4 Ways Real Men Use Their Strength

The Strength of real Men

How to use your strength to bless your wife

A Men Only Monday Post

What does it mean to be a “real man?” And how does a “real man” best use his strength in the context of his relationship with his wife and family?

There is a broad societal trend toward denigrating men and manliness. Strength in men is often not to be admired but denigrated. Rather than teaching men (and boys) to use their personal power and strength in ways that benefit those around them, we are pushing them to forego any expression of power and strength at all. Fear of manliness seemingly has us tossing the baby out with the bathwater to chants of “down with the patriarchy!”

Focus Your Strength Outward

In my post “Husbands: Strong and Good” I explain that strength and goodness are not mutually exclusive. Rather, both are essential ingredients to loving and leading your wife in a Christ-like manner.

When you don’t take up your authority and use your strength on her behalf, your wife loses out. And when you focus your authority in on her, using your strength to control and subjugate her, you do great damage.

However, when you focus your strength “outward” in the ways I describe below, expressing your authority with goodness, your wife and family will be blessed.

Here are my top four ways for you to focus your strength outward.

1) Protection

I recently watched a video of a conference attended by thousands. The speaker asked the women to raise their hands if they felt afraid for their safety sometime in the last 90 days. 95% of the hands went up. He asked the same question of the men in the conference. He counted four hands out of the one thousand or so men.

This was confirmed in a poll I ran a few years back where I asked husbands and wives to identify their single greatest need from their spouse. One out of 14 women identified feeling safe and protected as their one biggest need from their husbands. Less than 1 in 100 husbands identified this as their top need from their wives.

Both of these examples point to a key difference between men and women that many husbands fail to appreciate. Even if it isn’t her top need, your wife looks to you to create an atmosphere where she feels protected and safe. Using your strength in this way will give your wife a sense of peaceful confidence and calm contentment:

  • Watch out for her physically, making sure she doesn’t put herself in situations that could jeopardize her safety.
  • Protect her spiritually by praying for her (ask her to give you specific prayer needs and let her know you are covering her in prayer).
  • Guard her emotionally, helping her to see and avoid damaging or draining relationships.
  • Demonstrate sound judgment in decisions, especially with respect to finances. Which leads to the next use of power.

2) Provision

It is no longer a rarity to find a wife who out-earns her husband (true in about a third of households, according to a 2017 Pew study). Regardless of the statistics, however, 71% of women in the study reported that providing financially was “very important” for a man to be a good husband. Provision was second only to being caring and compassionate in the ranking of important characteristics of good husbands.

Despite shifting socioeconomic circumstances for women, your wife still wants to know you will do what it takes to provide for her and the family. Providing financial stability is a key component of making her feel safe and cared for.

  • Take your financial responsibilities seriously
  • Demonstrate a strong work ethic but not to the point of being a workaholic.
  • Partner with your wife to set long-term financial goals and to make a plan to reach them. Routinely discuss your progress.
  • Listen to her financial concerns without being defensive. Make sure she feels her needs and concerns are understood.

3) Preparation

Whereas protection is mostly about defending your wife against incoming hazards, preparation is about helping to clear the ground of obstacles in front of her.

Preparing the way so that a wife (and family) can walk fully in their God-given identity and destiny is a husband’s highest calling. That’s why when I think about a husband’s authority, I imagine him leading by being “out front of” rather than by being “over top of.” Wherever possible you should be helping to clear the obstacles that keep her from being all God has called her to be.

  • Continually remind her who she is and how God sees her.
  • Watch out for lies that she is believing about herself and counter them with truth.
  • Make sure she has time and energy to pursue her dreams and calling in God.
  • Be watchful that you aren’t placing obstacles in her way.

4) Propulsion

Sometimes clearing the way for your wife won’t be enough. Sometimes she may need a bit of a push from you to help propel her toward her destiny and purpose. I’m not saying you should be pushy or pressure her unduly, but be her champion and biggest encourager.

