According to the Pew Research Center, from 1990 to 2019, the percentage of married adults in the U.S. declined from 67% to 53%, the percentage of cohabiting adults increased from 4% to 9%, and the percentage of single people increased from 29% to 38%. All of that is to say that people are straying from the idea of marriage altogether, either in favor of simply living with another person or remaining single altogether.
Apart from the alarming fact that these trends are leading to more loneliness and less procreation, they also indicate an equally frightening fact about manhood, according to Dr. Phillip Chavez of The Men’s Academy, an organization focused on working with men to foster Christian manliness.
Timmerie hosted Dr. Chavez on a recent episode of Gentleman’s Hour on Trending with Timmerie to discuss the pillars of masculinity, the role of men in family and society, and what can be done to counter the dangerous trends that are emasculating men today.
“The more and more I work with men, the more I see that the two things that mature them are when they are formed and able to be husbands and fathers,” began Dr. Chavez. “And so in some way, a father redounds to a certain perfection of the man. And in that fatherhood – sometimes we refer to the word patriarchy – is a certain role by which he has a place in the family and, in some ways, you could say, society.”
At some point in the past decade, with the rise of fourth-wave feminism, men became displaced in their role as the patriarch of the family, and in some instances, society. In fact, the “patriarchy” became a trigger word for people of a certain mindset who believed that society was intrinsically sexist and needed to be equalized. Their solution was to bring men down in some misguided attempt to “empower women.”
The results were and are proving to be ineffective. In fact, they’ve been severely detrimental to the family, the cornerstone of society. As Dr. Chavez explained, husbands and fathers should be selfless leaders, sacrificial protectors, and steadfast providers of the family. The misconception that these duties are an attempt by men to exercise some type of power over their spouses and children is a dangerously misguided idea. Who would want a weak, indecisive, frail, husband and father? Who would want a man you can’t count on to protect and provide for his family?
Timmerie referenced a series of studies from 2018 that polled 782 women (feminist and non-feminist) about what traits they desired in a male romantic interest. Across the board, the five studies found that feminist women were as likely as non-feminist women to desire men who exhibited traditionally masculine and patriarchal traits: men who believe that women should be cherished and protected, women should be helped before men in emergencies, men should offer their coat to a woman if out in the cold, men should hold doors open for women especially, etc.
To women, a sense of sacrifice and selflessness is integral to demonstrating one’s commitment, as it should be. How else would one know whether someone’s intentions are true? In the most basic sense, a man’s commitment to lead, protect, and provide for his wife and eventual family is a sort of investment. He’s communicating that the woman that he is interested in is worth it. She’s worth being cherished, protected, doted upon, and provided for, whether that be money, food, shelter, or warmth.
But even then, it goes beyond that.
“When these [pillars] somewhat decline, we weave society into some kind of an egalitarian vision where the portrait that’s being painted is that everything needs to be on an equal level,” said Dr. Chavez. “I’ve heard you talk about this in the past: It doesn’t really work in relationships when we try to make everything equal, 50/50.”
This idea that the status of a relationship or marriage is purely transactional in nature is perverse and distorted. In the end, a family runs on willing sacrifice, a product born only out of love.
“If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:3-8)
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