It’s time for our Start Your Engines podcast, and today we’re asking if Christian resources are causing male fragility–or at least making male fragility sound widespread.

Our belief is that men and women are equally made in the image of God, and one is not closer to God than the other. But with the way many Christian resources talk about men, they need women to coddle them and do the hard emotional work of keeping the family together, because men can’t handle that.

That’s insulting to men. All too often it’s dangerous to women. And it’s simply not true.

So let’s jump in!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube!


Timeline of the Podcast

0:45 Announcements
2:00 Discussion on Direct Communication
5:15 Why do our resources make men sound so fragile?!
20:00 What about communication between teens and unmarried men and women?
25:30 How direct communication helped Connor
34:50 Direct communication when it comes to sex
43:25 A Reader Question with Michael John Cusick

Main Segment: Why Do Christian Resources Ignore Direct Communication?

Keith and Connor came on with me today to look at how Christian resources tell women to communicate with men–or rather how not to communicate with them!

We started with the classic quote from John Piper and Wayne Grudem about how women should be careful how they give directions to men who are lost, lest they usurp mature feminity and masculinity: 

it is simply impossible that from time to time a woman not be put in a position of influencing or guiding men. For example, a housewife in her backyard may be asked by a man how to get to the freeway. At that point she is giving a kind of leadership. She has superior knowledge that the man needs and he submits himself to her guidance. But we all know that there is a way for that housewife to direct the man in which neither of them feels their mature femininity or masculinity compromised. It is not a contradiction to speak of certain kinds of influence coming from women to men in ways that affirm the responsibility of men to provide a pattern of strength and initiative.
John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

We went on to show how this attitude is prevalent in other Christian resources, and I read a number of quotes to the guys and wanted their reactions.

And they both agreed that this was horrendously insulting to men, and that the goal should be intimacy and mutual respect. Real men can handle strong women.

Things got dicey when I started reading quotes about teenage girls being responsible for boys’ anger–neither of them liked that very much! And we all concluded: Can’t we please do better at this? Because we’re making this way more complicated than it needs to be. Let’s just treat each other as people.

And we ended the segment with the big question: Why do Christian resources do this? Why do they make men sound so weak? Do they even realize they’re doing this? Because it’s just so weird and I don’t get it.

New Research: Cognitive Labor is being identified in the literature!

I shared with the guys some new research from the American Sociological Review looking at cognitive labor–what we’ve called mental load.

The data demonstrate that cognitive labor entails anticipating needs, identifying options for filling them, making decisions, and monitoring progress. Because such work is taxing but often invisible to both cognitive laborers and their partners, it is a frequent source of conflict for couples. Cognitive labor is also a gendered phenomenon: women in this study do more cognitive labor overall and more of the anticipation and monitoring work in particular. 

The Cognitive Dimension of Household Labor

The American Sociological Review

This confirmed a lot about what the guys talked about in the last Start Your Engines podcast–and that men are quite capable of doing this cognitive labor, too, and it vastly improves marriages.

False Teaching of the Week: Men are More Fragile than Women

No, they aren’t. Equally made in the image of God! Equally have the Holy Spirit.

Reader Question: How do I get my sex addicted husband out of denial?

I asked licensed counselor Michael John Cusick onto the podcast to talk about how to help your husband see that sex addiction is a serious thing that needs to be dealt with.

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:


Why Do Christian Books Make Men Sound Fragile

Why do you think so many Christian books talk about men like they’re so fragile? How can we change this conversation? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find BIBLICAL, HEALTHY, EVIDENCE-BASED help for their marriage. 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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