Men Are Pretty Awesome. Let’s Not Sell Them Short.

by | May 28, 2021 | gsr, Sex, Theology of Marriage and Sex, Uncategorized | 21 comments

Men Are Not Immature Like Evangelical Resources Portray them to be

I think men are made fully in the image of God–and can be emotionally mature and kind, with self-control.

Because men are incredible people, too!

I had a bit of an emotional birthday week (to say the least) with a breakdown on yesterday’s podcast. As a commenter noted to me–“It’s your birthday and you can cry if you want to.” Cool!

The thing that got me so riled up was the fact that the big name evangelical teachers that we found in our survey of 20,000 women were promoting ideas that harmed were still refusing to see it, choosing to attack the messenger instead. And then we looked at Mark Gungor’s presentations on men & women, and how they portrayed men as only interested in women for sex.

What I didn’t say in the podcast (I originally did, but I asked Katie to edit it out) was that I’m also dismayed that people who are friends of mine who are higher up in the evangelical world have not come out publicly in support of me. Many are very uncomfortable with the fact that I’m naming names. And in a way, the silence of friends has been harder than anything else.

BUT–all that being said–you guys left some AMAZING comments this week!

And I thought today I’d highlight some of them, because I read them thinking, “you guys get it! I’m not alone! This is worth it!”  There were some great sarcastic ones that I texted to Rebecca and Joanna, which you can see if you scan the comments yourself. And there were so many ones with so much encouragement (thank you!).

But here’s just a taste. And what I really want you to see are the ones that show that men are NOT like the way they’re portrayed. They can change, and many aren’t like that in the first place. Talking about them like they are is dangerous!

Thank you to Keith!

Sheila, thank you for your clip at the end. I see what this is costing you to stand up for truth. There is real damage being done- to families, to couples, and to you and your team. I am so sorry that you have to go through this,, and THANK YOU for standing in the gap on behalf of victims and everyone reading these books.. But if I can add one thing, it would be Please do not apologizing for being emotional. God made humans with emotions. It’s part of our holistic makeup. Having emotions does not make you a demon, bad, or less-than. In fact, you have such compassion for those who are hurting.

Keith, thank you for standing up for your wife. You are refuting some of the attacks against your wife by publicly siding with her. I am sure that you are there for her in private, but it is also important that you are there for her publicly, and I appreciate seeing you stick up for her.

Praying for you both.

Kaibigan

on YouTube

Evangelical Leaders Are Ignoring Harm

You know I think the “nothing box” concept sadly also applies to abuse in the church.

If Evangelical leaders can say “all we care about is right theology, preaching the Gospel, or being the number 1 marriage resource” they have a “nothing box” when it comes to abuse. There is no felt responsibility to consider how what they are saying and doing might contribute to the abuse.

That burden is left to the non-leaders (often women) to carry the burden of caring and need for change. But that burden is coupled with the need to get the “nothing box” leaders to care.

And so often they just seem to enjoy the privilege of not being responsible to care about abuse much less how they need to change what they are doing and saying.

LJS

on Facebook

We Are a Grassroots Movement

Sheila – you are on the side of TRUTH – I’m sorry you have to navigate certain evangelical “powers” and “personalities”. Their behaviour says everything about their priorities (wrong priorities) and nothing about you. Calling women who speak the truth “crazy” is so typically misogynistic of powerful Christian men and the women next to them who want to hold on to power. Never will they address the actual question, facts, etc of this research. They think they can make you/us go away with derogatory names and questioning our sanity. This is a grassroots movement – I hope more vocal church leaders will speak out but we can’t hold our breath. There’s thousands if not millions of us and when this tide turns they’ll need to turn with us and repent or be swept away

Boymom

on Instagram

People Can Learn

My spouse and I grew up in a very “Archie Bunker” culture, and we both accepted it as normal because it was pretty much all we knew and saw. This was also the height of the era of dolt dads on sitcoms and capable moms bearing all the mental load. Both sides of the feminist line were all about proving women could do it all and be happy and fulfilled about it.

All it did was burn me out and stunt his maturity. We’ve made progress. For example, 15 years ago he would have been miffed that I needed time and headspace to remember all the things one does when getting children out the door. Today, he recognizes that I have things to do and remember and gives me the space and time, but he couldn’t tell you what needs to be considered and done. It’s a step in the right direction for his upbringing and generation, but not like Connor’s understanding.

