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An Interesting Masculine Perspective on Romantic Books/Movies

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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?

RELATED:

Men Share Their Thoughts on How They Believe Romantic Books/Movies Affect Women’s Expectations – 5 men’s responses to my questions

Valentine’s Day Expectations

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)

How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen, and Listen So Your Husband Will Talk – Rick Johnson

20 thoughts on “An Interesting Masculine Perspective on Romantic Books/Movies

  1. “just once a week or so”?!?! Wouldn’t that be considered normal, not low libido? Try once/twice a year for your example of low. This still seems to be our main issue, even after about 2 years of following your blog and really working on myself including adjusting my attitude and showing greater respect. Sometimes nothing is wrong, that’s just the way it is. Can you tell I’m frustrated? Now my resolve is to be accepting of his lack of desire, instead of focusing on it.

    1. HappybeingfriendsinPa,

      Some wives believe that if a husband only desires intimacy once a week, that something is wrong with their husbands. It’s easy to read almost any marriage book and hear “all men want sex every single day.” But, there is a range of what is normal.

      Twice a year is very low libido. That is outside of the range of normal, as I am sure you are well aware. Are there medical issues going on with him? Has he been willing to see a doctor?

      You cannot force him to change, that is true. Does he say what he believes he needs?

      Praying for wisdom for you and that God might use even this painful trial to greatly strengthen your faith and trust in Him and to somehow bring about much good.

  2. This was great and very insightful! Such great points for me to marinate on. One thing in particular that struck with me was this part, “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” and “Most men rarely communicate their feelings for their wife verbally, but instead communicate their feelings through actions.”

    After you posted your survey questions I decided to ask my husband if he could share with me what romantic gestures he did for me. I explained to him that I wasn’t trying to put him on the spot but just wanted to know if he was doing things for me as a romantic gesture that I wasn’t recognizing as such and from his perspective he was doing a lot! It was really eye opening and ties in to what the gentleman shared with “Women need to accept from their husbands the kind of love he gives and not expect him to turn into a woman.” Now this isn’t to say that his actions automatically register as loving or romantic gestures for me. I am trying. I am praying about it and trying to change the negative talk into recognizing and being content w/what he gives. This is not an easy battle for me as I have very different love languages.

    1. Danielle,

      Something that helped me greatly was to learn to understand how Greg shows me love and to learn to hear and appreciate his gestures. I spent many years trying to make him show me love verbally. But showing love verbally does not come very naturally to him. He is more of an introverted engineering type. 🙂 He shows love by serving me.

      One time, I asked him to write me a love letter for Valentine’s day that was “at least 3 sentences long.” Later, he told me how pressured he felt. And he said, “Words about emotions come very easily to you. But I think that I probably felt the same way when you asked me for a love letter as you might feel if I asked you to ‘just build me a set of shelves to show me that you love me.'” Um… Yikes! If that was the way Greg felt loved, we would both be in a lot of trouble! I am not very talented with power tools! 🙂

      Glad that you are learning to understand your husband’s perspective!

      Thank you so much for sharing!

        1. Danielle,

          Yes, I really appreciated Greg sharing that. We have different strengths and weaknesses. What is super easy for one of us is a lot more challenging for the other. I’m thankful Greg doesn’t try to force me to show him love in the ways that are easy for him. And it helps me appreciate that words about feelings and emotions are a lot more difficult for him instead of resenting that he is not doing something “so simple” for me.

          🙂

  3. This is definitely an area that I have to watch. However I’ve also found music to be a stumbling block for me too. The lyrics of a love song will make we dissatisfied with my marriage relationship at times as well. So watch for that in your lives too ladies :). However another thought id have is that it is the responsibility of each spouse to learn to love each other in the way that he or she needs. So if a husband knows that his wife needs verbal affirmation or emotional connection but refuses to give it, I believe he is in fact disobeying God the same what a wife disobeys by not giving her husband sex when he needs it. This whole issue of sex is however, another kettle of fish. Sex should be a give-give act where both partners are giving. Not a give-take act where the husband just takes and has no concern for his wife’s pain or pleasure, as has been my experience. That is a lust-sin in itself I believe, and not Sex as God designed it.

    1. Kathy,

      Yes, love songs can be a trigger for sinful thoughts for us, as women, too!

      Ideally, both the husband and wife would be willing to stretch out of their own comfort zones to learn to meet the other’s needs and to learn to communicate with each other well. That is the process of sanctification and spiritual maturation.

