Magnificent man or merely male?

[Note to readers: This article makes a distinction between “man” and “male”, using “male” to refer to biological anatomy and “man” to refer to qualities of character and personality. It is a clumsy way of making the distinction, for which I apologise, but I couldn't think of a better one.]

A man is not defined by his relationship with a set of arbitrary and fashionable qualities. A man is defined by his relationship with God. The more a man submits to God the more manly he will become, however this fact is not well understood because many people don't understand the nature of God and, indeed, many people go to some trouble to deliberately misunderstand the nature of God.

God can be compassionate, merciful, creative, imaginative, magnanimous, rational, tender hearted, sorrowful, awesome, joyful, bold, fearsome, fearless, a mighty warrior, a tender lover, a protective parent, an unmoveable judge, a gentle intercessor. In short, God expresses every good quality and has conferred the potential for every good quality onto men because mankind is created in the likeness of God. A person of male gender is a man only to the extent that he is able to express these same qualities when they are appropriate.

Consequently as a male person submits himself to God he becomes more of the man that God intended him to be. Thus a true man can be aggressive when aggression is rightly called for, merciful when mercy is rightly called for, steadfast when steadfastness is rightly called for, resolute when resoluteness is rightly called for, creative when creativity is rightly called for, just when justice is rightly called for, courageous when courage is rightly called for, passionate when passion is rightly called for, fearsome (i.e., inspiring fear) when fearsomeness is rightly called for, gentle when gentleness is called for, ... and so on. The true man is always honest to the fullest extent of every sense of that word.

A woman's desire will be for her man and he will rule over her. But the man referred to in that passage in the book of Genesis is not the person of male gender who populates the corridors of power or flaunts himself in our media or who bumbles indecisively or measures his progress through life by the numbers on his bank statement. Our fascination with “heroes” is not just some transient sociological phenomena but is because those so-called heroes do, in some small and incomplete way, resemble man as God intended man to be; as God designed and created man to be. Women were created and designed to respond to that kind of a man; they were created to be his helper, to be the one who is capable of both nourishing his strength and also of being nourished by it. They were created not to be his equal but to be his complement, in the sense of being that which makes a thing complete, makes it perfect and brings it to peak performance. In that role they can be satisfied.

The man of God is not limited to being a naive philanthropist wrapped in sackcloth and sporting a haircut that even his elderly neighbour's decrepit pet dog would be embarrassed by. The man of God can be like David (the former King of Israel) who was in turns the ferocious warrior, wise ruler, passionate lover, magnanimous and merciful victor who remembered to say his prayers like a little child and who repented humbly even after committing one of the most appalling acts of sin recorded in the whole bible (namely, the cowardly and treacherous murder of his loyal servant). The man of God can be like Paul (known as an Apostle), who stayed firm under severe pressure who remained cheerful under torment, repented of his persecution of Christians, remained faithful in the face of rejection and, in between penning missives full of concern and care, ran around the world having the sort of splendid adventure that wouldn't look out of place as a chapter in a tale of Sinbad the sailor. The man of God says his prayers on his knees and puts his trust in God but that doesn't stop him from using his initiative and working boldy and energetically to achieve something worthwhile.

Let's forget all that boring twaddle about a woman wanting a man because she perceives him to be a good source of chromosomes for her potential offspring ... a woman wants a hero because heroes are exciting and interesting, they are enlivening and they are sometimes a lot of fun to be with. The man of God is a hero to the need of the moment and a woman wants to be ruled by such a man because that is what she was created to be satisfied by; in his presence she becomes more intensely alive emotionally, intellectually, erotically, creatively. Confronted with such a man she might even be able to overlook the dodgy haircut (it can be dealt with later after all).

However for the lonely woman seeking this kind of hero—the man who will take her in hand and contribute a new vitality to her life just as she encourages him in his—there is a problem: Sometimes it seems that our society is determined to prevent persons of male gender from becoming the men that God intended them to be, and does so by refusing to contemplate or teach the necessary qualities, by ridiculing those qualities and by compartmentalising them. Furthermore our society tinkers with truth, dabbles with deceit and regards morality as a fashion and not, as it actually is, an unchanging quality of the universe which is itself defined by, and is an expression of, the nature of God. Those persons of male gender who wish to become men must first work out what a man actually is because society certainly will not teach them. Many male persons either abandon the quest at a point of pleasure or simply don't live long enough to make the discovery.

