A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men: Part I

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Ladies, this series is for you. I have no doubt in my mind that there is a guy in your life that has driven you crazy at one point or another. Let’s face it: it’s inevitable. It could be a father, brother, uncle, boyfriend, or husband. It doesn’t matter. I’d be willing to bet in a lot of cases, it’s all of the above. I’ve decided to wade into the murky, piranha filled waters of writing about anything to do with gender, and try to explain the basics of how your guy is. Before I go any further, I want you to know that I am not an expert, nor do I consider myself to be one. This is a topic that has always interested me, and I base what I write on what I have picked up over the years reading John Eldredge, listening to the talks given by Catholic psychotherapist Dr. Phil Mango, research, and my own experiences of being a husband for ten years and a father of four children. I also know that all men are different. What I say may not entirely apply to everybody, so consider this speaking “in general.”

I know this is a topic that is written about frequently, however it is important that we acknowledge that there are, in fact, physical, psychological, and spiritual differences between men and women. We will never fully understand each other, but understanding those differences and acknowledging the fact that our brains are wired differently can lead to a deeper, more satisfying relationship. I personally think that many marital problems, disjointed relationships, and miscommunications are a direct result of not understanding the differences between men and women and the fact that each of us want the other to be more like ourselves. I’ve got news for you: it’s not gonna happen. God created men and women and called us “good.” That means He was happy with how He made us, each in His own image, and if He wanted us to be exactly alike, He would have made us that way.

The last thing I want to let you know before we dive into this thing is that I will discuss some elements of sexuality. Of course I won’t be crude or vulgar, but I wanted to let you know in case you let the kids read the articles posted on this site. Sexuality is one of the elements of both genders, so it warrants some discussion.

Well that’s it! Keep an open mind, try to suspend some of the insane rules of political correctness our society shoves down our throats and let’s see what we come up with.

The Physical Dimension 

We are going to start with the way men are physically made and work our way inward in subsequent articles. The first thing we can mention about the male body is all that hair. I mean seriously! Some dudes are hairier than others, but we’ve definitely got more hair than women. I would point out that to some guys, the ability to grow hair right out of our faces is pretty awesome. My wife hates it, but I love it when I am able to grow a huge beard. I can’t explain why. It’s just cool. I think there may be some connection between hairiness and the self-perception of masculinity, but suffice it to say that our hair is part of who we are, and some of us enjoy letting it grow.

Ok, I was trying to be a bit funny with the whole hair thing. Now let’s get more serious and take a look at the male physique. Let’s face it: men generally have more muscle mass and development than women, especially in the upper body. This allows men to generally be physically stronger than women, doing hard manual labor, moving heavy objects, fighting wars etc. This physical strength is also associated with the man’s ability to protect his family from physical harm. Please know that a man’s strength is very important to his perception of himself as a man. The masculine attribute of strength not only derives from the physical, but also from a man’s inner strength and fortitude. His strength and ability to support his family through hard times is essential to the masculine persona, as well as being a strong spiritual leader in his family. God the Father created the Heavens and earth, and resonates a creative strength that sustains the existence of the entire universe. Every man is a reflection of the creative and protective strength of God to his friends, and especially to his wife and children.

A man who is not confident in his own strength, both physical and spiritual, will always doubt himself and shrink back whenever a challenge presents itself. Or he will distort the fact that true strength is fulfilled through protecting and serving others and instead use his strength to dominate those with whom he associates, be it family or otherwise. He will not rely on God, the ultimate Source of strength, and instead use it to benefit himself. Ladies, I cannot tell you how much your affirmation of your man’s strength bolsters and focuses his mission. A man always wants to impress a lady, starting back in middle school when the boys show off for the girls through physical feats. But it is your love and admiration that gives us the fire to continue to serve you and your children, brothers, and sisters. This isn’t just another male ego thing, although it can be distorted as such. This goes much deeper. If you’ve ever seen Rocky II, Rocky isn’t even able to train until his wife, Adrien, is behind him, telling him she wants him to win. Aside from God, ladies, you are our inspiration, our muse, our beloved. You inspire us to be strong for you and for our families, and without your emotional and vocal affirmation, it greatly hinders us.

The last physical attribute of the male body we will consider is the male genitalia. The male genitalia is completely external, outside of the body, versus the internality of female genitalia. The man carries the seed which goes forth from his body into the woman which creates life. The externality of the male sexual organs also influences his psyche. The male persona is one of seeking, going forth and exploring, discovering, creating hierarchies and order. Men were the early explorers, leaving behind their lands to go into the wilderness facing disease and death, risking everything to discover the unknown.

Boys from an early age subconsciously associate with the phallus, building towers and skyscrapers as well as organized structures. Little girls are inclusive, playing house, building rooms with walls so everyone has a place, creating a symbolic womb to hold and nurture. Boys will make a weapon out of anything and everything, even when actual toy guns are taken away by their parents. Do not discourage your boys from this type of play. They are beginning the adventure of life, testing themselves, taking risks and oozing with testosterone. A mother may not ever understand why her boys won’t sit still like her daughter, who sits quietly and colors. Do not get in the way of this early masculine development. Accept the fact that he is a boy, and is going to be different from the way young girls behave and that this difference is not bad or wrong. It is God’s intentional design.

