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What Men Want

by Kelly Crawford

Shaunti Feldhahn gave a wonderful interview on Focus on the Family over the last few days, and the bits I caught really inspired me.  I would strongly encourage you to try to find time to listen to that broadcast!

In a super-sized nutshell version, I wanted to expand a few points she made.

Contrary to what our culture says about men and women and their identities, God embedded in the hearts of men two basic “compulsions”–provider and protector.

Shaunti said one of the most interesting things she found in her interviews (she interviewed hundreds of couples for her book, For Women Only) was that EVEN in homes where the wife was providing half or more of the income, the compulsion the husband felt to provide was still the same–his identity tied to it, in fact.  Not a culture thing, a God thing.

Which means, in essence, he thrives on the feeling that HE is the one caring and providing for his wife’s and family’s needs.

It made me question whether there’s a deeper emotional dynamic that causes discord among couples.  Could his strong urge to feel like provider and protector be undermined by the “liberation” of his wife’s career?  By her self-sufficiency?

One of the most damaging messages of our culture is the “my rights” campaign.  It has greatly impaired the unity God intended to be felt between husband and wife, and I think we hardly realize it.  It may be “MY RIGHT” to leave home and do something else, but is it the best thing for my marriage?  For my relationship with my husband?  Which is more important?

What if the wife was more concerned with guarding his provision like a treasure, being wise in her purchasing decisions, not insisting that “she deserves this or that”, honoring his role as provider and shunning the “I can do it myself” mentality?

And what if she focused on expressing true contentment, relieving him of the pressure to do more or provide more?

I think far too often marriages are an effort of two people trying to carry on two different lives with two different purposes and the division can only last so long before the marriage collapses.  Something has to answer why there are so many Christian marriages that fall apart.

One other thought along this line is, if the wife is so capable of earning her own money, but the husband’s deepest need is to feel that he is her provider and protector, what of the fear  that must lie in his heart, knowing hat she could split at any time and be just fine?  And isn’t this need to provide tied closely to his need to protect?  Isn’t there an affectionate bond that forms in his heart for her as he guards her vulnerability?

We are told that vulnerability is a horrible thing!  But what sweetness when a man knows that his wife relies on his loving provision and protection, and she knows that he relies on her numerous duties in managing and keeping his home in order, and that these two are so inextricably entwined that both know they are utterly incomplete without  the other!

Just my thoughts…

BTW…I’ll be away from a computer (gasp!) until Friday evening, so I won’t be able to respond to comments until then.

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Jill April 16, 2009 - 10:05 pm

There is also another book published from a non Christian view point that quotes a lot of statistical evidence that supports this viewpoint. Of course, my brain cannot recall the name of this book but statistics show that even if both a husband and his wife believe that it doesn’t matter who makes the most money, over time a woman begins to think less of a husband who does not earn more than she does. If he is a house husband and watching her children (even if they both agreed to this) marital dissatisfaction increase exponentially! This has all been documented even if feministic type marraiges! We are innately designed to be protected and provided for by our husbands!

Kelly L April 17, 2009 - 12:57 pm

This is awesome…and against what some women’s “itching ears” want to hear. Perhaps it delves into the fact that it is harder to stay home (especially if homeschooling) than to go to work. And as a culture of self-seeking, self-serving, and self-comfort motivated people, self-sacrifice goes against every pore of our flesh. (or am I the only one in that victorious struggle?). I think that for women to be truly happy and joyful staying home and schooling, they have to die to self, through the power of Christ. That doesn’t seem to have the same draw as it used to, does it? Thanks for your post…enjoy your vacation.

Bethany Hudson April 17, 2009 - 1:49 pm

I have seen this at work in so many couples–either both spouses realize and nurture this need in the husband and the marriage thrives, or they do not and the marriage flounders. Yet, there is such a profound sadness: many women feel they MUST live in fear of becoming vulnerable in this way. And, who can blame them? I know that my mother’s independence (and lack of NEED for my father) is one of the reasons he left her for someone else. [I am certainly NOT blaming my mother; my father’s infidelity is inexcusable and unacceptable, but I do know that this was one of the main hurts he was going through that pushed him to make the *horrible* decisions that he did.] But, in her case, my grandmother had been a wonderfully loving wife who relied upon her husband…and he walked out on her for a younger woman while she was pregnant with my mom and had three other young children at home! And, left her with NOTHING financially. She didn’t even have a high school diploma–Why would she need one if her husband would provide for her? So, I know that this sort of reliance and vulnerability on a man is something that my mother was deeply afraid of–and who’s to say that my father wouldn’t have left her for his young fling, anyway? It is a hard line to walk. It doesn’t change the truth, but living out the truth has become so horribly twisted by our fallen world that, for some, it seems impossible.