How can a woman be satisfied when the thing she herself is designed to be satisfied by, namely a man, is in short supply? That makes life a little difficult so, in place of a man, she might substitute something else; usually something that bears a passing resemblance to the shadow of a man. It might be an aggressive male person, a pushy male person, an assertive male person, a clever male person, an ambitious male person, a strong male person, or a caring male person. Some don't even aim that high and just choose the male person with the most expensive looking car, hoping that expensive cars and manliness are somehow related. If a woman is lucky she will find a male person who has enough of the right qualities to make her respond as she was created to respond: kneeling, adoring, supporting, encouraging, strengthening him by yielding herself, giving her mind, her energy, her attention, her love and her passion ... and receiving back the same from him. However many women (perhaps most) are not so lucky and, in any case, many of them are just as confused as the males they associate with and would rather accept something less challenging, less demanding. Of course some didn't want a man at all but just wanted the expensive car with or without the male accessory pack.

Many women feel a deep need for a man to take charge, “wear the trousers”, or as this forum describes it “to be taken in hand”, because they were designed to yield to a man as I have tried to describe him. It is not a educational or cultural issue but a creation issue. They desire to yield to such a man for the same reason that they desire to fill their lungs with clean sweet air: Their lungs were created to breathe clean sweet air and they were created to yield to a man. However just as the air in our cities is not the type of air women were designed to find satisfaction in breathing, neither are the men in our cities the type of men that women are designed find satisfaction in yielding to.


Take the Taken In Hand tour


Awkward But Appropriate

There is a definite difference between a man and a mere male, and I
think you described it quite eloquently.


This is an absolutely wonderful article

and guess what? I'm a religious Jew, not a Christian, and the article did not "offend" me! :)

You might be very interested in this book:

"In Search of the Proverbs 31 Man--The one G-d Approves and a Woman Wants" by Michelle McKinney Hammond (she has a website too:

Also, this website (they have both a US and UK version):

You Rock!

Great post! I really agree with alot of what you write and I always love reading your postings. It's so refreshing to hear your point of view.

You sound very intelligent and thoughtful. You really seem to understand that being a happy, submissive wife doesn't mean that you are ignorant. Thank you!!!

With lots of love AND respect,


Created by God?

Since I'm not religious, I can't really comment with any authority on the Biblical view of male/female relations, but I personally dislike the idea that my own submissive inclinations are simply a fulfilment of God's will, just as I dislike the idea that they are a Biological imperative. I prefer to believe they are a personal quirk. I don't believe it's any more natural or inevitable for a woman to be submissive than not, and anyway, where does that leave men who are submissive? How do they fit into the scheme of things? Or women who are dominant by inclination, or those who are neither?

I think that human relations are more varied and interesting than the one-size fits all view of human nature. For instance, while I have inclinations that are submissive, I don't have any desire to kneel to my husband, frankly I consider that a bit over the top, I mean, there are limits.

And the air in most cities is perfectly okay to breathe, it's a lot cleaner in most places than it used to be. Our lungs can take the city air, and we can take an infinite variety in sexual relations, wihtout any one mode being more natural or inevitable than another.

Religious men

I`m also not religious and I don’t think the Bible or believing in God has anything to do with people having a certain character. I`ve seen people who are really religious and going to church every sunday but yet they were the most decieving people I`ve ever seen. I guess they just figure they can confess again and their sins will be forgiven.
I believe a man can be dominant, strong, loyal and honest without believing in God. What about the homosexualls, the people who live together without being married? To religious people they are all sinners. And that nonsense that people should wait until they are married to have sex doesn`t fit in this time and age anymore. What if they never find the right person? When I met my husband I wanted to know, among other things, how good he is in bed before I married him.


