8 Insights Into the Soul of a Man

I read the book “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge.  It was so powerful.  It really helped me understand and accept whole-heartedly how God made me to be: emotional, loving, wanting to be seeing as beautiful, wanting to be part of an adventure, wanting to be fought for…  It was all starting to make sense.  Getting the peace of mind that the thought of “I am too much, and not enough” was a lie from Satan.  Always was.  I highly highly recommend all women read it.  There is so much understanding and peace to be had from that book.

So then, my next priority was getting my hands on “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge.  It is the guy version of “Captivating.”  It is a deep, biblical exploration of how and why God created men.  

Because of the truths Ethan found in “Wild at Heart” he has finally been able to start his healing process with the Lord, he finally recognizes the wounds and the lies that have been such a burden and a real setback in his relationship with Jesus.  He finally understands why God made him with a fighter spirit, always wanting a worthy cause to fight for.  He found peace in the fact that God didn’t create him to be a “nice, tame, Christian guy,” but a bold advocate for Him that lives a life of risk and triumph.  He has grown more spiritually over the last month than in the last 2 years we have been together.

Here are some of the things about men that stem from the Bible and “Wild at Heart”:

1. Men crave adventure and/or danger – it is a desire God gave them, a way for them to come alive, and we, as women, need to accept it and even encourage them to experience it.  It is good for their soul.  It is a desire that, when fulfilled, enables them to be better, stronger, more devoted, more fulfilled men for us women.  Guys, Ethan keeps talking about how he wants to hunt something that can hunt him back and come home to me wearing its skin.  Before reading this book, I probably would have said “ew” or “that’s not fun for the animal, how would you like to be skinned?”  But now, I understand that he craves adventure and danger – it is in his nature, God made men with the desire to challenge their strength.  In accepting and trying to understand this, I have come to appreciate it.  I’m starting to like the idea of him coming home to me wearing the skin of a wolf or something.  Understanding this desire also shed light on why so many men love video games.  It offers the adventure and even adrenaline rush (if the game is good enough!) without the danger or discomfort of leaving their home.

2. Men want a beauty to fight for – a lot of war movies, a lot of action movies, a lot of stories in general revolve around a man going to war with his love.  The book uses the example of why men keep photos of their women with them when they go to war.  So many boats, so many planes, so many jets, named after women.  How perfectly they are wired so that a woman has a man to fight the battles she cannot handle alone.  I have faced a lot of judgment, a lot of ridicule, a lot of harsh words as a single mom spreading the Christian message.  Ethan has stood in between me and my oppressors when I was too broken and too weak from the wounds to fight anymore.  Men are a blessing to women in this way, they are our emotional and spiritual protectors!  And even in physical protection; it gives me so much peace when my daughter and I are with Ethan, no matter what we are doing, because his presence makes me feel safe.  Even though he has told me before that he knows I could hold my own if it came down to it, I highly prefer the peace that his presence brings me.  Also, with the understanding of this, came the understanding that some men, like mine, God designed with a fighter spirit.  He is always talking about how he would die fighting to protect a child, Jesus, his faith, me, a woman being attacked… He has that spirit that is ready, willing, able to fight and die for those that can’t fight for themselves and for what he believes in.  Rather than scold him on talking about fighting people, I’ve come to accept it, appreciate it, and I now see it as nothing but a blessing for others.  The book also talks about how pornography has been a serious problem in men: it offers them the beauty without having to fight for it or work for it.  It’s there, it’s readily available 24/7, it’s easy, it’s temporary.  Pornography can also distort and pervert #7 below.

3. They want deeply to be needed – there was a point in my relationship with Ethan that I had told him “I don’t need you, but I want you.”  At that point, I was afraid of idolizing Ethan and our relationship, and I thought that “setting this straight” would solve it.  After a lot of praying, a lot of researching, and a lot of talking with friends and others more spiritually wise than myself, I realized I was terribly wrong, and that I cut Ethan deeply by saying that.  Men need to feel needed.  They want to play an essential role in our lives.  They want to be leaned on in hard times, they want to provide when we are weak.  If he is not needed, he is replaceable, he is unnecessary, he is just something that makes me smile.  I sincerely apologized to him for this, and since then, I find myself opening up with more vulnerabilities and weaknesses that I can lean on Ethan to help me through.  They want to see that we trust them with our needs.