      Since we do not control our husbands, the only side we can control is our end of things. So, that is what I focus on.

      But, yes, it would be wonderful if husbands did strive to learn to show love more verbally. Of course, I pray that we wives might be supportive and encouraging as they learn. Some husbands are not very verbal and if we criticize their attempts, we make it really difficult for them to be willing to try again.

      And I agree, both spouses should be giving selflessly in sex and in every area of the marriage- that is the goal and ideal. That is God’s design! 🙂

      Praying for wisdom for you as you seek to address these issues in your marriage with respect, grace, and the power of God’s Spirit.

      Thanks for your comments!

    2. I would recommend listening to “Jesus take the wheel” by Carrie Underwood to really get a picture of how music can affect women. That song sums up this blogs message of letting God be in control. Now that I am on this journey, I can’t help but fall to my knees in grateful thankfulness to God for truly “taking the wheel” He has always been willing yo, but I had to throw my hands up and ask him first… Powerful …for good thoughts.

  4. HappybeingfriendsinPa,

    I know the pain in your heart. I am there as well and I am a young newlywed. My husband and I have a great relationship but not much success in the physical intimacy department. Although we faithfully walk with God these days and have been for some time, there was a time in our lives where we did not and we are still dealing with the consequences of that life. I have gone from controlling, to angry, to depressed, to self-righteous, to demanding, to hopeless/fearful and everything in between over this issue. I let the enemy take over my thoughts at times. I let myself worry about my body and my attractiveness, even the love of my husband for me. I would think things like “if he doesn’t want me now what will it be like when I start aging, have children, etc.,” “Am I doomed to a sexless marriage.” Then, I started blaming God. “God, we did what you said. We turned from our sin, there hasn’t been lust in our lives for a long time and yet you continue to let us suffer through this.” Then suddenly, in a quiet whisper God said “If you never got to have sex again, would I be enough for you?” wow, I didn’t know what to say. “But God, sex is a need! and he’s sinning against me!” and he ever so gently says ” my love, do you trust Me to meet ALL your needs?” (Phil. 4:19).
    The restoration God is doing in my life these days is tearing out idols. Simply put, anything that I can’t live without. Anything that I NEED to be content and whole, is an idol, even the good things. God was showing me that my security and self worth was becoming wrapped up in my husbands desire for me. Then a friend felt led to send me this passage, knowing nothing about the situation: Ezekiel 36:24-30. I don’t know if it will speak to you but it was very healing for me. Another idol I had in my life was trying to “BE a good wife.” There was a great post about this recently. There is nothing “good” in me (Romans 7:18-23) and until I came to realize that the only way my marriage would be what God intended was for me to stop “trying” and just pursue God’s presence instead of the “right” blog/book/sermon/mentor/counselling, etc, my own life will never be whole or satisfactory. Long story short, this still hurts me. I often cry and I believe God does too. This is not His will for us and His heart always grieves over less than His intention but He can handle my tears, and still fulfill my needs. My husband can’t, not over this. He feels like too much of a failure as a man already but God can soothe and comfort my pain in a way that allows me to accept my husband as he is, and pour the healing salve of the Holy Spirit over my husbands old wounds rather than cutting deeper into them. I hope this is an encouragement to you that you are not alone. No matter what society says, this is not an uncommon issue. and beyond that, at the risk of sounding cliche, God will meet all your needs, including your need to grieve. God bless you as you journey with Him and be an open vessel for God’s healing work in your husbands life.

    1. Just Walking Home,

      LOVE THIS!
      Then suddenly, in a quiet whisper God said “If you never got to have sex again, would I be enough for you?” wow, I didn’t know what to say. “But God, sex is a need! and he’s sinning against me!” and he ever so gently says ” my love, do you trust Me to meet ALL your needs?” (Phil. 4:19).

      I had a time where I learned something and heard something VERY, VERY similar from God. He is sufficient! If I have Christ, I have everything I need! 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. This is a question I would like to see answered. Why are some men romantic, emotionally sensitive, and extremely affectionate when dating but after marriage completely change?

    I think that is why Romance Novels can be an issue because women know men can be that way.

    When I was dating my husband, he could have put any romantic novel to shame! When he left at night, he would leave his shirt for me to sleep with and drive home without a shirt. One night he forgot. I text him later that evening and mentioned he forgot to leave his shirt. I got a text after I had gone to sleep telling me to go look on the doorknob of the front door. He had driven back 30 mins just to leave his shirt. See! No book can compete with that! And that is just one example. I could give dozens of examples.

