I see Christian churches and organizations trying to talk to young females about what a “real man” is. Amazingly, the three traits below are often included in their descriptions of a “real man,” only presented in a dressed-up way. I see these characteristics in complementarian men far too often.
1. He’s Controlling
This could stream from various sources. Many Christian churches teach that men have a special kind of authority and the “final say.” This kind of teaching tends to create a spirit of entitlement in men. Because he’s been falsely empowered, he may feel entitled to make decisions for you, talk down to you, and control various aspects of your life. Controlling men also tend to be easily angered, jealous, and hold double standards for themselves. This type of behavior is unacceptable, and could lead to serious problems including psychological and/or physical abuse.
2. He’s Unteachable
One of the things I treasure most about Nate and I’s relationship is that we’re constantly learning from each other. His good qualities rub off on me, and vice versa. If you’re in a relationship with a guy who thinks he knows everything, he’s always going to have to be “right.” This will cause and prolong many exhausting fights, which honestly aren’t worth your time. Like being controlling, being unteachable also stems from entitlement. The Christian church has given him the attitude that what he says goes because “God says so.” This is not acceptable or biblical. Men and women are equally imperfect, and if he thinks he somehow knows more than you just because he’s male, then that is a huge warning sign.
3. He’s Sexist
Sexism is straight from the enemy, and is rooted in sin. If your guy shows the slightest bit of sexism, call him out on it. Sure, he may say that he respects women, but if sexism is otherwise reflected by his words or actions, then he doesn’t. (Donald Trump, anyone?) This is not the type of life partner you want. The key to a healthy relationship is communication, and if he doesn’t respect you then he won’t listen to you. This could branch out into a number of problems including infidelity and jealousy. I often see sexist men dismissing women’s ideas and opinions blaming it on “that time of month.” Combine this sexism with a controlling behavior and unteachable attitude, and you end up with a monster.
A “real man” will respect you, inspire you, and be inspired by you. He’ll treat you as his equal partner, and refuse to think he’s better than you simply because of his Y chromosome. That is the guy who is worth falling in love with.
*Though I see these traits in many complementarian men, this does not mean ALL complementarian men have these dangerous traits. There are many men who hold on to complementarian interpretations without actually exhibiting their full implications.
**Stay tuned for “Three Traits to Watch Out for In a Girl”