A lot of the comedians I listen to will poke fun at domesticity – specifically the dynamic that often exists between a man and his wife. For the most part, it’s hysterical. But every now and then, I’ll get a little uncomfortable at the way marriage is portrayed as an institution that robs a man of his masculinity.
The schtick usually revolves around the way a man is prohibited from doing what he wants to do. It may be something trivial or it may be something significant, but in either case the wife is portrayed as an obstacle to her husband’s preferences in terms of how he wants to spend his time and even the way he thinks.
It’s funny because there isn’t a married man who can’t identify with the task of having to occasionally alter his perspective on himself and the world around him in order to preserve the harmony that exists between himself and his bride. But does that qualify as a surrender of one’s hold on what it means to be a “man?”
I don’t think so.
When I took my vows, I promised to honor Michelle. To honor her, I’ve got to be both willing and able to make her perspective a priority. That’s not difficult for a man who’s secure in himself, but it’s a potential dealbreaker to the male who’s determined to remain fundamentally prideful and self absorbed.
That’s not to say my wife is always right, but I will say that I have benefited from my bride’s viewpoint on multiple occasions. I may not have been open to it initially, but because I had been taught that true strength is expressed in the context of humility and a willingness to listen, my situation as well as our collective dynamic, was dramatically improved (Phil 2:3-4).
Much of the literature that’s out there that pertains to leadership emphasizes the importance of character and leading by example. Nowhere is that more important than in the way a man leads his family, which starts with the relationship he has with his wife. There’s no other person on the planet who possesses a more comprehensive view on my strengths as well as those areas where there’s room for improvement than Michelle. In the same way, there’s no other human being that can breathe life into me as profoundly as she can. The reason she has such complete access to me is because I love her and the reason I listen to her, even when I may be inclined to dismiss what she has to say, is because I choose to honor her above myself.
That’s not a compromise of my masculinity, that’s an expression of it.