But, it shows this isn’t something only found on the leg of the second X chromosome. It was taught and even expected. It can be untaught. I need to be untaught. I still hold on to these errors and when he takes steps forward sometimes I’m the one in his way as if my femininity is threatened by his acting like a parent should or a spouse should.

Anon

on the blog

I’m a Guy Who Changed

As a man that has had his life totally changed because of your podcast and other content, and then learning of several marriage problems among my siblings that i feel stem from those teachings, i am so grateful that your message is wreaking havoc on these ideas so much that these authors can’t ignore you.

CCrew

on Instagram

Men Don’t Only Want One Thing

Michelle:

To hear that apparently a husband is only interested in getting in a wife’s pants and that’s why he’s nice to them is so demeaning to women, men, and marriage. My husband is more than a walking talking sex drive. I am more than a sexual partner. My marriage has more purpose than just to make sure sex isn’t being done sinfully. Why on earth would a man take on the responsibility of being married if this is his only interest? His message is so unbiblical it makes me want to throw up. Sex isn’t for emotional manipulation, why is he treating it like some weird relationship life hack? It’s a gift from God not a tool for selfishness.

Greta:

Yes yes yes! It is demeaning to both women and men. My fiancé would be appalled at this kind of message. We haven’t slept together yet, but he is way more emotional than I am and really cares about connection and is always worried about if he’s respecting me and treasuring me (which he is in ways I’ve only dreamed of) The small ways in which we have been “intimate” and vulnerable together he has expressed mean so much more than it did with past girlfriends because of the connection and because he feels loved and accepted. Men don’t just care about getting in our pants, they aren’t emotionless beasts or walking talking sex drives as you put it! Ugh it’s infuriating. Not what God intended when He created man in His image

MIchelle and Greta

on YouTube

I Was Traumatized by Evangelical Teaching about Men

Sheila, I can’t thank you enough for your work. I am 25 years old set to marry in November. Growing up I watched my mom get divorced twice and with each time get more aggressive in finding marriage advice. I also grew up in the church.

I was shown one of Mark’s teachings at 16 and felt HORRIBLE after. I was the little girl that cringed hearing the “s” word in church, so you can imagine how his teaching made me feel as a headstrong teenager that also really wanted to honor the Lord and have a successful marriage .

His teaching sent me into a tizzy. Trying to back track it I scoured the internet and my parents library and found all of the other books you mentioned and more.. it only made things worse.

I fell into a deep depression and truly believed God loved men more than women, and that men were more valuable. I also learned that men couldn’t be trusted and had zero capacity for emotions.
This gave me a distant relationship with God and a fiery hatred for men.
I would purposely get into relationships with men, manipulate them into falling in love with me and then rip their hearts out to try and prove to myself that men weren’t the robots Mark and everyone else described. Oh and all the while flaunting my virginity. I hated God. I hated men. I hated myself for being a woman.

Eventually I stumbled upon a lot of really great teaching that explained many of the “touchy” Bible verses and mended my relationship with God and my faith.

I met my fiancé and he was the first man to stand up to me and tell me I wasn’t going to treat him like he didn’t have emotions.
We have an amazing relationship and he is the most caring, kind, loving, and emotional man I’ve ever met. Most of the problems we have had were surrounding my incorrect beliefs about men and emotions and sex! I’m having to unlearn absolutely everything. My partner is horribly offended by my notion that he is only after me for sex and has no emotions and a nothing box and all this other BS! (It is worth noting he did not grow up in the church)

It’s just so interesting to be engaged having to unlearn all of the wrong beliefs I was taught about how to make marriage successful. These speakers and authors caused me so much trauma, and the people in my life as well. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being brave and courageous enough to seek out the truth on what God and science really says about how things are supposed to work.
My heart is so angered at how they treat you, but please don’t let it scare you off from paving the way for a new generation to experience true love and freedom in marriage. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

Cam

on the blog

That’s awesome. And I want more stories like Cam’s to come out of all of this! We can change things for the next generation, and we can even change things for ourselves, even if habits are ingrained.

But that won’t happen unless we’re willing to speak up and stop this stuff from spreading in our churches. 

i’m so glad so many of you are with me! Thank you for your support this week. It meant a lot.


And PS: The Audio Book for The Great Sex Rescue is doing amazingly well! Thank you so much!

