A current trend in our culture is to rid men of their toxic masculinity once and for all. So in this episode, we aim to do just that! All jokes aside, there is a biblical design for masculinity and there is so much a wife can do to affirm that good gift in her husband.
Selena: Masculinity is toxic.
Ryan: Oh, no!
Selena: Let’s get rid of it once and for all.
Ryan: Oh my goodness, Selena! You don’t actually believe this, do you?
Selena: Not at all. Not even a little bit.
Ryan: Because I happen to be masculine. I mean, I happen to be a man.
Selena: I know. I know.
Ryan: So today, you know, it occurred to me that there is a unique power that women have, wives have… I’ll say this. If you’re a single guy, it’s almost women in your life have this power over you. And it’s they can encourage you with their words or they can just tear you down.
Selena: I wouldn’t know. I’m not a single man.
Ryan: They can cut to the core, cut to the bone. For husbands that’s for sure the case in that, Selena, if you encourage me, it’s like you’re the wind beneath my wings. You make me fly over the eagle’s nest. [both laughs]
Selena: Oh, yeah. We do talk about this a lot when we talk about communication in marriage. We call it direct line that each other has exclusively to our hearts. So my words tend, and they should, hold more weight than anyone else’s.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s true.
Selena: Outside of God’s word, of course.
Ryan: Words used well can encourage but words used poorly can have the opposite effect. So today we’re talking about this topic with our aptly titled video/podcast episode, 5 Surefire Ways To Emasculate Your Husband. So we’ll see you on the other side.
Ryan: So to be completely clear, we don’t think masculinity in itself is toxic. That’s just some recent thing that people started saying, you know, granted men sin. Sin is toxic. And men have a way of living out their manliness in sinful ways. In other words, toxic ways.
There’s also such a thing as toxic femininity, which no one wants to talk about that. Maybe we will talk about that at some point. And it’s sin. All right? It’s just sin, expressing itself through our society and through the roles that we either embrace or we reject.
Speaking of embracing a role, Selena, you are very, very pregnant right now. [laughs]
Selena: Thank you.
Ryan: No, I’m saying that-
Selena: Almost 38 weeks.
Ryan: …to keep our listeners and viewers surprised.
Selena: I’m surprised I’m here, to be honest.
Ryan: I kind of am too, although-
Selena: Next week may not be happening.
Ryan: I think the baby will be born in 11 days. So we’re trying to like figure out how we’re going to keep… You know, we’re not going to be recording podcast episodes but I don’t want to leave silent.
Selena: We put a few in the can. But this is a good lead to have some man talks.
Ryan: Oh yeah. Selena is saying I should have a man month where I just get on here and just rant and rave.
Selena: Not rant and rave. [both laughs]
Ryan: Just rant and rave-
Selena: Oh my goodness.
Ryan: …about, you know-
Selena: Man things.
Ryan: Man things. I don’t know. I don’t know if people want to see that or hear that.
Ryan: Maybe. We’ll see. I’m gonna be tending to my wife-
Selena: It’s true.
Ryan: …and my lovely brood of daughters.
Selena: This is baby number four. So yeah, we’re up in about two days. I’m kidding. [laughs]
Ryan: So if you don’t know who we are, my name is Ryan. This is my lovely wife Selena. We are the Fredericks. We’re the faces, voices, founders of all things fierce, at least in that tiny little corner of the internet. Our whole hope here is to help you create a marriage that is crafted for the glory of Christ, marriage and a family. So here we are on the Fierce Marriage Podcast. We also have the Fierce Parenting Podcast. Videos and audio goes out on Thursday. So if you’re a parent, we encourage you to check those out.
And while I’m on it, we haven’t asked this for a while. This is one of the first episodes of the year. So if you haven’t done this, if you’ve not left a rating and review, we would really appreciate that. If you are watching this, go and hit that like button, subscribe to our YouTube channel. We’re almost at 10,000 which I can’t wait to hit that little-
Selena: Praise God.
Ryan: In the grand scheme, it’s a tiny little milestone. But it feels good that you’re hitting milestones once in a while. So anyway, Selena, how can a wife go about emasculating her husband? This is gonna be satirical episode. So please just take that… I want to be clear. We have serious counterpoints as well.