4. Why men need affirmation from men AND affirmation from women for different reasons and The Wound – “Wild at Heart” talks about every boy’s primary question that can only be answered by other men (in particular their fathers): “Do I have what it takes, am I man enough?”  I cannot tell you guys how many times I told him “you are a great man,” “God will use you for great things,” “you are so brave, so strong, for stepping into me and my daughter’s life,” “you are what I’ve always wanted in a man and more.”  I could tell that hearing those things made him happy, and that he needed to hear them from me, especially after all the negative things he was told by his parents most of his life, but he kept coming back to hear them again and again and again.   I started wondering, “Why does he doubt himself so much? Why does he need to hear my affirmation so frequently?”  Then he realized that his question was answered: You are not enough, you are worthless, you are good-for-nothing.  That permanently scarred him.  Then one day, he was told how awesome he was by another man, and he came to me and told me how amazing he felt.  I was offended!  I said “I’ve been telling you that the last 2 years and all the sudden some guy says it ONE time and NOW you believe it?”  Then he reminded me what the book said.  Men need men to answer their question.  ONLY men can bestow masculinity.  Men also need affirmation from women, but for different reasons.  The affirmation they get from us tells them that they are desirable and gives them someone to fight for that believes in them.  Women cannot answer their question, but we can offer them motivation, encouragement, admiration, and loving words that build them up.

5. Men are called by God to be the spiritual leaders of the family – it is up to them to step up to it, and it is up to us, as women, to allow them and trust them.  I will be the first to admit that I like to be in control, it is a sin tendency in all women, and it is something to be fought a lot of the times (God wants to be in control of all of our lives, men are called to be leaders of the household, men are called to be spiritual leaders of the family…).  Ethan stepping into this role has been amazing.  He has offered me so much wisdom about so many things, all I had to do was open up in weakness, and allow him to offer me his strength in the Lord. 

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)

6. Men are called to be the head of the household – this one was especially tough for me to accept, since Ethan stepped into our lives after I had been in total control of all decisions regarding my daughter for the last year and a half.  However, I have learned to loosen my grip, little by little, and trust Ethan with decisions.  The more I trusted him with, the more Ethan feels valued, important, needed, and involved.  A lot of times, he is right and just.  A lot of times, he is my backbone, especially when it’s way past bedtime and my daughter tells me she wants to snuggle.  He has shown me and proved to me that he is a trustworthy, wise, and amazing father.  SO, I will continue to do this, and I cannot wait to see how much he flourishes as a father when we get married and are actually able to establish our own rules in our own home.

7. Sexual fulfillment and having a passionate love is a major desire – it’s hard because this is something I cannot fulfill for Ethan at this point, since we are not married.  It is a desire wired in every man, and it is God-given, and it is a blessing within the covenant of marriage.  I guess I will come back to this and elaborate after Ethan and I are married.  All I can say now is that we as women, especially as wives, need to try to understand and respect this.  I read in “Captivating” how scarring it can be for a man to reach out to his wife, wanting to satisfy her and satisfy his passion for her, only to be rejected because she has something else she would rather do.  I’ve already promised Ethan I won’t do this, because he admitted that was a deep fear of his – to be rejected physically by his own wife.  I never thought about it before I read the book and we talked about it, but it does make sense.  A man that trusts his wife makes himself vulnerable, exposes a need, and is rejected.  That would hurt.  Badly.

8. Sin tendency in men vs. women – “Wild at Heart” and “Captivating” talk about these quite a bit.  The sin tendency of women is to be controlling.  The sin tendency of men is to become passive.  This totally contradicts how God intended a household to be run and lead, and sadly, it is not uncommon today.  We women like to be in control, we like doing things our way, and having them done our way if others step in to help.  We run the house, we make the decisions, we call the shots.  But then… that means the man isn’t the head of the household, so he has released his role, and then he steps down and just goes with the flow.  He becomes passive.  He doesn’t step in to make decisions, he isn’t actively involved in household decisions or in the lives of his wife/children, his opinion doesn’t carry much weight, his opinion is automatically overruled by the wife’s.  I’m not saying that women can’t be right and men can’t be wrong, but I am saying that there are times for a woman to step in and fight for what she believes and there are times when we get out of hand in wanting to control every situation.   This also feeds into the need in men to feel needed and essential (#3) as well as being spiritual and household leaders (#5, 6).

