Recently, I’ve been rethinking much of masculinity in terms of roles and responsibilities after the previous post. Dalrock’s recent posts on respect and who cares are important to understand what motivates men.
As it stands, the majority of men would rather feel unloved than disrespected.
Emerson Eggerichs, best-selling author of Love and Respect*, asserts: “Women need love. Men need respect. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.”** The foundation for his platinum-level former book-of-the-year is a theorized gender difference he identified by posing this question:
If you were forced to choose one of the following, which would you prefer to endure…to be left alone and unloved in the world, or to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone?
In his original sample of 400 males, 74% said that if they were forced to choose, they would prefer feeling alone and unloved rather than feeling disrespected and inadequate (p.49). He collected data on a female sample and found that a comparable majority would rather feel disrespected and inadequate than alone and unloved. Based on this data, Eggerichs concluded that a wife “needs love just as she needs air to breathe” and a husband “needs respect just as he needs air to breathe” (p. 37).
I think anyone familiar with the commands of Scripture and be willing to soul search themselves would come to the same conclusion. The currency that is valuable to men is respect while conversely the currency that is valuable to women is love.
This is precisely why the commands of Scriptures to husbands and wives are unconditional. Namely, the husband is to provide love to the wife and the wife is to provide respect to the husband regardless of how they feel even if they are mistreated as stated in Ephesian 5 and 1 Peter 3. The unconditional command reverses potential negative behavioral cycles that may develop. This helps bind the marriage together, and it will help each spouse to work through any conflict that may arise because they are still getting nurtured by the other. This is exactly in the same vein as unconditional sex within marriage as stated in 1 Corinthians 7.
Because of free will, the natural desires of men and women can be warped. Men can be taught and choose to act as if they are women, and women can be taught and choose to act if they are men. Likewise, choosing to act against your nature will indeed change your nature.
To test my theory that respect is equally critical for many women as for many men, I set out to profile the marriages of some of the smartest women I have known and their equally capable friends (The Lifestyle Poll). The first phase of data collection for The Lifestyle Poll was based heavily on a Harvard college graduate sample.
In this group of 300 women, 75% reported that they would rather feel alone and unloved than disrespected and inadequate.In other words, within this group of highly educated, accomplished women, the tendency to favor respect over love was equivalent in degree to the preference expressed among males that was used to launch a best-selling book predicated on what now seems to be an inaccurate assumption of a consistent gender difference.
Thus, it should be no surprise that a woman who was taught since childhood to demand respect, to aim to be respected, and to be ambitious and career oriented would want to be respected rather than loved. Likewise, it should be no surprise that a man who was taught since childhood to be loved, to aim to find a woman who loves him for who he is, and to treat women with love as he would want to be treated with love instead of respect.
This is the common delusion of our perverted society that ends up promoting dysfunctional relationships where there is explicit role reversal. The wife ends up acting as the head of marriage and loving the husband while the husband ends up respecting the wife and submitting to her.
Dalrock correctly identifies respect as one of the incentives from marriage. Although I’m sure he knows the others he didn’t discuss them. Other incentives are based in the roles and not the responsibilities of marriage:
- To be the head of his own household
- To father children (be fruitful and multiply)
The reason why the incentives are based in roles is because roles define the position. Responsibilities are added to ensure that the role is fulfilled properly as to the Lord. Fulfilling responsibilities when there is no role is the path to be ineffective and delusional as a man who tries to back a woman into a relationship by sending her gifts, complimenting her, and acting as her boyfriend when he is simply a friend to her.
This is why men that rise to responsibilities without a role are unattractive to women. You can’t “earn” your way into a relationship. The role needs to come first, and the role is established prior to any responsibilities being fulfilled.
Generally speaking, if you want to ensure that men want to BE men and BE married then Biblical incentives must be strongly pushed so that men will want to be married.
- What man wants to be in a marriage where he is disrespected by his wife, children, the Church, and culture?
- What man wants to be in a marriage where he is not the head of his household and submissive to his wife?
- What man wants to be in a marriage where he is denied sex?
- What man wants to be in a marriage where children are a curse rather than a blessing?
Although culture continually disrespects husbands, it is exceedingly sad and disappointing that wives, children, and the Church continually disrespect husbands. Then the Church wonders where all of the men are and why marriage rates have plummeted. Right where you left them with destroying the Scriptural incentives for marriage.
If the Church and Christian women want to “solve” the marriage crisis then they first must understand that men will generally only want to be married because of the particular incentives of roles in marriage. This is why a single, chaste, respectful Christian woman who is kind and feminine is so appealing to men. It’s an attractive prospect because she exhibits the qualities of a strong Scriptural marriage.
- Incentives drive behavior.
- The incentives of marriage are primarily based in the roles of marriage as opposed to the responsibilities.
- If the Church and Christians want men to BE men and BE married then they must understand that the the particular roles of men are the incentives for the marriage and stop undermining headship, respect, sex, and children.
- Men that rise to responsibilities without roles are unattractive to women because the commands that underlie the marriage relationship are unconditional not conditional. Responsibility without roles is trying to earn the role through works.
- Single men that wish to be married should strive for the roles and not the responsibilities. Striving for headship/leadership and being respectable is attractive and leads toward the roles within marriage.