Updated: Feb 28, 2020
Don’t settle for less than your greatest self. Today you’ll read about three things that a real man (of God) should have under control. Women may want to read this for inspiration to not settle or to encourage their men in new directions, and men will be interested to see where they may be falling short.
1. SEXUALITY: Real men don’t watch porn/masturbate
No woman fully alive will feel good about her boyfriend or husband watching pornography. Some are desensitized, having no concept of what they truly deserve, and others are absolutely crippled by it. It is not only emotionally damaging for her (she cannot help but feel she is not worth the man’s fidelity and self-control), but physically problematic for men, often causing an eventual inability to become aroused by a real woman, at all or without sexual gimmicks. Remember, gentlemen, “...whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). God gives us commands to set us free, that we may be free to love with our hearts, minds, and bodies to the fullest of the human experience. He calls you to avoid all forms of adultery so that you may answer the call to protect and defend, becoming the man you were created to be. The pornography industry distorts reality, with actors likely addicted to drugs, dead (at the time of watching), sold into sex trafficking, or pressured into sexual acts they do not feel comfortable with (and sometimes, rape). Addiction rates are high and morality is low… We can do better.
Do you think you’re not addicted? Try stopping.
If you struggle with pornography, the first step is to acknowledge the voice in your heart (conscience) telling you that you were meant for more, then make the decision to stop. Second, go to Confession regularly, and immediately when you fall in mortal sin. There WILL be a day you are free from this.
I won’t say too much about masturbation, other than it’s just as base as porn. Why settle for something less than the full sexual experience with your wife, who has given her whole life to you? Her love is something to revel in… Something to cherish. Men who masturbate are more likely to use their wives as a means to an end, rather than engaging in the full, life-giving, marital act, because they are not programmed to fully know how to. Men, you are not animals; you are rational human beings capable of controlling your sexual desires for a greater purpose: love. In scripture God “slew” Onan for withdrawing and spilling his seed (semen). What does that tell you? Your seed is meant to be life-giving, not spilled in an act of selfishness. Remember, chastity is not the suppression of desire, it is the perfection of desire. We too often settle for fleeting moments of pleasure, becoming dependent on them, rather than focusing our gaze to God, true love, and eternal satisfaction. If you are not married, you are also called to purity of body and mind, for current individual freedom and preparation for your future. It is so freeing knowing that my husband controls himself because he is the master of his body--with the grace of God--focused on me and what we have together, rather than some mediocre form of pleasure.
2. FINANCIALS: Real men are not materialistic and they don’t spend recklessly
Do not be ashamed to live humbly now to provide a stable financial future for your family. The facade of nice things is another fleeting satisfaction that does not get you ahead.
Whether or not you have the money, if you find yourself always in need of nicer, newer things-- cars, houses, clothes, cellphones, etc.--you are simply filling a void. Ask yourself why? Your nice things do not define you, nor will you take them with you when you’re dead. Nice things are just that: nice. But they mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme: “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:7-8). I prayed to find a man who was humble and hard-working, focused more on people than things; a man who could manage our money well, cutting back when it was time to save, and content with little. Any luxury is a bonus; I needed to know that family life would remain faithful and strong even if the material wealth was taken away: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
3. SPIRITUALITY: Real men pray with their family, and when they're alone
There is nothing more attractive than a man kneeling in prayer, or with a Rosary or Bible in his hands. Ante is a strong 6’2”, 225 pounds, and could squash me with his finger. When I see that man pray, admitting his weakness before God, I know that we will have a blessed life. Prayer means that you are dependent on your Creator because you know that you are not the measure of perfection--only He is. A prayerful man is a humble man, open to change when it is for the greater good (which really comes in handy in marriage). He also leads his wife and children in prayer, showing the little ones that a real man knows that he is dust, and to dust, he shall return. A Godly man goes to the source of greatness, so that he may become a visible representation of it, individually, and together with his family.
We are fallen and imperfect, and we need God. There is no rut too deep and no addiction so strong that it cannot be overcome by the grace of God. Please continue praying for us on this faith journey, and know that we pray for you regularly. May we all answer the call to holiness, setting the bar high for our lives.