Reading “Captivating” and “Wild at Heart” was very enlightening for both Ethan and myself, and it really shed light on how masterfully God created man and woman.  How perfectly God created both to be perfect compliments of each other in every aspect of life.

Another article about this here.

More Bible quotes about men being spiritual/household leaders here.

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11 thoughts on “8 Insights Into the Soul of a Man

  1. Matthew says:

    One of my friends posted one of your blog articles on Facebook yesterday, the one about why waiting to have sex until you’re marries is such a good thing. I have been reading a lot more of them since then. These are INCREDIBLE insights not only into the mind of a woman but a Godly relationship as well. I started reading Wild At Heart last night and it is amazing. I am participating in a fast at my church and at the top of the list is the woman that God has for me. I know a little more now as to why that desire is running rampant in me. I’m hard-wired that way. I have a massive desire in my heart to swoop in and save the day for that woman He has chosen for me. And with that sometimes I become so focused on her that I neglect my relationship with God. I have now determined to not give up on her, but to refocus my attentions on my Creator. I know that he has a woman out there for me that is, quite frankly, like you. From what I have read here, you are the type of woman I have desired for so long ( Don’t worry, you are clearly spoken for by a good and Godly man and I wish you two the best!) It’s more the qualities, passion, and wisdom you possess that I pray for in my wife-to-be. May God bless you for your encouraging words and prosper you and Ethan in your life together. Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to more posts.

    Matt

    • John 7:53-8:11 says:

      Thank you so much for your perspective as a man and for being so honest with your testimony!!! I am so excited for you and even more for your future wife, having a man grounded in faith is one of the most incredible experiences I have had as a woman. She will be greatly blessed by you and you by her. I will pray for you and your future wife. You guys will be a powerhouse couple for Christ!! God bless!!

      • Matthew says:

        Fantastic! Thanks again. It really helps to hear that and boosts my spirit. I actually went to a nature trail near my house today and read some more of Wild At Heart – IN THE WOODS! It was fantastic. Even got a little muddy in the process. HA! God has really been speaking to me through that book. So glad I’m taking the time to read it. Thanks again and may the two of you be blessed beyond anything you can dream up!

  2. Laura says:

    I am curious to hear more about your #7 and the fact that you have promised your fiance that you will always have sex with him whenever he wants it.

    I have been married for about four years now. My husband and I decided to wait until we were married to have sex. When we were dating, I was so excited to have sex that I remember thinking to myself that I would never, ever turn him down when he wanted to be intimate. However, now that I’ve been married for awhile, I realize that there are some times when he wants to have sex but I am busy or too tired. In turn, there have been some times when I have wanted to be intimate with my husband, but he turned me down because he was busy with work or was tired after a long day.

    It seems problematic to me that you (or any person) would promise to have sex with another person whenever that person wants it. Don’t you also have a say in what happens to your body? Your body is God’s creation and is His holy temple, so I think He wants you to respect your own body. Of course, I realize that marriage often requires compromise, so there have definitely been times when I wasn’t 100% excited about having sex, but I still did it because I knew that my husband wanted it. I think that’s fine. However, if one person totally ignores her own desires and totally debases herself by doing whatever the other person wants her to do all the time, I think that can become a very unhealthy relationship. One of the reasons God created sex was so that two people could physically express their love and joy to each other. That doesn’t happen when one person feels forced into the act simply so her partner won’t be upset.

    I, too, have read “Captivating,” and I don’t quite understand the idea that a husband would feel totally rejected if his wife turns down his offer for sex. As I mentioned, there have been times when I wanted sex but my husband did not. When he said no, I did not feel at all like he was rejecting me as a person. I knew that he still loved me and liked being intimate with me; he simply was busy or tired or not in the mood that night. If the partner who doesn’t want sex says no in a kind way (e.g., “I’m sorry, but I am in the middle of something right now. How about tomorrow night instead?”), then I don’t see how that would be very emotionally scarring. In a mature relationship that is built on mutual trust, understanding, and love, I think it would be rare for a person to feel as though they are being totally rejected if his/her spouse simply didn’t feel in the mood for sex that one night.