I live with my boyfriend

I live with my boyfriend, and we do have sex outside of marriage, but I think that to say waiting until marriage doesn't fit in with this time and age is a bit exaggerated. There are still people who do wait for marriage, and I find it comendable. I "rushed" into sex not because I wanted to make sure my boyfriend was good in bed, but because as a 24 year old virgin who had never had a relationship, I thought it was necessary to "reel him in." It was a choice I made. I could have made another choice. It probably would have been healthier for me to do so, but such is life.

That being said, I feel I got exceptionally lucky. I found a man who wanted me more than just sexually, and we have had a good relationship.

As for the impact of religion on a person's character..I'm not sure. Yes, you will find hypocrits in any religion. I myself have become what my friends in Sunday School used to call a "C&E Catholic." I do, however, believe that my religion did influence the person I ultimately became and will continue to become. My parents saw raising a religious child as part of raising a healthy child. They took care of my emotionally, physically, and spiritually in the best way they saw fit. Teaching me God's love was part of teaching me their love. If religion is truly a big part of your life I cannot see how it cannot in someway influence your behavior, you may not follow every single tenet of your faith, but over all, it will guide you.

I am not trying to imply that you cannot have a healthy life if you are not religious. I have known very nice Christians, Muslims, Jewish people, and Atheists. Religion is certainly not the only place from which people draw their values.

Re: Religious men (Autumn)

Hello Autumn and thanks for the remarks,

I`m also not religious,

So that makes three of us now.  Do you think that three is enough to form
a society and claim tax relief on our computer expenses?

and I don’t think the Bible or believing in God has anything to do with people
having a certain character, I`ve seen people who are really religious and
going to church every sunday but yet they were the most decieving people I`ve
ever seen. I guess they just figure they can confess again and their sins
will be forgiven.

We agree entirely but this rather misses the point if you will forgive my saying
so and doesn't really have much to do with what I originally wrote: I haven't
made any remarks about men being religious or going to church.  Submitting
to God, believing in God, being religious, going to church, and “the bible”
are five very different matters that are at best only loosely related. 
A person who is deceitful is categorically not submitting to God, at least not
at the moment of their deception or in the attitudes that led them to it. 
Religion doesn't necessarily improve a person's character and Jesus's most venomous
pronouncements were dispensed to the religious leaders because they had lots
of “religion” but weren't submitted to God.  Mere belief in
God doesn't necessarily have any effect on a person's conduct and all sorts
of people believe in God including people of bad character some of whom even
“thank God” that they didn't get caught in their adultery, theft
or deceit or whichever evil it is that they happen to be inclined towards.

The theme of my original article was that a man who submits himself
to God will tend to become the type of man that a woman will find it easy to
submit to.  However as I have previously argued, submission is an action
arising from a choice, not a state that one is forced into nor a mere belief
that doesn't lead to action.  Believing in God and having a similar
character to God are, in my mind at least, only elastically joined.  What
I mean is that, for the purposes of the kind of relationships we are discussing,
the formula will work for everyone, regardless of what they believe about God. 
In the same way God has created us to be sustained by food and, in fact, everybody
will actually be sustained by food regardless of whether their philosophy includes
the existence of an omnipotent and creative deity.  This is why I maintained
that it is a creation issue.  So I assert that the way we function optimally
is determined by the way we were designed, not by what we believe about our

I believe a man can be dominant, strong, loyal and honest without believing
in God.

Yes, I agree.  A man can express the character of God quite substantially
without being a “believer” in any of the commonly accepted senses
of that word.  Personally I would contend that it is easier for a man to
express those qualities if he knows their source and has a role model to follow
but I wouldn't for one second suggest that an atheist cannot express them at

What about the homosexualls, the people who live together without being married?
To religious people they are all sinners.

What about them?  Additionally, and bearing in mind that neither you nor
I are religious and my article doesn't mention religion nor religious people,
what is the relevance of introducing them here?  OK, let me try and guess
what you were thinking of and answer accordingly.  If I guess wrong please
clarify for me and I'll try again.