 

The Great Sex Rescue

Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

I’m tired. I’m going to look after myself this weekend. How do you care for yourself when you get frustrated and sad with the state of things? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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21 Comments

  1. Kelly Ann

    I am ABSOLUTELY with you 101%!
    Honestly this whole saga has saddened me too because HOW can these authors and pastors NOT see that their words are hurting people? Do they just not care? Or are they more concerned about losing money from people no longer willing to buy their books, attend their seminars & conferences, and praise them?
    So that seems to be the crux of the issue. These authors are more concerned with money than with actually helping their sheep! Jesus left the 99 to go after the 1. They seem more concerned over the 99 and don’t like being called out!
    Sorry your birthday week was rough Sheila. Know that God’s got your back and so do we!!

    Reply
    • Kay

      There is very little money to make in publishing, so I suspect it is more about the evangelical obsession with certainty paired with emotional immaturity (due to a lifetime of spiritual bypassing). Admitting that you were wrong about something that you claimed **comes from God** and that you’ve hurt people with those teachings just isn’t something many christians have the emotional maturity to do.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, I think this is closer to the truth. I don’t think there’s a lot of money in publishing, but there is a lot of money on the speaking circuit, and for authors selling their books at events. Royalties alone won’t ever make you rich, but if you get large speaking engagements, that can.

        Reply
      • E

        I think you are on the money here Kay! It would be very hard to admit you are wrong, especially when you believe that your message is God ordained! And if you have enough people in your circle still giving you support and positive feedback, it would seem a lot more like you are being’persecuted’ for spreading Gods Word (which the Bible basically tells them they will be) than that the word that you are spreading is not actually from God at all.
        I pray that God opens these authors hearts and minds to the truth, and that the Holy Spirit helps them become humble enough to admit their wrongs.

        Reply
  2. Belinda

    Sheila and team: I am so grateful for you all. You are redeeming generations and rescuing the future for so many.
    I’ve been able to have some intriguing and healing conversations with people in singles’ groups as well as friends, family, and church acquaintances. Some still agree with the old message, but some have been willing to engage and challenge that narrative.
    I agree with you! Men *are* wonderful. Boys that shave (Matt Chandler-ism) need to grow up. The Christian religion has to realize that sanctification is for all people; the Fruit of the Spirit is not gendered (why are kindness & gentleness subconsciously “female” Fruit??).
    Self care for me looks like food, rest, and probably a show or movie I’ve been wanting to see. Or a long soak in an herb bath with a good book & snacks. Or time with my people doing activities that I love or have been wanting to try.

    Reply
  3. Jo

    So, no attempt at repudiation with DATA, just “You’re a doody head!” name-calling and “You hurt my feelings” whingeing. These “experts” are disinclined to cite secular research, and since the little research only one of them actually did has been shown to be faulty (to the point that in the book it was presented in, the author actually admitted it to be faulty), then they have no Christian data to rely on—except yours. Oops. That won’t really help their case, either.
    Why can’t they admit that their understanding was faulty, that none of us knows everything immediately on trusting Christ, that we can re-examine without losing face, that in fact it takes a pretty strong person to re-examine and admit error? Aren’t we supposed to be growing “more and more” in our faith, in our understanding of God, in our understanding of ourselves and our spouses (and children)? Aren’t we supposed to be more like Christ every day?
    Some JSV (Jo Standard Version) updates:
    Eph 5:21: “…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Just kidding, fellas, because of course the only submitting that needs to be done is Wives, submit to your own husbands.”
    Matt 20:26: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. Except, of course, by husbands over their wives, and then you can lord it over them to the point of forcing them to have one-sided sex. And if you get a huge following among the people, then by all means, hold on to that power and fame no matter what it takes.”
    Matt 7:12: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, except, of course, that you as a husband can do whatever you like with your wife, whom you can treat worse than the lowest slave. If you want to ignore her, abuse her in any way, make her act more like your mother than your partner in life, knock yourself out. You’re the man, and we all know that men are better than women.”
    Ex 20:12: “Honor your father and mother, except, of course, that you kids, having seen your dad not honor your mom at all, are free to copy him and be completely disrespectful and disobedient to her.”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Wow, Jo! Seeing it like that is so bleak, isn’t it? And yet that’s exactly what their teachings lead to. I agree–we can re-examine without losing face. Why don’t they humble themselves and try?