    I’m also curious why you only mention making this promise to your husband. Has he made this promise to you? What about when you want to have sex, but he doesn’t? Will he also be willing to drop everything to please you? (And yes, there are many women who have stronger sex drives than their husbands, despite the fact that our society focuses so heavily on men’s sexual desires.)

    I would be curious to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

    • John 7:53-8:11 says:

      Thanks so much for commenting, I love hearing the experiences of others that are farther down the path than me. Seriously, thank you!

      Ethan and I have talked about this quite a bit, because it is a mutual fear of ours to enter into this state of vulnerability of wanting to be intimate and then being turned away. I know that there may be times when we are busy or tired, but I also know that my goal is to serve him, and by serve, I also mean do things for him when I don’t really want to. Whether it is picking up after him, bringing him things he has forgotten, cleaning his dishes, or having sex when I am busy or tired. He sees it the same way. We’ve talked especially about the busy part of it, we don’t want life to get in the way of our intimacy.

      I do respect what you and your husband do, though, greatly. Maybe we will even get to that point someday, I can’t say! I just know that our mutual goal going INTO marriage is to serve each other in all aspects of our lives. It may sound weird when tied to sex, but I don’t mean doing it totally against my will. I totally agree with you, our bodies are a gift from God, not to be defiled or used. I honestly don’t believe that having sex with my husband when I may not have been feeling it at first is a form of abuse to my body. I see that act as an act of service to my husband. Bringing myself up to the occasion to meet his needs and desires. Serving him brings me a lot of happiness.

      I don’t know a lot about this, I admit. All I know is what we are hoping to maintain in our marriage and our goals going into it. I’m sure there will be set-backs and trials, but we are trying to understand each others fears and needs going into it in hopes of being able to be the best husband/wife possible for each other. I do agree that promise is a strong word, I will probably go back and change it as there are bound to be moments where I fail, unfortunately.

      It’s an ironic blessing – my fiancé and I have the same fear of being turned away when the other is trying to be desirable. This and because of what we have read in “Captivating” and “Wild at Heart” is why we have agreed to make this goal of rising to the occasion, even when too busy or are not initially in the mood.

      Thanks for commenting and discussing, God bless!!

  3. Erin Lamb says:

    I love Kris Vallotton’s interpretation of marriage in the Bible. Men are supposed to lay down their lives for their wives as Christ did for the Church. Christ served/serves the Church, humbled Himself, and raised us up to heavenly places to co-reign with Him. How did Jesus lead, as a servant. Submitting to God is easy because He leads out of love. Men are called to die to self. Women are called to submit to someone who’s dead to self.

  4. AJ says:

    Hi, Thank you so much for writing this blog! And this post in particular. I wouldn’t have heard of Captivating if it weren’t for you, and that book answered so many questions I didn’t even know I had.

    There are two conflicting things that I’m confused about. In your third point in this post, you unintentionally hurt Ethan by telling him that you want him but don’t need him. I’ve noticed from personal experience that guys don’t like being a sideshow, but then songs like Miss Independent by Ne-Yo confuse me.

    Here are the lyrics: http://www.metrolyrics.com/miss-independent-lyrics-neyo.html
    And here’s a link to the song: https://open.spotify.com/track/34ceTg8ChN5HjrqiIYCn9Q

    Do you have any insight on this?

    Thanks!
    AJ

    • Single Young Christian Mom says:

      Hmm that’s a great question! I guess there could be many reasons why certain men desire a more “independent” woman – like wounds from their past, wanting to protect their money, wanting to protect their time, not wanting to feel bad if things don’t work out, less responsibility in the relationship… there could be so many reasons. I don’t think any man wants a woman that is “needy,” meaning they cannot give them any breathing room to be adventurous, have time with other men, rely on a man to give them their sense of self, etc. I’m sure the answer would vary man to man, but those are my best guesses! I have a close friend who is actually on the brink of divorce because her husband told her “he doesn’t want to share his life anymore – finances, time, house, nothing.” When she tries to tell him she needs him to work on it and stay, he tells her “you’ll be fine.” His reasons for not wanting to be married or needed are purely selfish. I’d bet that most men’s reasons for not wanting to feel needed are, since the book that inspired this article gave great evidence that it’s hardwired into men! I hope this helps or at least invokes some insight into it for you to explore. God bless!!

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