Clearly being homosexual is somewhat outside the remit of both this forum in
general and my original article in particular since I was talking about women
submitting to men and men submitting to God.  The question of being married
or not married is, I think, relevent to the extent that marriage represents
a lifelong commitment and the ability to follow through with such a commitment
is one of the qualities that a god-fearing man ought to aspire to.  However
in the context of a man submitting to God as I described in my original article,
it would be the commitment that is important rather than the legal institution
of “being married”.  Consequently having or not having a particular
certificate would not be relevant to my argument.  The Bible makes a distinction
between “married” and “not married” but doesn't actually
describe any procedure by which a person transfers from one state to the other;
that is something that communities decide for themselves.

I'd love answer your point about sinners but despite my best attempts I really
can't do so without initiating the theological debate that the boss, our
hostess, has prohibited so please forgive my skipping that point.  Suffice
to say that nobody is perfect so a man might be submitted to God in some areas
of life, but less so in other areas.  I contend that as a male person submits
to God he will find it easier to express the qualities of God more appropriately
and as he does so he becomes more of a man.  However this is, by definition,
a process not a state.

That was why I used King David as an example: his third party, cowardly and
treacherous murder of his faithful servant was evil by any standard known to
humans yet he was undoubtedly a man of God and a “hero” in the temporary
and limited sense that any man can be a hero.  Like all men David had weaknesses
but that didn't prevent him from turning back to God after his failings and
trying again to submit to God.  The result of that wilful and habitual
submission is that despite committing what is (in human perception) possibly
the most appallingly evil act in the whole of the Bible, David King of Israel
could still be remembered for his success and not for his failure.  The
Apostle Paul (my other example) similarly had substantially less than perfect
track record but that didn't stop him from changing.

And that nonsense that people should wait until they are married to have
sex doesn`t fit in this time and age anymore.

My original article doesn't mention sex at all, either inside marriage or outside,
so exactly what you are reacting to is not clear to me.  However since
you think the topic pertinent these are my thoughts:

To describe something as “nonsense” implies (by definition of the
word non-sense) that you have applied some rational test to the subject matter
and that it has failed the test.  What tests did you apply to conclude
that restricting sex to within mariage is nonsense or even that the “time
and age” had anything to do with its merits?  Without mentioning God,
the Bible or even morality I can think of several very good, rational reasons
why avoiding sex outside marriage is a very “sensible” idea (ie not
non-sense) “in this time and age”, for instance:

  • First, if nobody had sex other than with their marriage partner there would
    be no sexually transmitted diseases other than trivial infections passing
    between the lovers.  Entire nations would have been spared the rampant
    devastation of HIV.  Tens of millions of people could have had longer
    lives in which to find fulfillment, hundreds of millions of children could
    have kept their parents.  When the HIV rate of a poplution is running
    at over 10% or even, in at least one country, over 30%, doesn't that make
    you wonder if the virtues of promiscuity might perhaps have been overstated?
  • Second certain common, enjoyable, desirable and highly attractive forms
    of sexual activity tend to lead to the production of children and whilst it
    is technically feasible to have a child without being married and even to
    raise a child successfully without being married it is, I think, indisputable
    that the formal commitments that a marriage involves do help to provide a
    relationship that is conducive to successful child rearing.  Of course
    there is such a thing as contraception but experience shows that even when
    used it isn't always reliable and in any case sexual desire and the implementation
    of good intentions are not always successfully combined.  I don't know
    who you know but I have seen several young women whose promising futures were
    rewritten by the acquisition of an infant for which they had neither the practical
    resources nor the emotional backup to successfully and happily raise.
  • Third, sex involves emotions.  At least, it does for everybody I have
    ever known.  By this I mean that sex is not merely some mechanical combining
    of anatomical parts leading to momentary orgastic pleasure but that sexual
    experience has emotional and psychological components and consequences. 
    Sex plus committment leads to harmonious emotional states while sex minus
    committment leads to doubt and emotional disharmonious states.  My own
    observations have not caused me to think that people who have multiple sexual
    partners have better relationships later or that their sexual proclivity enhances
    their character or personality or happiness.  If anything it seems to
    make them less satisfied with life, harder to please, more bitter, less joyful. 
    Of course this is my subjective assessment of a very small sample of the world's
    population so it might be that my conclusion is inappropriate.  Nonetheless,
    for me, this is another rational reason for thinking it sensible to encourage
    sexual activity (or at least the most intense and intimate forms of it) only
    within a committed relationship.