Selena: Well, the first one is don’t tell him that you’re proud to be his wife.
Ryan: Or that you’re proud of him.
Selena: Or him. Yeah.
Selena: Or his accomplishments or who he is or how far he’s come or anything that he is. Just make sure you’re not proud of it. [chuckles]
Ryan: You know, it’s tragic there are husbands that don’t feel like their wives are genuinely proud to be their wife or proud of all the things their husband has done.
Selena: And I think in this day and age, because of tools like social media, it’s so easy to compare. It’s so easy to covet, it’s so easy to go into, you know, this fantasy world of “Well, what if I was married to this guy? He’s probably way more accomplished,” or “Look, wow, they’re traveling” or “He’s doing this.” Instead of, you know, looking at your husband and seeing them… There’s just such a chasm. [00:05:00] If you can’t be proud of your husband, then there’s got to be… There’s just a huge chasm of actually knowing your husband, of having any sort of friendship with him.
Ryan: I think the inability to express… When we say proud we don’t mean in the simple sense but in like the contentment, the gratitude sense of the term. Usually the lack of contentment, gratitude come from, like you said, comparison.
Ryan: Whatever you’re comparing to, he’s falling short of that standard. And so I think that the solution to this is try to see your husband for your husband. And then let what you see well up within you gratitude.
Does this mean your husband can be just a complete deadbeat and you’re supposed to somehow find a way to be grateful for him? Well, in a way, yeah, you can be grateful for anybody made in the image of God. Now granted, helper, which a wife is a helpmate, want to pull and draw him up. And by God’s grace, he will have a soft heart and he’ll be able to hear see that and respond to it.
So the counter to not being proud of your husband is to say this, “I’m proud of you. I’m with you. And I’m glad to be here. I don’t regret marrying you.”
Ryan: I think back to Genesis 2, Adam is in the garden, he is alone, God is looking at his creation saying it is good. Everything is good. But one thing is not good: that this man is alone. So what does He do? He created man from the dust. He created everything from the dust. The one part of creation that was not created from the dust of the woman. She was pulled from the side of the man. Truly the crown jewel of God’s creation.
And when she was materialized before Adam there in the garden, he broke out in song. Right? He was longing for her. He was longing for her partnership, her presence, I think, in the same way husbands longing for the partnership and complicity of their wives.
Ryan: You’re not in the garden, in our little garden, our little imperfect garden, you’re not here just because you have to be. You’re not here because you’re following orders. You’re here because you’re complicit in this vision and in this mandate that God’s given us to become one flesh.
Selena: Right. And if you’ve been married for a while, I mean, you know, feelings fade, and sometimes it feels difficult to want to be proud of your husband and to be glad that you married him. But again, our feelings are not the driver of how we act and how we express our love towards our husband. So those feelings are not always valid. They may be there, but you can’t always let them be in the driver’s seat.
I think it’s just so important for us to remember who that person was that we married, remember those reasons for why we married them, and remember our covenant. That’s what a covenant is there for. The moments are there that you’re not feeling as bold and excited about being married to your husband, as maybe you could be or should be.
Ryan: Good, good. Number two surefire way to emasculate a man, to emasculate your husband is to fail to express your desire for him.
Selena: I think this is something that we’ve dealt with personally. You’ve told me in the past that you don’t feel like I want you sometimes, that I desire you.
Ryan: I think honestly, as we’ve been married more, that’s happened less and less I felt that way. You’re really good at hiding it. [both laughs]
Selena: No, no. It was one of those things, and maybe call me naive that I didn’t know until you said it. Because again, we see, you know, women get a lot of the press for wanting to be pursued and wanting to be desired. And it’s different, right? It’s different for a man wanting to be desired by his wife. But we’re talking more like intimately and sexually. It can be both.
Ryan: I think it could be a physical attraction for sure. Also, just friendship. Like you just want to be around me.
Selena: You want to be around him, yeah.
Ryan: You’re not just looking for escape routes and ways to avoid actually engaging in conversation and things like that.
