Most guys today, if asked, could tell you what they want. “I want a steak – medium rare, with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the side, please!” “I want a lot of money, a black Hummer with mud on the tires, and a pit bull to protect all my stuff!” “I want a bag of Doritos, a six pack, and 70,000 screaming football fans to party with via my big screen TV.” Guys tend to know what they want in the female department, too. And they tend to view woman as existing entirely for their own selfish pleasure.
Even writing this, I am profoundly ashamed of what we, as modern-day guys, have become. The tragic thing is that it seems as if most guys are proud to be this disgustingly predictable. Our problem, as guys, does not lie in the fact that we are uncertain in our “wants,” it’s that our “wants” are crippling us. Just like an arrow is meant to hit a target, we as young men are meant to hit a target with our lives – to be shaped into men that resemble the manhood of Jesus Christ. It seems that this culture has trained us to shoot our arrows, no longer at the target of “majestic man-ness,” but haphazardly straight up into the air. Then, like stooges, we can’t figure out why the arrows we shot straight up into the air are raining like meteors right back down upon our lives and maiming us.
I’m sure that for you, as a young woman, pondering these things about modern-day manhood can be quite discouraging. But I want you to know that there is tremendous hope. Firstly, there is a new resurgence in Christ-like manhood taking place throughout this emerging generation of young men – it will take time to develop, but a new fleet of warrior-poets is being formed. Secondly, there is an inspiring new resurgence of set-apart womanhood awakening as well in lives like yours, which provides a wellspring of hope that a radical reformation of manhood is on the horizon. Because in every culture, one of the dominant forces that determines the quality of its masculinity is the quality of its femininity.
We as guys need women to help us turn our map right side up, or in most cases, provide us with a whole new map. We need young women to help us realize that if we altered our wants, retooled our approach to finding man-ness, and used a new “map” on our journey, we would end up with far more in our manhood than we ever dreamed or imagined.
In Part One, we explored practical ways that you as a young woman could inspire men to become godly protectors, rather than conquerors, of purity. Now, I would like to present four practical things that you, as a young woman, can do right now to help us young men train to become more selflessly sensitive; to help us cultivate the poet side of godly masculinity.
Be tender. Being tender to a guy is different than a guy being tender to a girl. Tenderness is giving to someone else that which they most need in the moment they most need it; it is getting into the skin of someone else, looking at life through their eyes, and meeting their needs the way they need them met. The safest and best way to practice tenderness is on your dad and brothers. Guys are motivated and encouraged by very different things than girls. The way to motivate a guy is to first of all, study him and determine the two or three things that he enjoys investing his time and energy into. It could be basketball, computers, airplanes, or a million other things – but every guy has an interest and a place in which he invests himself. The second thing to do is to go out of your way to “watch him at work.” Guys, for some odd reason, love to be cheered on and observed at their “craft.” If you show excitement for a guy’s area of interest, you will gain a unique avenue into his life. A woman who appreciates a man’s hard-earned skill is a woman that a man will listen to. And if you compliment a guy after you observe him excelling at his “craft,” your words will help shape him as a man. Remember, the words of a woman have the power to make a man either a prince or a peon. Please use that power the way God intended it to be used and help us become princes.
Be covertly creative. My mom learned the secret of how to “nudge” me when I was around the age of fourteen. She realized that anytime she “forced” me to do something like learn to play the piano, take art lessons, or join the swim team, I stiffened up like a board, folded my arms, and refused to enjoy myself. But if she creatively placed the opportunity in front of me in such a way that I got excited about the idea, seemingly on my own, instead of complaining about the idea, I would actually be begging her to allow me to do it. But remember girls, to make it work you have to do it in a way that we guys never suspect that you are “guy-nudging.” The secret to “nudging” a young man toward becoming a poet is learning how to create the right atmosphere in which he will not feel pressured or nagged, but challenged to grow. Practice thinking of creative atmospheres in which a young man could take steps forward in the direction of becoming a poet. A great way to start is on someone like your brother. I know it does not sound very romantic, but brothers are a great training ground and extremely safe to practice on. For instance, invite your brother on a date. Take him to a nice restaurant and in the process, gently “nudge” him toward treating you like a lady. Stop in front of each door, and if he does not open it for you, in your most genteel voice, say, “Aren’t you going to get the door for me?” When you sit down to eat, sweetly ask him to order for you – and if he’s willing, do your best to be excited about his choice. Throughout the night, encourage him as a young man and inspire him as warrior-poet; even allow him to pay for the meal if he is man enough to offer. A great line to throw in somewhere during the night, right after your brother has done something admirable, is, “You are going to make a great husband someday!” If you say it sincerely, he will never forget those words. Just remember, allow the guy to take the step forward; if he feels pushed forward he often won’t budge. And be creative with how you build the right atmosphere – creativity is a great way to cover up the fact that you are an undercover “guy-nudger.”