      Reply
    • Jo

      And yes, men are awesome! What so many of us overlook is that these false teachings not only hurt women; THEY HURT MEN! Men are made to feel “less than” in so many ways by them, by being made to feel like they have to fit into very specific molds and roles, by being held back from everything that God wants for them and that their wives and kids need them to be, by being frankly babied by wives who cater to their every whim instead of telling them “Hey, just because you’re a married man doesn’t mean you get to not be an adult human being,” by trapping their own children—boys and girls—in this nonsense, and generally being a person with a very narrow outlook of “Hey, all I need to do is work and demand sex whenever, however, and whatever way I want it.”
      Argh!

      Reply
    • EOF

      This is so on point. For so long, I felt like many scriptures didn’t apply to me because I was a wife. From all the teachings I’d had drilled into me, it seemed that they would’ve still applied to me if I hadn’t gotten married.
      I also felt like I couldn’t follow certain other scriptures because my husband wouldn’t allow it. And of course I was to obey unconditionally or I was disobeying God. Either way, I’d be disobeying God. No way for me to win. Always being pushed down!
      What baffles me is how long this has been going on, and how long it’s taken people to stand up for the truth. (Thank you so much Shiela for being one of those people!!) I have memories of watching a Mark Gungor video years ago at church, and wondering if I was the only one who thought he was an idiot because everyone else, men and women alike, were laughing. Ever since, I’ve shuddered at that man’s name.
      I’m so grateful for the changes happening. My church is discussing women and the Bible in ways I’ve never heard. This week, I watched some videos on the topic from another church in my denomination, and the preacher gave a fiery charge to men never to disrespect their wives because we are equal in every way. He then apologized to all women who had been hurt by the church and the wrong teachings about submission. To say I was brought to tears would be a gross understatement. (And then I watched your podcast the next day, and was again brought to tears! I’m not one to cry easily, either.)
      Healing is a beautiful thing. I’m so glad to be experiencing it. So glad to know I have value – equal even to men!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’m so glad you’re healing, too! And I’m so glad churches are speaking up! I do believe God is sending a wind of change. There’s a lot of backlash, but ultimately they will be swept away, or they will become fringe and obviously not of Christ.

        Reply
      • Jo

        “I also felt like I couldn’t follow certain other scriptures because my husband wouldn’t allow it. And of course I was to obey unconditionally or I was disobeying God. Either way, I’d be disobeying God. No way for me to win. Always being pushed down!”
        THIS!!!
        Jesus said He came to proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to the captives, restore sight to the blind, set free the oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
        These teachings do the exact opposite, all the way down the line. Wives (and unmarried women and girls) are made captives (in their homes and in their churches); we get blinded in our attempts to be obedient to God; we are most definitely oppressed spiritually and emotionally, if not physically; and frankly, as so many have commented before, these teachings make us hate God and Jesus, which ain’t exactly the year of the Lord’s favor.
        Fruit salad, anyone, from all this “good news”??? 🤮🤮🤮

        Reply
  4. Jane Eyre

    Any man worth marrying is better than that. Men are capable of fulfilling their marriage vows, which usually say things like love, honor, cherish in sickness and in health, not “demands a blowjob when she’s postpartum.” (Sarcastic comments? Who writes those here?)
    This relationship is supposed to be an earthly representation of Christ and His church. Both sides are asked to give a lot, everything in fact, but neither uses the other. Christ wouldn’t ask us to do things we are not capable of, and if we need help, God gives us the grace we need. Men really can fulfill those vows. Somehow, these Christian teachers act like women are the only ones who can cherish and forsake all others, but we need to be browbeaten to “obey.” Meanwhile, men are going to treat us like vaginas and boobs attached to a pile of emotions, stare at younger women, and feign at affection to get in our pants.
    That’s… not Christian marriage. That is not loving your wife like Christ loves His church.