Selena: And you’re not just roommates that go places together. You are a married couple.
Ryan: I think it’s healthy for men to want there… If you take a young boy and a young girl, they’re gonna have very different hardwired tendencies. Like the young boy is going to try and prove his feats of strength. He’s gonna go in and try to find the tallest thing to climb and the biggest rock to pick up. Right? Whereas the little girls are going to have a complete different tendency. They’re going to want to make home somewhere. It’s a lot more relational where men want to impress, right?
I know, personally speaking, and I’ll speak for majority of men, I think, is we want to be attractive to our wives. We want our wives to think that we’re strong. We may not be the strongest man in the world; I’d like to think I’m the strongest man in our household. [both laughs]
Selena: Right now you are.
Ryan: The strongest person in our household and that you find me uniquely handsome. It doesn’t mean that I am on the cover of a magazine. But my wife thinks I could be there. And hopefully she’s not because she’s delusional. [00:10:00]
Selena: I think I desire a strong man because I don’t want to be the head of the house. I don’t want to protect the house. I don’t want to provide and do the role that my husband has called by God to do. I want to rest assuredly and confidently in the fact that I know he’s going to step into those steps, he’s going to fulfill that role.
We’re about to have a baby and I know that he can handle everything. I can bet a million dollars on it. I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be there, he’s going to be reliable. For me, that makes him desirable to me, is not just that he serves me or that he gives me all the things I need and want, but that through and through, his heart is pursuing the Lord, his desires are right. I can also trust him to filter through even some of my own wrong desires.
So he’s always been handsome to me physically. He’s always been attractive to me. I don’t think there’s anybody else that’s attractive in the whole wide world. You’re the hottest guy ever.
Ryan: I appreciate that.
Selena: I think it’s, you know,-
Ryan: But there’s something to be said for… I thank you for saying that. Here’s the word I’m going to use. Guys want to swim. We want to cause our wives to swim. And I’ll say that. But the wife has a role to play in this is that you have to stay swimmable, right?
Selena: And that’s a hard-
Ryan: You’re not hardening your heart toward your husband. But even if he’s somehow offended you or sinned against you, or he’s let himself go, there’s still a heart orientation that I think you can remain swimmable by your husband. Not by any guy passing by, of course. By your husband. And I think there’s something good, right, and true in that. Just go to the Song of Solomon for that and see that mutual exchange between the lover and his beloved. That’s number two.
Number three surefire way to emasculate a husband is don’t believe in him. Now, you think about it, like, being proud of your husband is like, I’m proud of the past with you and I’m proud of the present with you. Desiring your husband is I want to be with you right where you are, right where we are.
Now, believing in Him is saying, “I believe in our future together. That you’re going to continue to grow, you’re gonna continue to provide. We’re gonna continue kind of in a positive direction.” But-
Selena: And then we can be together. I believe that we can walk through anything together with the Lord as our strength, right? I believe in you to lead us through whatever fire the Lord may call us to.
Ryan: Or “I believe in you to step it up where you’re trying to step it up, even though it’s not exactly what I think it will be or should be.” So, for instance, if a husband is trying to step up his game in how he’s discipling his kids, “I believe in you.” And even if he doesn’t have a seminary degree, even if he doesn’t even have a college degree, or even if he didn’t even graduate high school, the wife can play a role in saying, “I believe that you can do this in our home.”
Selena: Yeah, absolutely.
Ryan: I believe in you, that you can provide. I believe, if we have a new venture, right, we’re going to take a risk together. Okay, after we’ve talked about it, after we’ve hashed out the various details, I believe in you. At the end of the day, I believe in you.
Selena: This kind of goes along with that thread of, you know, we have an exclusive communication line, a direct line to each other’s hearts. So we know each other the most, right? Ideally, through the strength of God, and our trust in Him and our covenant together, I can see the failings and still love you the most and still believe in you and still be hopeful. Because love… What does it say in 1 Corinthians 13? Love always hopes-
Ryan: Hopes all things, yeah.
Selena: And so-
Ryan: Which, by the way, we’re gonna do this version for wives next week, so don’t think it’s… I’m just making my pregnant wife say all these good things about me [laughs] and then we’re gonna be gone for a month.