I will end this section now for brevity’s sake. There is much more that can be said on the physicality of men, but suffice it to say I tried to hit a couple of the important points. In the next section, we will take a look at the male brain and the hormones and chemicals that influence it and make men do the crazy things they do!




Chris Ricketts

Chris Ricketts

Is this where I tell you how amazing I am and list all my impressive accomplishments? I am just a guy. On a daily basis I betray God and the Faith I claim to profess through thought and deed forcing me to beg His forgiveness on an often weekly basis. All of my talents are unearned and all of my accomplishments merit me nothing. I am completely at the Divine Mercy of Jesus the Redeemer who is willing to erase my daily sins when I am sensible enough to confess them.

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19 thoughts on “A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men: Part I”

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    This is a giant pile of crap. Men are explorers and women are passive prizes awarded to the biggest, baddest dude out there and our one and only purpose is to “affirm” men.

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      Women often complain that men are not open and honest. Women complain because men do talk and express themselves. Well, your response is the number one reason why men withdraw from the conversation with women.

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      Was I not reading carefully enough? Where is this “women are passive prizes…” etc. stuff to be found in the actual article? If you want to argue a point that was actually made in the article, then do so. But that’s not what you did. Either you have incredibly poor reading comprehension, or you have a massive chip on your shoulder that is blocking your vision.

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        “Ladies, I cannot tell you how much your affirmation of your man’s strength bolsters and focuses his mission. A man always wants to impress a lady, starting back in middle school when the boys show off for the girls through physical feats. But it is your love and admiration that gives us the fire to continue to serve you and your children, brothers, and sisters.” — Women have to cheerlead for men or men will become abusive losers.

        I didn’t even begin to discuss the biological errors in his description of conception, which is NOT the fable about men planting a seed in the woman’s body.

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        As your quote shows, he wrote that being affirmed by women is helpful for men, and the love and admiration of women helps men serve their families. You take this to mean women’s only purpose is to affirm men, and that woemn “have to” cheerlead for men or men will become abusive losers.
        I take back what I wrote in my first post. Your reading comprehension can’t possibly be that bad. You obviously have a mssive chip on your shoulder that leads you to read your worst fears and prejudices into what other people say.

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        Fairy tale? I would think someone with your vivid imagination would understand the somewhat symbolic language. Sperm is often referred to as seed. He wrote “The man carries the seed which goes forth from his body into the woman which creates life.” Which part of that is a fairy tale? He didn’t say anything about “planting seeds in women”, as you put it. Substitute the word sperm for seed in his sentence, if you insist. Then it could pretty much have come straight out of a biology textbook. What on earth are you objecting to here? Please enlighten us as to the “biological errors” of this “fairy tale”.
        You strike me as a fundamentally dishonest person. You continually misquote the author of the article, and then attack the misquote, rather than addressing what he actually wrote. I’m curious, Karen. Please tell me why you have such a chip on your shoulder that you intentionally read this man’s article in the most dishonest way possible.

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        The whole article a tissue of false stereotypes about women being passive, nurturing, and quiet while men are active, creative, and energetic. Any woman who ISN’T passive or any man who doesn’t like rough housing doesn’t fit. In my experience, the sort of people who believe this crap will also enforce their vision of how men and women ought to be on those of us who don’t follow their scripts. Sometimes the enforcement is merely annoying and sometime, especially against men who don’t conform, it involves insults and beatings.

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        But those aren’t false stereotypes. You may not like it, but that doesn’t change reality. ON AVERAGE, men really are stronger than women. ON AVERAGE, men are taller, more physically active, do more labor-intensive jobs, etc. That is reality, whether you like it or not. And it will never change. It is how we’re made.
        The article says nothing about women being passive; that’s your word. Just because the author writes that men draw inspiration and strength from women, doesn’t mean (or even imply) that women’s only use is to inspire men. You are yet again accusing the author of saying things he never said.
        I don’t know where you get this business about insults and beatings. If you’re talking about schoolyard bullying, that’s pretty much an inevitability. There will always be some among the strong who will choose to use their strength to oppress the weak, especially as we move further from a Christian society. After the school years, there aren’t a whole lot of beatings going on, unless you frequent bars. In my entire adult life, I’ve never been beaten up, and I’m not a big guy. Insults, sure there are always obnoxious punks insulting people, but that’s life. Again, people in this post-Christian society have little incentive or desire to be kind to one another. It’s the world we live. This article does nothing to encourage that. It’s just pointing out the reality of our world, and you seem to be objecting to that.

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        Please recognize that to DESCRIBE what is typical is not the same as to ENFORCE it.

        Please also recognize that human beings are (in varying degrees) creatures with a poetical and symbolic heart. (Haven’t you read Owen Barfield’s “Poetic Diction?”) This is at the center of how we communicate. But it means that any person who is either congenitally inclined towards cold literalism or unnecessarily indoctrinated into it by an unbalanced educational experience will find other humans communicating via puzzling metaphors and feel like they have been left out of the conversation.