Be willing to be unappreciated. Plain and simple, when a young man finally takes a step forward in the warrior-poet direction, never say “I told you so!” You may have played a huge role in his growth, but if he senses an “I told you so” attitude from you, he will tend to either go backward, or close you off from being a part of the process from then on. To protect a man’s dignity, allow him to feel that the step was wholly his. If he desires to give you credit, that’s great. In fact, that would show even further progress in his man-ness. But do not try and force him to give you the credit. Remember, you are supposed to be an undercover “guy-nudger,” not a front and center “guy-shover.”
Be a defender of masculinity. Just as you need young men to learn how to stand up and fight for authentic, God-designed femininity, so we, as guys, need you to stand up and fight for authentic, God-designed masculinity. In a sense, we need you to be female warriors, defending the awesome potential of what manhood could and should be. You may have been hurt deeply by men in your life, and what I am asking of you may seem like climbing Mt. Everest, but I would like you to seriously consider it. Please do not punish manhood because of the idiocy of one or even a few. Manhood can be so much more than it is today, but you hold one of the golden keys to help unlock us from our “perverted and mule-like” prison. We are being stomped on by this culture, we are spiritually weak, and our true nobility has faded – we cannot ward off the formidable powers that have aligned themselves to destroy us, unless you put on your armor like a Joan of Arc and come to our defense. Great things are in store for our emerging generation if you catch this vision. Manhood will once again rise from the ashes of compromise and will be something worthy of your highest affections.
We would all admit that warrior-poets are rare these days. But the first step to their rediscovery is realizing that it is possible for Warrior Poets to re-emerge. In these “studies on manhood” we have explored how you, as a young woman, can help that “warrior-poet formation” become a reality in modern-day young men. We as modern men are deluded into thinking that we are actually headed in the right direction. But burpin’ and scratchin’ within the city-limits of Jerksville is not what God had in mind. That is why we desperately need you to provide us with the map that will help us reach the city of “Great Manhood.”
It is my desire that you would catch the vision of world-altering womanhood, and that you would be willing to sacrifice everything you hold dear in order to “come away” with your Prince. I hope you take the message of this article seriously and build your life around the creation of a sacred sanctuary for your Heavenly Prince. There is nothing greater than to intimately share your heart with Jesus Christ!
We, as men, need set-apart young women to inspire us. It is also my desire that you would be successful in your relationships with men as well as nurture the growth of your authentic, God-designed femininity. But along the way, beware of your “sweet tooth.” Women everywhere struggle with their craving for male affection and companionship. There are “Chucks” everywhere, sporting WWJD t-shirts, masquerading as real men. And there is nothing that will stifle authentic, God-designed femininity faster than a resident of Jerksville with “one thing” on his mind.
Even if you have to remain single for years to come, you can be fully satisfied with your Prince. Please do not ever sacrifice your femininity for the short-lived satisfaction of having a guy by your side. Most guys today are not yet worth the rare beauty of a set-apart young woman. Be patient, and pray daily. Soon, young men reminiscent of Jesus Christ will begin to appear on the horizon like the much-anticipated sunrise after a long, dark night. In God’s economy, the years of loneliness and pain given to serving and obeying Him are always gloriously worth it.*