Four keys to finding love (for men)

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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.

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Everett Fritz - headshot3Everett 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/catholiceverettfritz or Twitter: @Efritzfritz1 and http://everettfritz.com/

11 Comments

  1. Beautiful article Everett!

    By Nancy Lyons | 2 years ago Reply
  2. Everett, seriously, I don’t disagree with what you’re trying to say but I’m growing ever more tired of these articles popping up in my news feed on facebook. Allow me to address your four points in order;

    1. The English language really doesn’t help here insofar as there as so many vast definitions for “strength” but I’ll assume you mean physical strength. This is just simply sexist. All human beings value strength to one extent or another. Sure, maybe men on average value it marginally more or it has a cultural association. Whatever, it’s irrelevant. My qualm comes when you then change the definition of the word in sentences 4 and 5 (from physical strength to either something like strength of will or internal strength). You’re not talking about the same concept anymore, regardless of the fact that it’s the same word. You do earn physical strength, it is directly correlated to and reliant upon physical activity. Worth is something else entirely, and entirely unrelated. In your secondary contextualization of strength, it’s simply a synonym for virtue and integrity (maybe moreso an integrity of virtue) and Aristotle would argue that you earn that too! In your final sentence, I really think you mean good man rather than great man, but regardless “good man” and “big deal” are not inherently opposed to one another and both can be strived for by a “strong” man.

    2. When I ask my sister to get me a glass of water, is she a means to an end or as an end in and of herself? The answer is both. In the context of the situation, a means. In the context of our relationship, (hopefully) an end. However, you seem to place this in a category of binary opposites, it clearly cannot be both (you do this with conquering and cherishing as well, which makes even less sense)! If engaging in a pleasurable act with my wife (ie, intercourse) does not also express an affection and cherishing of her as a being then the male orgasm would be grounds for excommunication. It is, as with all moral acts, the intent and context which is relevant. Not some binary yes/no, good/bad ticking of boxes.

    3. So… every marriage outside the church is doomed to failure and unhappiness? The realization of the truth in the title of the point lies simply in the recognition of the imperfection of humanity. People will let you down, especially when you idolize them rather than be truthful and objective. This truth literally has nothing to do with someone having “been there [the altar] many times before”

    4. This really just sounds like the polar opposite of point 3. Idolize your wife! You’ll be forever happy by sitting at her feet in worship! Please, please, please rescind this particular note. It is unhealthy.

    Look, if you’ve made it this far I’d just like to note that I don’t disagree with any of your titles for the article’s four main points (except arguably the last, it doesn’t make any grammatical sense, maybe you mean achieve rather than have?), however, I do take varying degrees of issue with the way in which you explain the titles. I too am a Catholic (maybe a bit more of liberal Catholic) and fundamentally agree with the spirit of your message. However, its expression is the opposite of academic and will never, ever convince anyone of any notable intellect of your arguments.

    Lastly, I’ve given you my email address because it’s required to comment. That in no way gives you permission to add me to some newsletter or other mailing. In fact, you explicitly do not have my permission to contact me in the future except in regards to this specific reply.

    By Moore | 2 years ago Reply
    • He isn’t arguing anything, just trying to give guys pointers on love & I found the article helpful. I would recommend un-liking whatever you originally liked on Facebook that made these articles appear on your newsfeed if they make you this pissy all the time. Enjoy your week:)

      By John | 2 years ago Reply
      • It isn’t liking things, it’s friend(s) posting them. Apologies if my reply came off as pissy, for that simply was not the intent. Merely a philosophical breakdown of the invalidity of the above expression. Again, allow me to reiterate, I don’t disagree with the intent or spirit of the man and his message, I do disagree with the expression of that intent.

        I’m happy that this article helps you, but I can just as easily argue for chastity because banana. my argument is no more valid than any of these arguments or pointers (really, those two words are synonyms, though I can understand that “argument” has a certain connotative value that “pointer” does not). You or others may find truth in both this argument and my own argument, but in terms of formal logic there is no valid flow in either.

        I hope you too enjoy your week.

        By Moore | 2 years ago Reply
        • You’re really smart, aren’t you? I totally dig the circular argument you have there

          By John | 2 years ago Reply
    • I think the last point is the most important, because it is the most profound and yet the most practical. “Love your wives as Christ loves the church.”

      Jesus gave His very life on the Cross for the Church, and at the same time, enabled it to spread the Love of the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.

      That is how we should love our wives, giving our all to them, and helping them towards heaven til death do we part.

      By Neal | 2 years ago Reply
  3. This is very profound. Very good article

    By Angela | 2 years ago Reply
  4. I like the 3rd point the best: “Stay away from women who place their desire for happiness entirely on your shoulders.” I say this because I’ve had a few girls interested in me who have done just this. One girl would get upset if I didn’t text her back within 3 minutes of receiving a text from her and other got upset because instead of spending my Sunday mornings with her, I wanted to go to Mass before I went to work. Talk about possessive

    By Andrew Lind | 2 years ago Reply
  5. Love this article! I am a female and I always enjoy reading articles written to men because it helps me learn about their struggles, thus helping guide me in my thoughts and actions as well. I agree with Andrew in these comments. The third point hit me the hardest, and I’ll admit, it’s been something I struggle with. Our culture has that kind of “Prince Charming” attitude toward relationships and often times (especially when they have been hurt numerous times by other people in their lives) women buy into the lie. I’ve been guilty of these kinds of possessive tendencies, but I’m striving everyday to leave the anxieties and fears that cause this behavior in God’s hands. Thank you for this wonderful article. And for men who have encountered women like this, please pray for them. Pray that God will open her eyes and demonstrate to her that He alone completes her. Thank you!!

    By Samantha | 2 years ago Reply
  6. The article have opened my eyes and learn something new, i was the victim of the world, which made me not to believe in love anymore, shukran and be blessed

    By Ivan | 2 years ago Reply
  7. Something about this article is not quite clear. I find your articles in this regar a bit biased. You warn men to run away from women who put their happiness in them. In your other article directed to women, you didn’t advice women to run away from certain types of men. You didn’t advice men to put God above all else.

    Many Catholic men lack the basic behavior or virtues taught by our Catechism. Many men lack the ability to pursue women because they are self-centered, selfish, pride and and the only “Catholic” in them is the label, and don’t live their faith.

    One important thing is that many men these days play around a lot, gawking at other women in Church, in the youth or young adult groups, not wanting any commitment or relationship, but just playing with other women’s feelings and leading them on. It’s an epidemic sinful behavior. You need to really talk about these matters because they are very real.

    By Jane | 2 years ago Reply

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