Even though I am a man, I find it much more difficult to coach men instead of women in the area of love. Learning lessons about love and manhood requires a certain amount of self-reflection. Learning to be a man who loves requires sitting at the cross and learning from the King, who both created us as men and embodied manhood in his own flesh.
Several days ago, I wrote a blog called, “Four Keys to Finding Love (for women).” I’ve been married for 8 years, following 4+ years of courtship. The lessons that I have learned about women and love I owe entirely to the lessons that I have learned in trying to love my wife.
I had to sit and reflect for a while to think of the parallel for men. What would I tell men about finding real love? Here is what I came up with:
Your strength is not found in what you do, but in who you are.
Men identify with strength as something that is desirable to have—and rightly so. God made man to have strength. Our bodies are generally physically stronger than women (although Kacy Catanzaro could kick my butt) and because we find our strength in our body, we can be tempted to value our worth based only in what we can accomplish with the work of our bodies. But strength and worth is not about what we do—we cannot earn our worth and strength. Strength is found in becoming a man of virtue and integrity. It is success at becoming a great man versus becoming a big deal.
Women should be cherished for who they are and not what they can do for you.
Our culture teaches men that women are something to be conquered. A real man doesn’t conquer a woman’s beauty—he cherishes and protects it. Women are people with hopes, dreams and the ability to love and be loved. When we treat them as objects for pleasure—whether it is in a relationship or through fantasy and pornography—we cripple our capacity to love because we make a person a means to an end instead of a person to be valued and loved.
Stay away from women who place their desires for happiness entirely on your shoulders.
There is an enormous difference between hoping that your future spouse will lead you to happiness and being convinced that your future spouse will bring you happiness. Many women have fallen for the Prince Charming lie. They are sitting around and waiting for a guy to come and marry them so they can live happily ever after. Women who fall for this lie become emotionally dependent on men and their integrity is easily compromised. A woman that you can take to the altar is a woman that has been there many times before. That’s because she understands that her future happiness lies with Christ in eternity and she is willing to place her trust in you to take her to Him.
A relationship with God will teach you how to love. It is the most important accomplishment that you will ever have.
St. Paul told men to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5). Jesus washed the feet of the Church. He sacrificed and died for the Church. When we spend our lives sitting at the foot of the cross in prayer—we learn to do the same for the women that we love.
Everett Fritz works in Catholic Youth Ministry and enjoys speaking on the topics of chastity, discipleship, and youth evangelization. He is the Content Development Coordinator for YDisciple at the Augustine Institute and holds an MA in Pastoral Theology with concentrations in Catechesis and Evangelization from the Augustine Institute. He also holds a BA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Everett resides in Denver with his wife Katrina and their three children. You can connect with him through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/