        The whole analogy between a woman and a fertile field, and a man and the sky shedding raindrops on the field (or a farmer sowing seed) does not exist in human literature and art because anyone ever saw it as an accurate scientific description of how human beings procreate. (I know ignorant persons say that kind of thing sometimes, but that’s because they’ve been indoctrinated with rank historicism and rendered insensible to the humanity of humans before the dawn of the iPhone.)

        No. When people used such images, they were drawing out data from the sensory experience of life: a natural comparison which is intrinsic to how our race experiences the male-female difference in the healthiest and happiest way. Note that, please: It is intrinsic to how we experience it. It is reflection on, or contemplation of, maleness and femaleness by a person with an artist’s heart, which produces all the traditional imagery and language.

        You seem to have mistaken this artistic data for some kind of dull physiology textbook…like one of those fundamentalists who don’t recognize the poetry and parallelism and liturgical pacing of the first chapter of Genesis and think they’ve got hold of some early scientist’s theory of speciation. Don’t be such a fundamentalist, KarenJo!

        If this mode of thinking is foreign to you, then try to access it by means of something less-foreign: Lyrics in popular music.

        Now, some song lyrics are very literal, too. But I am thinking of the lyrics of two songs in particular: Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” which mourn the rise of materialism (in the sense of greed and consumerism, and in the sense of crass insensibility to that which is spiritual or qualitative) in America; and also Don McLean’s “American Pie,” which you probably already know is a reflection on the tumult of the 1960’s as felt by a teenager in that era.

        KarenJo, you would laugh at the silliness of a person who read “American Pie” as a sort of literalistic newspaper article presenting a timeline of the 1960’s, wouldn’t you? Or would you scan news broadcasts hoping to find a film clip of a jester (hat-with-bells and all) playing for some European royalty while an athletic competition was held up by a pep band playing too long?

        You wouldn’t try to research the name of the “lady” in “Stairway to Heaven,” in hopes of calling her on the phone and asking her for comment, would you?

        Surely not.

        Why then, do you react to the harmless language of “sowing a seed” as you do? It’s the same error!

        I suspect it is because you associate this language with people who treat other people unjustly; specifically by using force to restrict their freedom in an arbitrary way: Jihadists and the like.

        If that is the sole cause of your over-the-top reaction, I say again: To DESCRIBE what is typical is not the same as to ENFORCE it. Unless you have independent information that the person you’re chastising really does long to put a burka on Britney Spears, or whatever, you shouldn’t accuse them of it. If nothing else, it makes you look a bit unhinged: Like one of those Victorian stereotypes of women whose tender sensibilities must be treated as fragile. I don’t suppose you want that.

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      The strongest women I know are the very ones you would consider “passive prizes”. They are strong willed, assertive, creative and resilient. They are stay at home moms, some who have up to 10+ children, most of whom are homeschooled.

      Feminists are, by their nature, anti-women. They begin their ideology with the basic premise that if women are to be considered equal to men they have to become more like men. That is a premise that is patently false!

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    I’m a 31 year old wife and mother of four and I just wanted to say I loved this article, I’m looking forward to part 2, and I’m glad I was never brainwashed by the feminazi movement like KarenJo12

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    Chris Ricketts

    KarenJo, I’ve read your objections, and I must say that I’m not sure where you are coming from. I’m very sorry if there are experiences in your life that affirm the position you take, but I do think you are imposing it on what I wrote instead of actually responding to anything that was in there. I do not think women are passive prizes for explorer men and did not indicate so. You have twisted all the meaning in the article to fit your own narrative. Again, I’m sorry if there are circumstances in your life that have led you to those beliefs.

    I did mention that there are men who will use their own strength to dominate others, and I didn’t say that it was ok in any way. That unfortunately happens all too often, and is a prime example of men abandoning the purpose of their own masculinity. In no way is ok for anyone to abuse another person, either physically or emotionally.

    You seem angry and frustrated and ready to lash out at anyone who disagrees with your own narrative, as you implied of others. I’m not trying to be mean or accusative here, but that’s just how your comments read. I love to discuss this topic, as it has great relevance. I recognize that it may be hard to discuss due to emotional and psychological barriers. Let’s try to stay open as we recognize the distinct and purposeful differences between men and women.

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    Hey, where did KarenJo12 go? Someone confronted her belligerent assumptions and misquotes with logic and truth and she just disappeared. How completely representative of the current attacks on Christianity by the secular, humanist, atheist, pro-abortion, and pro-same-sex-union crowds. This is what happens every time you have a fair discussion of any of these perversions of the Truth. Unfortunately, in the popular and mainstream media the discussions are usually one-sided and biased against the Church. God Bless all of you who defend the Truth.

  5. Pingback: A Woman's Guide to Understanding Men: Part 2 - IgnitumToday : IgnitumToday

  6. Pingback: A Woman's Guide to Understanding Men: Part III - IgnitumToday : IgnitumToday

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