Masculinity and Romance

“A hesitant man is the last thing in the world a woman needs. She needs a lover and a warrior, not a really nice guy.” – John Eldredge

One of the worst compliments I’ve ever received is all the times people have referred to me as a nice guy. Sure, it’s good to be nice. It’s good to hold the door for the girl and buy her food, and its good to compliment her on the way she looks. But we shouldn’t get a reward for being nice. The truth is that God has called us to be more than “nice”–He has called us to be men. But sadly, a vast majority of us men have a completely distorted view of what masculinity really is. The “men” of today’s world possess impeccable physical characteristics, yet often are incapable of any sort of emotional vulnerability. Of course, there is nothing wrong with spending our days at the gym and shooting range. But to be honest, we are at a bigger risk of destroying our relationships due to a lack of intimacy than having dozens of ISIS militants raid our houses. So what does it mean then, to be a man? I view masculinity as simply being a warrior poet. Being violent and aggressive when necessary, and being emotionally vulnerable and intimate when necessary. Macho men who possess all the physical characteristics of masculinity yet are incapable of being emotionally vulnerable are not men at all. They are frauds. Imposters. Same is the man incapable of offering protection and strength to a woman.

Now obviously I’m in no way the perfect embodiment of a man. I’m 5’7 at 150 lbs, my shooting skills are not that great, and I’ve never had a girl in my life to be vulnerable with. However, over the past few months as I have strived to be wild at heart, I have learned some things. The first being that a woman can never give you masculinity. You will never become a man by being with a woman. So many men make this mistake. We never explicitly state it, but if you listen closely to conversations with other guys, it’s quite obvious. I hear guys all the time comparing all the things they’ve done with girls as if it somehow makes them a man. I sincerely believe that Eve is the crown of creation. I believe the most beautiful of God’s design is an attractive, Christian girl. But we cannot forget the one who created her in the first place. Let’s stop receiving our validation as men from women. Our validation and identity of who we are should come from God and only God. You should not go to a woman to gain strength, you should go to a woman to offer her your strength. And this only comes from examining one’s own heart and drawing close to Jesus (the greatest warrior poet).

Now the other thing I have noticed is the separation between masculinity and romance. So many believe that the two are separate, while they should actually be inseparable. Chivalry is not dead; it is simply missing. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “to love is to be vulnerable.” We men must learn to be vulnerable. We will take our pants off in a heartbeat yet wouldn’t dare reveal the nakedness of our soul. A woman doesn’t need you, just as you don’t need a woman. A relationship is in no way necessary to life. Rather, it gives value to life. And with that, laziness and complacency will not do. So stop believing the lie that men must always be aggressive and never show emotion. For how can you truly protect someone if she doesn’t really know you love her? In short, be the nice guy. But not the shy, pushover nice guy most of us are. Be the one who emphatically articulates his love for his woman. The one who never misses a moment to tell her she’s beautiful. The one who picks up some flowers while at the grocery store, just in case she didn’t believe she was beautiful when you told her. The one who will take her on an adventure so she doesn’t have to settle for poorly written romance novels as she reminisces of days gone by. But also be the one willing to partake in violence on her behalf, because true love is a daily act of selflessness. For there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life.

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