    Reply
    • Jo

      “…and feign at affection to get in our pants.”
      So what’s going on during the dating and engagement arc by men who really do think that they only need to show affection, be caring, and open up emotionally until the “I do,” and then they can just stop doing all that? Are they merely acting a part? Are they just lying to get her to the altar? If so, how is that not bearing false witness—about themselves?
      Are those marriages thus entered into deceitfully and fraudulently? And can they therefore be considered false and not actually binding on the wives?
      After all, so many of the men who comment here expect a wife (assuming she was a virgin at her wedding) to enthusiastically engage in a particular activity, one she’s never done before, for the rest of her life, while the husband pretends to be enthusiastic about sharing emotions and having deep talks just until the wedding, then he gets to never have to do those things again for the rest of his life. If he doesn’t like doing it, why is he doing it before the wedding? Shouldn’t he man up and show explicitly he’s not going to do it NOW, before the wedding, so that she’ll KNOW to not expect it after? Sounds a whole lot like bait and switch to me, on the MAN’s part, since he’s acting in a way he feels no responsibility to maintain once it’s too late, while the woman can only assume she’ll like afterwards the part that she’s not doing before the wedding. Yet she’s held accountable for not liking something she’s never done before, while he gets to stop being who he showed himself to be with no consequences whatsoever.

      Reply
      • Anonymous305

        I love the point about marital fraud!!!! I wouldn’t make it binding on the honest party.

        Reply
  5. Dorthea

    Men are awesome and I’m so thankful that you’re showing us how great they can be. That God sees humanity both as we are and as we can be in Christ- really good! These teachings place humanity at such a low level and somehow we’re supposed to stay there but that’s not biblical. Keep shining a light on this but also enjoy a restful weekend. You need it! When I need to relax I like to grab a cup of tea, a good, fun book and just chill reading. Or I go out to my gardens and literally smell the flowers. The irises are blooming here and they smell so fresh and uplifting. Or maybe you and Keith can go bird watching it’s a great time of year for that too! Whatever you do, enjoy!

    Reply
  6. Laura

    As I’ve been reflecting on the teachings surrounding submission and marriage, I realize that I hear it more from women in women’s Bible studies than men. So I cannot blame men for these attitudes. In fact, whenever a pastor mentions submission in his sermon, he turns it around and reminds the men that they have a big responsibility to fill by loving their wives like Christ loves the church. Another pastor will say, “When it comes down to it, my wife is really the boss.” I think that was his attempt at humor.
    Here are a few books I feel have some unhealthy teaching and make women responsible for their roles in relationships. A woman happened to write them.
    P.B. (Bunny) Wilson wrote Your Knight in Shining Armor and Liberated Through Submission. Though she gives some good advice about improving your relationship with Christ, she adheres to the doctrine that the husband has to make all of the decisions in the marriage.
    In women’s Bible studies, the women seem to get offended if I say something like, “Well, the Bible was written by men during patriarchal times.” Some of these women will brag about who’s the most submissive wife. I’m like, “Really?” Do they believe this stuff to be the way for a marriage to be successful? It didn’t work for me in my first (so far only) marriage.
    After leaving that relationship, I’ve spent many years trying to heal from the damage that was already done. Not just with stuff I heard in church or some of these teachings from books (most of which I did not discover until after my divorce), but also to change my thoughts about men. Not to hate them and distrust them.
    Excellent post and a great reminder that men are people like us women.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! Some of the books that scored the worst on our rubric were the ones written by women (of the 13 bestsellers, 3 had predominantly female authors. 2 scored near the bottom of the back (Power of a Praying Wife and For Women Only). One (Intimate Issues) scored quite well.

      Reply
  7. Lisa & Owen

    Both my husband and I are with you 100%! You have helped us so much. We read The Great Sex Rescue together and we BOTH loved it. I told my husband that you have been accused of man-bashing and stating that there are no gender differences whatsoever. He was astounded at that. He said that the only way anyone could claim that about you or your work is if they either didn’t read it or are, frankly, lying. None of these people have cognitive issues or a lack of education that would prevent them from understanding anything you have said or written.
    We are with you! Thank you for standing up for MEN!
    From a woman who is very happily married to a man who, in fact, does sit at a little table in a coffee shop with his best friend (also a man) where they talk about their feelings, relationships, hopes, and dreams (Eggerichs wrote that men never do that kind of thing).

    Reply
  8. Lena

    Thank you for “giving your life” to help others, Sheila! I really cannot express in words the profound effect your research and insight has had in my life, heart, marriage and beliefs. You are on the front lines and I am so incredibly grateful for you and your team. I refer people to your website all the time and I know that you are literally changing people’s lives through your sacrifice. Your words are a healing balm to so many wounded hearts, I know especially to mine!
    I hope you have a beautiful, restful weekend. Solitude in nature and naps are my cure all for re-centering. And good food. 🙂
    You are so appreciated!

    Reply

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