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The 2 Things Required to be a Masculine Man
And prerequisites to becoming a husband and father.
Being a masculine man is simple, but it takes a lifetime to master. Every man is a jewel covered in stone and he must chip away at the exterior to reveal the gleam beneath the surface. No man can do it perfectly, but every man can shine enough to help himself and others.
First, what is masculinity? It is the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility. I stole this definition from a pastor named Doug Wilson, and I have yet to find a better one.
To be more masculine, start taking on responsibility.
This starts with yourself. A man who doesn’t take responsibility for his own words and actions cannot take responsibility for others. When they lean on him, he will crack.
What does taking responsibility for yourself look like?
Don't blame others for your failures.
Apologize when you have done something wrong.
Hold yourself to high standards.
Do things right the first time without having to be told.
Once you have formed this habit, you can be trusted to take on external responsibility.
How do you take on external responsibility? If you see something that needs to be done, just do it. If you see a problem, start the process of fixing it. Don't ask for permission, and don't seek approval. Just do it and do it gladly.
When you start accepting responsibility, it doesn't have to be big. It could be as small as weeding a garden. Or it could be as large as marrying a woman and promising to take care of any children that may come. Stop looking for others to act first.
As you do this, people will start to take you more seriously. Authority flows to those who take on responsibility. People can feel your growing weight. They can sense your gravitas.
So far, so good. But if you don’t communicate this masculinity in some way, you lessen its power.
To communicate your masculinity, start taking on some of the markers of masculinity.
Every culture has "masculine markers." These are things men do, or how they act, or how they dress, to communicate that they have accepted the mantle of masculinity.
Masculine markers are not the essence of masculinity. Wearing these markers like a skin suit will not make you masculine. But they are a way to communicate. A man should be fluent in the masculine language of his culture.
What are some markers for US culture?
Wearing a well-tailored suit
Any type of woodwork
Getting up in the middle of the night to check out the loud noise
Opening the car door (and other doors) for your wife
Taking out the trash
Certain feats of physical strength
Unclogging a drain
Carrying a good pocketknife
Changing the oil in a vehicle or changing a tire
Some type of martial art
Hunting and fishing
Being able to converse about sports
Every culture is a little bit different, but these markers are not arbitrary. From the linked article:
They are a language. Sure, you could call the word “tiger” completely arbitrary and meaningless (it’s just a series of sounds you make out of your mouth!), but that would be dumb.
The word does mean something. It communicates something concrete. To bring suspicion upon the word doesn’t eliminate tigers, but it does eliminate our ability to talk about them in any coherent way.
Eliminating masculine markers, treating them as meaningless, flattening the differences between male and female, is hell on young boys. They have a desire to be accepted as men and they want to know how to communicate it.
So embrace some of these markers.
As you take on responsibility and begin to communicate it properly, people will start to notice. More authority will begin to accrue to you. With this comes more confidence, which will feed into the loop and you more likely to improve and push yourself.
But you have to start. Try to start today.
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