Deanna April 17, 2009 - 1:50 pm

Dear Kelly,
I strongly agree with what you said that too often marriages are an effort of 2 people trying to carry on two different lives with two different purposes.

As a younger woman, I applauded Dr. Dobson’s Focus On The Family because I know the family is extremely important and needs to be held at a place of high priority.

As time marched on and I became more aware of the fallen nature of mankind, I began to question modern psychology and psychiatry verses the fallen nature.

From what I understand the founding fathers of modern psychiatry were anti-God and anti-family. We aren’t to take ungodly counsel, so why embrace it?

True, we learn from our environment and how we are treated as a child, but a person isn’t limited to behavioral problems, corrupt choices and injurious lifestyles all due to one’s upbringing.

As far as I know Dr. Dobson is more focused on upbringing environment and doesn’t speak about the fallen nature causing problems. He doesn’t speak about the promises of God being true.

Modern Psych may give an explanation as to why a person acts the way they do from a person’s point of view, even label it, but the explanation cannot heal the person. The psych explanation may be untrue and completely off the mark.

When we address the fallen nature and Christ enters into a person’s life with God’s Holy Spirit entering in…then there can be healing of the soul and spirit.

I believe that a marriage in it’s purest and truest form must be a Christian Union that’s a covenant which blesses one another with commitment, high regards, love and respect according to God’s instructions and guidance.

As an married adult, being self absorbed, self centered and full of pride doesn’t offer a healthy home life for anybody. Even a Christian that’s married can have a marriage fall apart when one spouse acts upon these selfish characteristics and the spouse is a devout Christian with high morals.

People have been known to say it takes two to make a marriage or break it…no, I don’t agree. The actions of one can destroy the marriage. It takes three to make the marriage…God, Husband and Wife.

sandy April 17, 2009 - 1:54 pm

Great post! I see this happening with my own sons. My husband was discouraged from that by his man-hating mother…and it took years as an adult and a christian to embrace his God-given desires and role as protector, guide and provider.
Now, he encourages our sons to be gentlemen. He praises them for kindness to their older sisters, and helpfulness to me. He loves to be told he’s a ‘big man’ and a ‘good gentlemen to help the ladies’ and will go out of his way to hold doors, carry things, or just be a man after his daddy’s heart.

Michelle April 18, 2009 - 5:39 pm

Kelly, I am loving these posts on marriage. The Lord has been dealing with me also in this area. We have been blessed with an ‘easy’ and glorious relationship…but, that does not give me license to just sail on without attending and building my marriage! I have been very convicted lately. It’s not that I take him for granted, it’s just I think ‘we’ are not getting the attention ‘we’ deserve.

Funny, when the Lord starts to reveal these things all of the sudden my weaknesses begin to become glaring! Just 30 minutes ago I was crying and repenting for making it all about me once again!

I too for awhile would feel bad about ‘needing’ my husband and would try to buck up and be tough, (due to comparing myself to more self-reliant friends) My husband was wondering what in the world was going on. He assured me and still does that taking care of me and providing for me is his “JOB” and he loves it. It was what he was created for and what drives him. He cherishes me. My mom often teases me that I am so spoiled and my husband pipes in with ‘she’s not spoiled, she is cherished’

I think no matter how wonderful our husbands are we still need to build and sow into our marriage. Oh, and it is okay to NEED them, this is how it is supposed to be!

Sorry to ramble 😉 Just a hot topic with me and God right now!


terry@ breathing grace April 22, 2009 - 11:03 am

You know, Kelly, I’d lost your blog there for a while as I usually read it in my Google reader and you changed your URL. I’m going back over some of the posts I missed and I have greatly enjoyed this one.

If only women (and men, to a lesser degree have this problem, too) would understand that marriage is about interdependence. Too many women are afraid of being dependent on their husbands. Too many are interested in being independent. If you don’t need him, and he doesn’t need you, what’s the point?

Word Warrior April 22, 2009 - 11:10 am

Terry–Oh glad you found me again! The blog was redirected, but for some reason, depending on your cookies, the Google reader may not have made the switch…which would explain why my traffic is down a little. I hope everyone figures it out!

I agree with what you said here–dependence is a good thing, but we’re not told that.

Nathaniel August 9, 2009 - 12:08 am

Thank you. I really don’t know what to say… its very humbling to for me to read this. If/when a guy meets a girl that believes something like this I don’t think he would ever be able to do enough for her.


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