Somebody might argue that they know of people who have had lots of sexual experience
outside marriage or a committed relationship and who have avoided all of the
problems.  All well and good, but not really relevant since it is extremely
unwise to form general guidelines for an entire population on the exceptional
experiences of a few of that population.  The fact that some people have
sex outside marriage and then go on to have happy and fulfilling lives doesn't
alter the fact that sex outside marriage leads directly to despair, devastation
and discontentment for vast numbers of people, all over the world.

I can think of a couple of other good, sensible reasons for avoiding sexual
activity other than within a committed relationship but to discuss them would
involve a long, somewhat political discussion of the sort that our hostess has
previously declared inappropriate for her forum.

What if they never find the right person?

How does having sex without commitment guarantee that a person will find the
right partner?  Moreover, how do you define what the “right person”
is in the first place.  A contended life is not attained merely by having
a good time amongst the pillows and the bed sheets.

What if the emotional disharmony I mentioned earlier makes it increasingly
difficult to form a happy relationship?  In that case greater amounts of
sexual activity minus commitment would tend to cause greater numbers of problems
that would affect future relationships and life in general.

What if the “right person” is not something to be found by exploration,
but something to be created by the process of working through the problems that
arise in a committed relationship?  If that were the case (and I assert
that it usually is) then the person who hopped from sexual partner to sexual
partner forever looking for the perfect mate would, by doing so, deny themselves
the very thing that they were seeking.  I contend that it is the making
of a commitment that allows two people become perfect for one another having
started with merely adequate raw compatibility.  If you had met a man who
you thought “right” (by whatever standard you wanted to apply) would
he still be “right” if in fact he did not want to give you any commitment? 
It seems to me that compatibility is not useful—or even especially meaningful
as a concept—unless it includes commitment.

I assert that it is through the process of honouring our relationship commitments
that we grow to become better people and discover our limitations and strengths. 
Perhaps more significantly it is, I assert, through our commitment to somebody
else that we allow them to develop their character and strengths to maturity
and to hone their virtues.

When I met my husband I wanted to know, among other things, how good he is
in bed before I married him.

Then I wish you many years of pleasant and satisfying experiences in and out
of bed and that you will always consider him perfect for you, and he consider
you perfect for him.



The Bible

I don't personally think that King David's murder of Uriah was the most evil act in the Bible. My vote would probably go to the man in Judges who puts his concubine outside the house to be raped until she dies, in order to save himself from being buggered (his host is happy to offer his daughters for the same purpose—nice). And then there's Lot, who is likewise happy to offer his daughters to be sodomised in order to spare his male guest the same fate.

There seems to me to be a distinct lack of kind, caring, patriarchal males in the Bible. Most Biblical men seem to regard women as expendable, as I imagine was the case in real life in those times.

Re: Religious men

Well, I don`t wanna get to much into this conversation about religion. To me submitting to God and going to church on a regular basis are not really two different things. People who don`t believe in God wouldn`t go to church at all, now would they? I only know the cathlic church anyhow so I don`t know to much about other religions. But everybody I met who submitted to God (or acted like it) went to church on a regular basis. As for sex before marriage, I brought that up because from what I`ve been told, God would not appreciate it.
From what you are saying people who are not in a comitted relationship shouldn`t have sex. Well some people might never have a chance to be in a comitted relationship. I really don`t see why they should live their lifes without sex. And for sexuall transimitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy people can use protection. Everything is a risk in life, you can die when you cross the street, does that mean I shouldn`t leave the house anymore?
I`m glad that I did have sex before I married, I`ll never wonder how another man might be in bed. I knew before I married my husband that making love didn`t mean to him jumping on top of me and being done in two minutes. And when I read about other women complaining that their men see foreplay as an effort that they rather avoid I`m also glad that I didn’t wait until marriage. The most sweet talking man can be a terrible lover and some people also never learn and believe me I talk from experience. If their was one thing I never wanted to do is teach a man how to make love to me. It`s not the most important thing but it is important too and I wanted somebody who knew how to make love and who wanted to take the lead also in bed.
And as far as him being perfect for me and me being perfect for him—we try to work on that and in the process try to enjoy our lifes as much as possible. But who`s perfect anyhow?

re: Created by God? (LouiseC)

Hello LouiseC,

Thank you, as always, for your remarks.  Now, a conundrum, how to answer
your comments and questions without veering towards to the theological discussion
that our hostess, the boss, has forbidden for her forum in general and for
this discussion in particular?  I'm not altogether confident of success
but luckily I do at least feel in the mood for a little challenge this afternoon.

