I had asked our brothers in Christ to share their answers to my questions about this topic a few weeks ago and was surprised by how heated the discussion got at times. I think it might stretch our thinking and our perspectives as women for us to hear some masculine perspectives on this topic. (Note – we are talking about rated G or PG kinds of movies and books in this discussion, even Christian romance novels and romantic movies. I would hope that it would be obvious that overtly sexual movies/books would lead us into the sin of lust, and as believers in Christ, that is something that we clearly must avoid.) Here is One man’s contribution:
Great topic as always. See my answers below:
1. In what ways do romantic books/songs/movies portray men emotionally that do not accurately represent how men think or feel in your opinion?
All these things present men as just as emotional as women are, and that simply is not how God designed us as men. It presents a lie to women.
2. In what ways do romantic books/songs/movies portray men verbally that do not accurately represent how men express themselves?
Most men rarely communicate their feelings for their wife verbally, but instead communicate their feelings through actions. We might go and do the dishes for no apparent reason, but the actual reason is to show we love our wife and maybe she is under stress and needs the help. That is why we men very often buy their wives things, because we are creatures of action, not emotion.
3. What romantic expectations – or expectations of men – do these forms of media create in women that are difficult for men to meet in real-life relationships/marriage?
These create HIGHLY unrealistic expectations in women and one of the large contributors to women cheating on their husbands or divorcing them. Women get frustrated with their husbands for not falling at their feet and worshiping them on a daily basis. They come to expect fancy romantic trips, jewelry and other things as something normal, instead of something that is ok whether they get it or not.
4. What things seem the most unrealistic about the male characters who are romantic leads in romantic movies/songs?
They are far too feminine. The men often cry a lot, and trip over themselves to apologize to the woman they are trying to win.
5. Have you ever seen a romantic movie where you thought that masculinity was portrayed in an accurate way, in your view? If so, what was it that seemed authentic in the portrayal to you?
I still say the best Romantic movie of all time is “The Quiet Man” staring John Wayne and Maureen Ohara. I watched that movie so many times growing up (my Dad was a huge John Wayne fan). The character John Wayne played was a man’s man, and a gentlemen all in one. He did not go looking for a fight, but when a fight came to him he was ready. In the end, he finally showed his wife the strength that godly women truly crave in a man.
6. What unrealistic expectations of men or what unrealistic romantic expectations do you find that women have (even if not from romantic media).
Many women expect men to show them romantic love, only in the way they want to see it and unconditionally, no matter what they do. While God does command an unconditional love (Agape) in marriage – this is a love of the will, of duty, not based in emotion. Women need to accept from their husbands the kind of love he gives and not expect him to turn into a woman. Also women need to understand if your want the romantic things like flowers and jewelery or other gestures, you have to plant seeds of love in your husband’s heart – you don’t just get these things because you live and breath and occupy the same space!
7. What things are romantic to men?
I believe “romantic” means, “what makes me feel loved.” I think for most men, the two things that make them feel most loved are respect and sex from their wives. If a woman is having sex all the time with her husband, that is not enough if she disrespects him on regular basis. If a woman respects and honors her husband, but does not see her body as a gift from God to her husband that she freely and willingly presents it to him, then respect will not be enough.
(Note from Peacefulwife – if a husband has a lower drive or is feeling generally quite disrespected, he may not respond favorably to his wife’s advances. Of course, there may be other issues going on, as well. Lack of libido is a multi-faceted, complicated situation at times in either gender. Ladies, please keep in mind that in potentially about 40% of marriages, the wife may be the higher drive spouse. Some men, who are completely normal, are happy having physical intimacy just once a week or so. Sometimes if a husband has a lower level of desire than a wife, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something must be wrong. If your husband doesn’t seem to be very interested in intimacy, please check out this post.)
A HEART CHECK FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Here are some things I would love for each of us to prayerfully consider. If I read/watch romantic books/movies:
- do I find myself feeling upset, disappointed, jealous, envious, angry, or depressed afterward or is my faith in Christ and my love/devotion/respect for my husband affirmed?
- do I compare my husband to the male romantic lead in a negative way or do I think more highly of my husband?
- do they help me understand my husband, or men in general, in a more accurate or less accurate way?
- do they promote unrealistic expectations in my heart and mind or am I able to separate what is fantasy from reality and not allow fantasy to impact my marriage?
- do I find myself expecting my husband to act/talk/think/romance me the way that the men do in these fictional stories?
- do I take my eyes off of Christ and entertain sinful motives like lust, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, envy, discontentment, or lack of gratitude with my own situation?
- do they help me to focus more on heavenly things or worldly things?
- why do I want to watch/read these kinds of things? What are my motives?
- do they reinforce romance, happiness, or my “feeling loved” by a man as the most important goals in life? Am I tempted to idolize romance or love, or am I able to continue on being wholly devoted to Christ, finding all of my contentment, purpose, acceptance, power, strength, peace, identity, joy, and fulfillment in Him?
If you answer these questions honestly and realize that romantic books/movies are a stumbling block in your life, are you willing to forsake them in order to pursue Christ and avoid something that, for you, may be a temptation? These things may not be stumbling blocks for every woman. But what matters is – is this thing a stumbling block to ME? Is it causing me to trip in my marriage and in my walk with Christ? And if so, what would God desire me to do about that?
Men Share Their Thoughts on How They Believe Romantic Books/Movies Affect Women’s Expectations – 5 men’s responses to my questions
RESOURCES FOR BETTER UNDERSTANDING MEN:
For Women Only – by Shaunti Feldhahn
His Brain, Her Brain – by Dr. Walt Larimore MD and his wife, Barbara Larimore (biological and neurological differences and why God made men and women different for His good purposes)