DiscoverCreating a More Romantic MarriageA Man's View of Romance (Part Four)
A Man's View of Romance (Part Four)

A Man's View of Romance (Part Four)

Update: 2021-01-14


FamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript

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Creating A More Romantic Marriage 

Day 8 of 8


Guest:                            Dennis Rainey


From the Series:         A Man's View of Romance



Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today.  Our host is the Executive Director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey.  I'm Bob Lepine.  Happy Valentine's Day.  We're talking about romance on the broadcast today, I hope you can stay with us.


(Music:  "My Funny Valentine")


                        And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the broadcast as we continue looking at the subject of romance and, once again today, because of the nature of what we're going to be talking about, it may be inappropriate for younger listeners to be joining us.  Parents may want to use some discretion because we're talking about how men look at romance and, as you've said over the last couple of days, Dennis, men look at it – not exclusively – but primarily from the aspect of the sexual relationship.  In fact, on yesterday's broadcast, you mentioned that it is a wise woman who will assume some responsibility for affirming her husband in his sexuality.  You also talked about the fact that a lot of men don't understand themselves their need for the sexual relationship, and then you talked about how a man needs to be needed and needs to know that his wife desires him.


Dennis:          Yeah, and even as you're going through that list we talked about yesterday – just revisiting that – you know, it feels risky to me, as a man, to talk to women about their husband's need sexually and certainly we're making some generalizations here that don't apply to every man, because God has made men differently, but I don't think we're too much off the mark when it comes to what men really desire from their wives.


                        You know, I have counseled and interacted with men over the past 18 years at hundreds of FamilyLife Marriage Conferences, and their word to me, as you approach this subject, speaking to women, is "Just tell them how we feel.  Help us communicate to our wives what's going on inside of us," because I don't have a vested interest here.  I'm just after healthy marriages that are following Jesus Christ because I think our God made the sexual dimension of the marriage relationship.


Bob:                And so a healthy marriage will necessarily involve a healthy sexual relationship.


Dennis:          Yeah, and you would think Americans would be able to talk about this subject of sex, especially speaking to wives about their husband's sexuality, but I don't think it's that easy for wives to hear or for men to talk about.  Now, we're more comfortable talking about it in public, but really getting down past the superficial, down to the deep core issues, especially as it relates to a man's sexuality, I think that is very threatening for couples to discuss.


Bob:                What do you think are some of those core issues for a husband or a wife?


Dennis:          Well, I think a wife needs to know that her husband is not as strong and confident as he appears to be.  Now, he may look assertive, but in reality, most men, I think, when it comes to the sexual side of their relationship with their spouse, are unsure.  I think it's because we're marrying today without any clear passage into manhood.  For most men the passage from boyhood to manhood occurs when we get married, but in many cultures that passage has already occurred, and a young man has already had the opportunity to grapple with the issue of manhood and his sexuality.  But when men get married today, that's when they're confronted with the issue of performing sexually in marriage, and I think a lot of married men are really afraid of failing when it comes to the physical side of marital love.


Bob:                What is it about these mystical passages that you refer to for a man?  Why are they so significant?  And what if a man has missed one?


Dennis:          Well, I'll never forget a young man that became a close friend of mine over a period of time, and he'd grown up in a home where his father had deserted him as a young lad.  And as he began to have children and emerge as a husband in this new relationship with his wife, I could tell, from time to time, there was nothing on the screen that he could pull up by way of a memory of what a man ought to do or be or act like with his wife or with his kids as a man.  I mean, he didn't have that model, that mentor.


                        And so I took that young man fishing one time, and in the darkness of that car as we drove to the fishing spot, which was an overnight trip, I began to talk to him about the passage from being a young man, moving on into manhood, and I told him – and I'll call him Chuck – I said, "Chuck, I want to bless you as a man, and I want you to know that, having observed you over the past four or five years, you own all the rights and privileges as a man, and I want you to know anytime you wonder what you're to do, how you're to behave, how you're to perform as a man, I want you to feel free to come back to me, because I want you to know, from this day forward, as an older man to a younger man, I want you to know that I am declaring and recognizing you and the full rights and privileges of manhood."


                        You know, it was a number of months later that I got a phone call back from that young man, and he said, "You know, Dennis, it was interesting.  I did not realize what was occurring in the car that night until a few months later.  But now as I approach my roles and responsibilities of a man, I feel different about myself than I have in the past."  


                        And I think, to those women who may be looking at their husbands and looking at a young man who may feel very insecure or maybe an older man who is still driven out of his own insecurity, you know, you may be able to be an affirming part of his transition to manhood on a daily basis.  I think how a woman responds to a man sexually is a crowning celebration of a man's manhood.  I think a woman who is looking at a man, and she's feeling powerless to help him, perhaps needs to pray that God will bring older mentors into his life and perhaps encourage her husband to pursue some of them and maybe even ask for this blessing – perhaps ask them what he needs to become, what he needs to do, how he needs to act to be recognized as a man.


Bob:                A woman may not be able to do what a father could have done for a son, but she can play a significant part in helping to supplement what may be missing.


Dennis:          Yeah.  I'll say this about Barbara – when we were first married, there was a sense in which she affirmed me as a young man emerging into a mature man, and we've said on many occasions, I wasn't fully a man when I got married.  She finished the job of the transition from boyhood to manhood.  And it's the wise woman who realizes that when she gets married she may be marrying a boy in certain areas of his life.  He may have immaturities where he has not grown up and simply needs the belief, the affirmation, the support, the respect that only someone who knows him well and who loves him most can provide.


Bob:                And romance and sexuality are tools, they're assets, for her, aren't they?


Dennis:          They are, and it's the woman who understands that her response to her husband at that point is a crowning affirmation.  I don't know how to say it with any more dignity.  It is a very, very important part for a young man to feel affirmed by his wife.  George Gilder, in his book, "Men and Marriage," makes a great statement.  He says, "Women are puzzled by men's continual attempts to prove their manhood or ritualistically affirm it."


Bob:                What is it, Dennis, about sexual performance that is affirming to a man's masculinity?


Dennis:          Well, let me let George Gilder make a stab at this from his book, because he really states it clearly, as a sociologist, to help us better understand what's going on inside a man.  He writes, "Men must perform.  There is no shortcut to human fulfillment for men – just the short circuit of impotence.  Men can be creatively human only when they are confidently male and overcome their sexual insecurity by action."  Now listen to this next statement – "Nothing comes to them by waiting or being."  A man's got to initiate, and do you feel the risk that's there for a man as he initiates?  What's the woman's response?  He can't control it.


Let me read on what Gilder says, "In general, therefore, the man is less secure sexually than the woman, because his sexuality is dependent on action, and he can act sexually only through a precarious process difficult to control.  Fear of impotence and inadequacy is a paramount fact of male sexuality.  For men, the desire for sex is not simply a quest for pleasure.  It is an indispensable test of identity."


                        Now, did you hear that?  It is a test for a man to feel like a man, and when a wife can latch onto that idea, and she understands what is at risk for a man at that point, you know what?  The lights go on inside of here where, all of a sudden, she can now exercise the mystical powers God has given her in the marriage relationship for the health and the well being of the man.  Now, am I ov









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A Man's View of Romance (Part Four)

A Man's View of Romance (Part Four)

Dennis and Barbara Rainey