Since I'm not religious,

Neither am I.  Being a Christian and being religious are two quite different
things.  Some people are religious about their eating habits and their
daily timetable and, conversely, it is possible to be a god-fearing Christian
without being religious.

I can't really comment with any authority on the Biblical view of male/female
relations, but I personally dislike the idea that my own submissive inclinations
are simply a fulfilment of God's will, just as I dislike the idea that they
are a Biological imperative.  I prefer to believe they are a personal
quirk. I don't believe it's any more natural or inevitable for a woman to
be submissive than not,

In my experience most women (indeed almost all women) are more submissive than
not, although they express that to varying degrees and in varying manners according
to their temperaments and circumstances and I contend that the majority of women
would be delighted to submit to a “hero” if only they could find one. 
Shining armour is not presently de rigour among the dapper fellows but the qualities
of a man for which shining armour is a metaphor have never gone out of fashion
and have never changed other than in the slight practical adaptations necessitated
by different locations and situations.  My argument is not that all women
are submissive in day to day life but that the majority of them are desiring
and entirely willing to be submissive, if only they could find the man
worthy of their gift.

Given then that the majority of women in every country, every culture, every
era, are harbouring a deep hope of meeting a “hero” to give themselves
to, I am curious to know how you have come to believe your submissive inclinations
to be a “personal quirk”.  What definition do you have for “quirk
that allows you to apply the word to something that is almost (but not quite)
universal?  Isn't claiming submissive inclinations as a personal quirk
rather like claiming a desire for a long and happy life as a personal quirk?

Furthermore, if the submissive inclinations that are almost universal among
women are a consequence of neither divine design nor haphazard (and ill-explained)
biology, then what, in your opinion, are they a consequence of?  To argue,
as some people do (not necessarily yourself), that they are a function of social
conditioning merely begs the question.  Why should social conditioning
(minus the influence of God and biology) imbue the majority of women with submissive
inclinations and the desire to have their heart won by a “hero”?

and anyway, where does that leave men who are submissive? How do they fit
into the scheme of things? Or women who are dominant by inclination, or those
who are neither?

In order to answer your questions I need to ask you to go beyond a one word
label because the words “dominant” and “submissive” are
used by different people to mean many different things within the context of
relationships and I do not feel confident that I know how you are using them.

A detailed description of how I personally use the word “submissive”
in the context of human interaction can be found in an earlier article on this
forum: “Linguistically Submissive”
so I won't repeat it here.  When I look up the word “dominant
in the thesaurus I find three distinct but overlapping shades of meaning.

The first shade is given by words with connotations (often negative) of control
such as these below:  assertive, bossy, commanding, despotic, domineering,
governing, imperious, overbearing, ruling, sovereign, controlling.

The second shade is given by words that denote some kind of value judgement,
for example:  superior, supreme, surpassing.

The third shade of meaning alludes to prominence as suggested by words such
as:  outstanding, overruling, paramount, pre-eminent, primary, principal,

If you would like to explain which meanings you are applying to these two words
(submissive and dominant) then I will be happy to try to provide coherent answers
for your questions.

I think that human relations are more varied and interesting than the one-size
fits all view of human nature.