    After we married, it was like he became just a normal husband and all the romance stopped. It was very hard for me. I felt like I was cheated. So I would love to hear what the men have to say about this.e

    1. Daisymae,

      Wow. Your husband really set the bar very high when y’all were dating. But, as you have described before, I think he is a very passionate guy.

      I think that many husbands feel that once they are married, “the chase” is over, and they won the prize and there is no need to woo their wives anymore. Of course, we wives would heartily disagree!

      Maybe wives can relate in that sometimes once we are married, we no longer spend 2 hours primping every time before we are going to see our husbands like we may have before we got married. I realize we don’t have as much time. But, I think husbands could ask a very similar question to wives in many cases.

      Many times men seem to easily give romance before marriage and many times women seem to easily give respect before marriage- it all gets a lot more difficult once the couple is actually married many times.

      Thanks for the great question!

  6. Several years ago the Lord prompted me to defer every entertainment choice to my husband’s preference. I am so grateful for the Spirit’s prompting on that decision! (My husband always asks if what he is planning is something that I want to watch or do.) Amazingly, I have not seen one chick-flick or romance movie since that time and our relationship is all the better for it! Because of my wonderful husband’s masculine viewpoint, we watch things like action movies, suspense movies (no horror), historical documentaries, and Tennessee football!! Go Vols! 🙂 He has taken our family to The Lion King and other plays but no romance. I don’t miss it and I don’t miss how discontent it would make me feel. It was selfish of me to torture him with chick-flicks and love stories for all those years. I have come to enjoy the things he selects — his preference has become my preference. We talk in more depth about what we have watched now as well…sweet bonus.

    Truly, following our husband’s lead in all areas of life is an incredible blessing and gift from the Lord. We’ve been married almost 25 years and it just keeps getting better.

    In His Grace,
    Martha

    Also, my amazing man uses imdb.com’s parental guides to see the sexual content, language and other important information on movies before he makes a selection. It is a great resource.

    1. Martha – I love your “his preference has become my preference” line! As I strive to honor my husband’s leadership “in all things”, I too have found this very valuable!

  7. I used to feel the same way over the loss of intimacy with my husband as the years of our marriage rolled by. But I know he loves me. He gets up early every morning and works hard at a job he sometimes hates just to support me and my son. If that’s not love, what is? (I work part-time, my son is in school and I take care of the home).
    My husband definitely is the type who expresses his love through actions and not words. This past week I have been ill with a strep throat infection and he brought home a frozen yogurt treat for me a couple of days ago.
    I think God knows how sometimes I feel that the lack of sex in our marriage makes me resentful and sometimes feel rejected. But when I really think about it, I know my husband loves me very much. It’s important that we, as wives, take a step back and look at the whole picture. Aside from romance and sex, what do our husbands do for us? I think most of us would find dozens of instances when they’ve been there for us.

    1. AmyKris,

      Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. I’m so glad that you see your husband’s love in his willingness to provide selflessly working at a job he hates at times. And how wonderful that he looked after you when you were sick. That is very, very sweet!

      I’m sorry to hear about the lack of sex in the marriage, and would be glad to talk with you about that if you would like to. If not, that is totally fine, as well. I have a post about the pain of sexual rejection in marriage.

      Praying for your walk with Christ and for your husband and marriage, as well, my precious sister!

  8. What about the Songs of Solomon? What about men in the bible who professed their love in a verbal way? How was he able to show love verbally but today men can’t? If it was really not possible or too feminine than why is in the bible? God put the desire in women to want romance for a reason. It is not wrong to want that from the man you love. There is a whole book dedicated to romance.God constantly tells and shows his love for us and he pursues us. I do not think it is safe to say that men can’t love us that way in Christ. Is it that they can’t or is it because they won’t . We must always try to see if pride is in there somewhere..

    1. Mary,

      The Song of Solomon does have some romance and some romantic words. In my view, it is different from most of the romantic movies today. There are some men for whom words come very easily. There are some for whom words about emotional things are much more difficult. Romance is great. There is no problem with desiring romance. We can ask for what we would like. But then, we don’t have to try to force our husbands to do what we want. And we don’t have to respond in a sinful way if they don’t do everything we want. That was my point. As well as – making sure that we don’t put romance higher than Christ or our obedience to Him, or higher than our husbands and our marriage in our hearts. I hope that makes sense!

      I only write for wives on my site. I don’t talk about how men should change or could change here since we don’t have control over them – we only control ourselves.

      Much love!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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