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!