  • Encourage her to take risks and to step up to challenges she may face, even if it’s a bit outside her comfort zone.
  • Call forth her gifts and abilities – tell her what you see in her.  Tell her that she can do it.
  • Believe in her. Your confidence in her is a compelling force that will help her believe in herself.

There are other ways that you can use your strength, personal power, and authority on your wife’s behalf, but if you get these four right, your wife will feel safe, protected, blessed, and loved.

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10 thoughts on “4 Ways Real Men Use Their Strength”

  1. Great post. Thanks.

    Although I don’t understand why women feared for their safety so much. We’re they afraid their husband might hurt them? Or is this in general, while out in public around strangers? I’m in the 5% so I’m wondering what I’m missing.

    1. The speaker didn’t elaborate or question further. He was simply making the point that men and women typically vary greatly in their felt need for and perception of safety.

    2. I heard another speaker ask the question to a mixed audience, “What do you do when you walk to your car in the dark?” Men were confused by the question and just thought, “I walk to the car.” While women had a myriad of answers — things like scanning the area around them, pulling their body and purse in closer, positioning keys between their knuckles faced outward, calling someone on the phone so another person could hear if something happened, etc. Women tend to feel more vulnerable and then worry for their safety.

      1. Ok so it’s not that they were afraid of their husband, which was the way I leaned toward taking it. More of a general built-in security system 24×7 365 regardless of circumstances. Thank you for the input. It helps.

  2. Love this list! I’ve been thinking a lot too lately about how my husband’s leadership is more like forging out ahead (not the “tie-breaking” explanation I often hear). Great post, Scott!

  3. workingandtired

    Great post! One of the hardest one of these is the one about providing. I used to get home from work at 16:00 and focus on my wife and kid and then continue to work from 22:00-02:00. This year I have had a hard time doing that. I havent felt well. Working as much as I used to and the way I used to caused me a lot of stress. With two kids it has been harder to work at nights. Also I decided I wanted to serve my wife so I have sometimes neglected work so that I can do chores so that my wife doesnt have to. I have been glad to do it but it has also led to consequences for my job. I am a high school teacher in Europe with a lot of classes. To do a good job I would have too work much more than I have done but that would mean that I would have to spend less time with my wife and kids. At the same time I feel that if I dont take time for my wife and kids and the home everything would be a mess and my wife would be even more stressed. I just hate that I cant do both good. There is no way to succeed. When my wife starts working again it will be worse because she is constantly tired because she has to sleep with the kids(her choice , I sleep alone) and adding work to that will make things worse. I dont know how to find balance. What can I do? Is the solution to quit my job?

    1. Thanks for sharing your situation.

      You describe a situation I think many husbands struggle with – finding the balance between career and income opportunities and being present for your family. Many wives today face the same struggle. I wish I could give you a simple answer that will solve this problem, but unfortunately, it is something each family has to work out for themselves. It is essential to talk honestly with your wife about your feelings about the situation. Pray together about it and seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Consult with a trusted mentor or advisor. It could be that cutting expenses is an approach rather than seeking more income – it just depends on the details of your situation. My wife is also a teacher and I understand the demands that can bring outside of working hours, so I feel for your situation. I’ll be praying for clear guidance.
      https://heavenmademarriage.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form
      On a separate point, I don’t know the reasons your wife gives, but I strongly advise couples against sleeping separately except in extreme circumstances.

  4. This is excellent, Scott, full of wisdom. You’ve described a very balanced view of leadership here. I love your point that strength and goodness have to meld for a husband to love like Christ. It’s interesting about the safety aspect you mentioned. I wonder if those wives ever point blank mentioned their concern to their husbands or just assumed he knew? I’m learning to never assume Dave knows how I feel.

    1. Thank you, Bonny. That’s a good point about wives communicating their needs and feelings about feeling safe.

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