Selena: [inaudible 00:14:03]
Ryan: I appreciate that. So yeah, that belief comes from that understanding that the man you married is not the man he’s going to be the rest of his life. That God is at work. You’re hoping all things. You’re genuinely hoping the best.
Selena: Well, I’m letting him grow into that too, as well. I think sometimes we pin men down and say, “Well, that’s how you are and that’s how you’re always going to be. So this is just how we’re going to deal with that, instead of allowing them to grow and believing that God can grow and change their hearts.
Ryan: Some of the stuff that we’ve been through, I can’t imagine what it would have done to me if you wouldn’t have been so eager to believe in me. Like some of the risks we’ve taken, the places that we’ve gone, the times when our bank account has been under $100. And you’re not the kind of wife that looks at me and says, “What a screw up!” But you say, “Sweetheart, we’re gonna get through this together. I believe in you. I believe in us.”
I can’t imagine how I would feel if you weren’t. So I’m thankful for you being that woman to me. [00:15:00] If you’re watching, listening to this, and you are that woman, pray and ask if that’s a productive way to communicate to your husband. We’re seeing right now that it’s-
Selena: God is faithful and gentle to lead you into that, you know. If your heart has been hardened, just go to God, repent. Repentance is part of your heart softening first towards God and the things of God and then towards your husband.
Ryan: And you may be saying, “Well, you haven’t seen the bad decisions my husband has made.”
Ryan: That leads to number four surefire way to emasculate your husband is to refuse to trust in Him and refuse to grow in your trust toward him.
Ryan: Just refuse to do it. In other words, if he’s messed up in the past, if you want to emasculate him, never let his past mess ups, his past failings go, never forget those. Constantly express doubt in his ability to provide whether that’s physically spiritually, emotionally, whatever your family needs. To massacre your husband, doubt that he can do any of those things.
Selena: Well, I don’t know if you’re meaning… Does this fall under things like infidelity and…?
Ryan: That’s a different category.
Selena: Refusing to trust I think it’s part of it because you’re building trust.
Ryan: I’d say that’s separate-
Selena: Okay. That’s what I want to clarify.
Ryan: …trust conversation to be had. Now, if he’s repented of that and he’s making steps to make that right, there’s going to be a healing process. We’re not saying in any way short circuit the healing process. And trust in that sense can be earned. It needs to be earned.
Selena: And rebuilt. Absolutely.
Ryan: And rebuilt.
Selena: That’s what I want to clarify. Because if we’re throwing around the word “trust” in marriage, I think it’s important to kind of pinpoint what we’re saying, what exactly we’re talking about.
Ryan: If a husband is a serial pornography abuser and can’t leave him at home with the internet connection, because he’s failed 100 times, then, yeah, you don’t trust him at home with an internet connection. If he demands your trust, then he’s delusional. He doesn’t deserve it in that case.
Number five. I think it’s number five. This is the biggest one and impacts I think the biggest punch. But if you want to emasculate your husband, constantly love him conditionally. Refuse to show him love if he falls short in any way. How do wives show their love? We talked about the physical component, but you can choose to withhold these words because he hasn’t made you feel loved. So you’re choosing to be stingy with your love, you’re being stingy with words of affection, actions of affection. They should all be based on whether or not you feel like it and whether or not he deserves it.
Obviously, the counterpoint is, instead of saying, you know, “I’m gonna give my love conditionally,” now most women, most husbands too, they don’t say in their minds, “I’m gonna love him conditionally.”
Selena: No, it’s just when the feelings come or the lack of trust or any of the shortcomings start to set in. It’s so much easier to respond emotionally really, instead of taking a step back and reminding ourselves what God’s word has said about them, about us—that were made in the image of God, that we are worth loving. That even when he fails, I have nothing higher to hold over him because I too fail.
I have to forgive, you know, if it’s towards me because Christ has forgiven me of so much. My sin against Christ is way more than his sin against me. And so there’s no way that I can withhold love, but also hold on to unforgiveness and bitterness when Christ has given me so much.
