Things that Make Men Feel Manly

Since we moved to the Eastern part of Washington, we have heated our home with wood. This is certainly a good idea economically (it saves us $1000 to $1500 a year), but there is another advantage: it makes me feel like a man. I drop a tree, haul it home, cut, chop, and stack it. Then there is the daily building and maintaining of a fire to keep the home warm. All of this feels very manly. Moving the control on the thermostat or paying a heating bill does not make me feel manly.

Axe and wood © Grant Cochrane

I think men are hard-wired to need to do manly things to care for their family. Things like building a home, cutting your own firewood, hunting, fishing, bringing in a crop, and so on. It is all hard work, and we ache for it, but it makes us feel right; it makes us feel like we are being good husbands and fathers.

Thing is, it is less and less common for a man to be able to do these things. That leaves a vacuum, and men do some odd things to fill that need. I think things like spending way too much time and money on fishing, or trying to make the lawn look like a golf course are examples of this. I think obsession with sports is also an example of this (sports is just war with fewer deaths).

Do women have a similar need that is difficult to fill in our modern world? I suspect they do. Perhaps “retail therapy” is an attempt to fill that need.

The point here is that your guy lives in a world that does not always appreciate his being male, and does not give him many good ways to express his masculinity. You can help by making a point of appreciating him when he does manly things, and by being understanding (within reason) when he wants to build, destroy, or shoot something.

~ Paul – an XY wood cutting machine.

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4 Comments on “Things that Make Men Feel Manly

  1. Totally right Paul. I had a prof in college who insisted that Sports without a ball is really just war or transportation, and most sports with balls are war too.

  2. I wish mine would want to do something manly. He likes to do my household chores and I’m not one of those women who find that sexy. Otherwise, he will do nothing. I almost wish he’d get a hobby!

  3. Paul, you write “your guy lives in a world that does not always appreciate his being male, and does not give him many good ways to express his masculinity.”

    I agree that our world is less than affirming to men as God created them and that women frequently overlook the opportunity (or don’t see the need to) to encourage and affirm men in their masculinity. I’ve found that it really makes a difference when I encourage positive expressions of masculinity in my man.

    Kudos to you for chopping that wood!

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