I know the idea of “women need to feel loved” gets a lot of backlash around here, but I still learned a lot about how to do my part, so I would still recommend that any woman wishing to do the same read it.

  11. @ karenjo12

    How can you love someone without respecting her? What kind of love has contempt as its base?

    That’s an interesting assumption. However, it is false.

    The Scriptures state that “respect” (Koine Greek = “phobeo” also referred to as “reverence” and “fear”) is for those in authority. When I discuss these concepts I use Biblical definitions as opposed to how people using the English language commonly define them.

    Hence, I don’t respect women unless they are in a position of authority over me. For example, mothers, teachers, bosses, etc.

    Husbands are not called to respect (“phobeo”) wives; rather, they are to honor (Koine Greek = “time”) their wives as co-heirs in Christ.

    Hence, husbands are to love and honor their wives. Not love and respect them.

    See this post for more details:

  12. @ FBNF

    There’s a lot more to the book, but that’s what I got out of it. I know the idea of “women need to feel loved” gets a lot of backlash around here, but I still learned a lot about how to do my part, so I would still recommend that any woman wishing to do the same read it.

    Well, women saying they “feel unloved” has been the catalyst for countless divorces, so there is some bad blood there.

    That doesn’t make it right as two wrongs don’t make a right, but it makes it understandable. So too everyone has to walk through their own bitterness and embrace God’s grace and mercy, those that harbor it walk down a dangerous road.

  13. hearthie says:

    Our church runs Love & Respect classes… the pastor got a *lot* out of the book. I have to say my most effective book on relationships was 5 Love Languages. I’d still be writing my husband poems and scheduling the errands for once-a-week maximum efficiency if I hadn’t found out that for him, errands (and other acts of service) = love. Definitely a lightbulb moment. (Acts of service is the very *last* thing I’m interested in, so I’d never have figured it out on my own).

  14. @ hearthie

    The one qualm with 5LL that I have is that it can easily be warped to a “works based mentality.”

    I’ve seen this, particularly with husbands, who are trying to improve their marriages with wives who are unhappy. They think that doing things for their wives will make them happier which is just prostituting themselves for sex and respect.

    That’s one of the main reasons I am wary of churches using it, but as long as it is explained well especially in regard to how Christianity is not works based it’s fine.

  15. hearthie says:

    Oh surely. BTDT. (In reverse, obvs). That said, I really was totally clueless, and I needed the clue-in. My fav truly Christian book is Sacred Marriage, which is a bitter pill to swallow – but good in this age of “we all have to be haaaaaapppppy”.

  16. bookooball says:

    You can’t tell the forest from the trees? When a woman desires a man, she will show him respect. Even if that desire is predicated on power.

  17. GeoffSmith says:

    Not sure what you mean.

  18. bookooball says:

    Love is a bit less complicated than sexual desire. Her desire is founded upon respect because she wants the genes of a man she admires/respects. She will subconsciously put a dominant man’s happiness first(to increase his likelihood to stay pair bonded with her). Whereas with a submissive man, she will prioritize her own. A strong, respectable man’s happiness is her happiness.

  19. bookooball says:

    Love is simply oxytocin being released from being around those you have positive social bonds with.

  20. GeoffSmith says:

    Not in the context of the author here. Love is the conscious decision to maintain those bonds. You’re mixing up the feelings of being “in love” with the concept of love as active commitment. I’m guessing that you’re not a Christian, but you are commenting on a Christian, so the way that the word is used will be slightly different based on that groups usage.

  21. bookooball says:

    You think the decision is conscious? God’s plan would be a contradiction. You should give his design more credit. Then again, you’ve let yourself get dooped into worshipping the messenger and missing the message completely.

  22. GeoffSmith says:

    What decision? The decision to love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemy, or love your wife as Christ loves the church? How are none of these conscious?

    Are you saying that sense I say love is primarily a verb, that I’m accidentally mistaking oxytocin for God?

    I can’t tell if you’re trying to be cryptic or if we’re talking past each other.

  23. bookooball says:

    Your cuckservative newspeak would make George Orwell proud.

  24. GeoffSmith says:

    Ah, I get it. That’s funny.

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