Ryan: The counterpoint to this is to say something more along these lines. “I know you’re perfect, but I choose to love you anyway.”
Selena: I know you’re not perfect. [chuckles]
Ryan: I know you’re not perfect.
Selena: I know you’re perfect. [laughs]
Ryan: I know you’re perfect. But to say, “I know you’re not perfect, but I choose to love you anyway.”
Ryan: There’s a quote that says, Love is this. Basically love is saying, I’ve seen all the ugly parts of you, all the undesirable parts of you and still I will stay right. I will love you. That’s love. That’s the kind of love that Christ shows us. That’s why you talked about Him being forgiving toward us despite our offense toward Him.
Selena: And it’s so cyclical, I think, too. So when one of you breaks down this expression of love unconditionally, I feel like once somebody kind of breaks the ice and says like, “I love you. I know you’re not perfect,” that just bolsters him a little bit more and I think strengthens him to say, “Yeah, maybe I screwed up and I want to be the man that you see and want me to be.”
And so then he starts stepping up and then I’m like watching the Lord at work in him, and that encourages me to desire him more. Like there’s all these, I think, just cyclical triggers that happen when we actually obey God in loving one another covenantally.
Ryan: The beautiful thing is this is the kind of love, when expressed between husband and wife, that will inevitably push you closer to Christ because you’re realizing very tangibly what it means to be loved by God in Christ. That you didn’t deserve the love that you’re receiving, [00:20:00] but yet you received it.
Ryan: That gives you a very tangible expression. I believe that’s one of the main reasons marriage is the way it is. It’s the way covenant is. That’s the way love is designed to. So within the covenant of marriage, we can love each other in a way that we see Christ and we echo very dimly, we reflect dimly the gospel through our marriage.
A few caveats here. All of these things, you know, kind of coming out an interesting angle in how to emasculate that your husband, all of these things do not somehow negate the husband’s responsibility to love his wife on God’s terms as well. So I’m not here saying like, yeah, you haven’t loved me unconditionally, therefore, I’m not going to respond to you. No.
In all these cases, a husband still needs to step up and love a wife even if she is routinely emasculating him. We’re gonna talk about that next week. Actually, in another episode, we’re gonna flip the script here and talk about what wives need to hear from their husbands. But I want to make that caveat.
The final thing I want to say is just, we talked about the love that we receive from our spouse and that being reflective of the love we receive in Christ. If you’re not a Christian, you don’t know what that love means, we want to invite you to experience that love of God that came through Christ being born.
We believe that He was 100% man and 100% God in this miraculous convergence of the eternal with the temporal into Christ. He lived a perfect life that we couldn’t live, He satisfied the complete wrath of God on the cross so that we don’t have to bear it. And instead, we can stand in God’s good favor because of what Christ did.
So if you want to become a Christian, we would invite you to check out this website, thenewsisgood.com, or find a friend who’s a Christian, find a pastor maybe you might know off, talk to them, and take a step. Don’t delay. Eternity is at stake.
Let’s pray. Lord, we thank You for marriage. Thanks for the gift it is. Thank You for wives that encouraged their husbands. Thank You for husbands that have encouraging wives. We pray that if a husband and wife are not encouraging to one another, we pray that You would convict their hearts in a way that would change their hearts. Holy Spirit, work in those marriages that they might edify one another more completely and reflect your love more truly.
Lord, I pray for marriages that feel like they’re on the last threat, that You would strengthen them, give them hope. Put their feet on a firm path they might step in the positive direction toward reconciliation, toward healthier marriage, all for Your glory and for their good. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Ryan: Thanks for joining us. If you haven’t yet, check out a fiercemarriage.com/partner. What that is, it’s actually one of the main ways we fund this. We sell books, we love doing that. We love writing books. But we also have our patrons who are, through and through, they’re right there for us, they’re with us and they’re on mission with us. There are some benefits to becoming a patron. But don’t do it for that. Do it just because God is calling you and you want to respond.
So with that said, this episode of Fierce Marriage is—
Selena: In the can.
Ryan: See you again in seven days. Until next time—
Selena: Stay fierce.