Over the holidays I’ve been reading “Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood,” by Nate Pyle. Here are a few quotes that are not only informative but challenging. I want to ask us, women, “How are we doing with allowing our men to be vulnerable (human)?”
Men, like women, are full of emotions. The difference is women are told their emotions are natural, and it’s okay for them to feel and talk about them. Men are told they shouldn’t have emotions, and if they do, they should hide them so they don’t look like women. Because we don’t want our men to appear weak, we fail to teach them how to be emotionally intelligent, thus leaving boys and men to a solitary struggle of hiding their emotions.
The constant pressure to be strong causes many men to ignore their emotions. Emotions that display weakness – vulnerability, dependence, compassion, insecurity, joy, and tenderness – are replaced by a strong, hypermasculine, unemotional pose. There are really only two emotions that are socially acceptable for a man to exhibit: anger and jealousy, and of these two, anger has become the dominant go to emotion for men.
Accepting our weakness begins by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. The dictionary defines vulnerability as “capable of being physically and emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage.” That’s every man I know. Not every man will admit it, but every man is. If a guy goes up to a woman and ask her for a date, he is being vulnerable and opening himself up to emotional wounding and rejection. If a man courageously stands up for what is right at work, he runs the risk of being fired.
(By the way, along with having high authority God also exhibited vulnerability in creation; God was willing to be open to wounding by the very creation he created. – Jackie statement)
Here’s the dirty secret, though: If men are unable to be weak, they will be unable to be vulnerable. And if they are unable to be vulnerable, their relationships will lack intimacy. And if their relationships lack intimacy, men will suffer from chronic loneliness.
Women, if you want your husbands, friends, and sons to be healthy, you have to allow them space to be vulnerable, and when they are, you must avoid looking at them as less than men. Women say they want their men to be vulnerable, but many men experience rejection from women when they are vulnerable. Men will only learn to be vulnerable when they have a safe place free of judgment and condemnation.
Courageous vulnerability is how Jesus depicted God’s love for humanity.
If you’re intrigued with this blog then you’ll love attending our 2017 Marcella Summit. This year we gather for intimate conversation, expert teaching, and open dialogue surrounding issues such as “Manhood” and how our understanding of masculinity can be harmful to men, women, and the Church. We will also hear more from Dr. Sue Russell as she continues our conversation on male and female kingdom relationships as the Church lives in the “Kingdom come but not yet” liminality (the space between.)
Registration is open. Registration fees are discounted until Jan 16th.
PS. We limit space because we value incarnate learning, so don’t delay in registering!