Could you tell me please, what is this “one size fits all” view of
human nature that you object to?  I have yet to encounter anybody who actually
proposes such a view and, on this forum in particular, I never expect to. 
Certainly I don't propose such a view and even in the little article to which
you responded you will see, if you read carefully, that to the very slight extent
that it was relevant to my topic I have actually argued contrary to such a view. 
Of course I do believe that there are certain aspects of humanity that do apply
to everybody: we are all constrained by the same biological imperative
to breath, eat, drink and defecate.  We are all constrained by the same
universe that we collectively occupy and I do believe that the universe has
a moral dimension that is not going to change to suit individual circumstances
or passing fashions any more than the laws of gravity are going to alter to
suit our desire for cheaper air travel.  However as far as I have been
able to determine from my experience of the expression to date, this “one
size fits all” appears to be a mythical construct referred to by people
who feel the need to make an objection but who don't actually have an argument.

As a separate issue, why do you refer particularly to “interesting and
varied”?  I agree that human relationships are varied and that they
can (sometimes) be interesting so I am not contending the term.  Nonetheless
I am curious to know why you should choose to highlight those particular attributes
of a relationship rather than, for example, the success or happiness of a relationship. 
Based on anecdotal evidence (rather than empirical studies) and plain reason,
I am inclined to think that certain kinds of relationships tend to survive contentedly
better than others.  All things may well be possible, but not all things
are constructive.

For instance, while I have inclinations that are submissive, I don't have
any desire to kneel to my husband, frankly I consider that a bit over the
top, I mean, there are limits.

Well this could be the basis for an interesting discussion, if you would care
to oblige us.  Why don't you have any desire to kneel to your husband? 
Does he not inspire reverence?  If not why not?  Would it be unhelpful
if he did inspire reverence?  You mentioned limits ... well, what are they? 
From whence do these “limits” originate and how did you decide
that they were “limits” rather than “personal quirks”. 
If a woman had a husband who did inspire the kind of reverence that did
make her feel inclined to joyfully kneel in his presence (sometimes) would he
or she have offended against those limits?  Would such a relationship be
only unusual or would you consider it to be actually faulty, deficient, or sub-optimum
in some way?

And the air in most cities is perfectly okay to breathe, it's a lot cleaner
in most places than it used to be. Our lungs can take the city air, and we
can take an infinite variety in sexual relations, wihtout any one mode being
more natural or inevitable than another.

Forgive my dimness but despite reading the above paragraph several times I
have still been quite unable to grasp the point that you are making.  You
appear to be raising an objection to what I wrote but I have been unable to
deduce what your objection is.  Might you clarify it for me?

If you are asserting that most contemporary relationships get along quite nicely
then the divorce and separation statistics, plus the quarrelling, bellowing,
screaming families who pass my window, all beg to disagree.  It might just
be my neighbourhood but couples quarrelling in the street is not at all uncommon. 
If contemporary relationships (in general) are perfectly okay then why is relationship
contentment in such short supply?

If you are asserting that relationships (in general) in our present age are
better than relationships (in general) in ages past then I contend that the
evidence to support that assertion is sorely lacking.  At face value relationships
today (in general) would seem to be worse than they were (in general) in some
other ages although there doesn't seem to have been any period in history where
the majority of relationships were (in general) excellent.  As far I can
tell there have always been, in every era in every community, a few wonderful
relationships, many relationships aspiring to be wonderful, a significant minority
of terrible relationships and a great many mediocre ones.

If you are asserting that contemporary relationships are adequate then I ask
adequate for what?  How do you measure or assess adequacy and against what
standard?  In any case why should we stop at mere adequacy rather than
aspiring to something rather more wonderful?  If a merely adequate relationship
was all we aspired to why would we bother participating on this forum? 
I fully expect to fall short of my dreams, but the emphasis should be on fall
—having first ascended to the greatest height that I can attain. 
When the moon and stars are bidding me jump higher I certainly don't intend
to be found glumly staring at my toes and participating in the collective grumble
of those I see around me whose “liberated” minds have bound them to
mortal mediocrity.

That there is variety in sexual relations we can agree upon but then I don't
think I have ever claimed otherwise so I am not sure why you should mention

Your suggestion that all types of relationship are equally inevitable and natural
is a suggestion that doesn't stand up to any kind of rational scrutiny whatsoever. 
In the first place replacement human beings are not usually delivered at random
by storks (although that might be convenient because then they might come with
a return address) but have to be conceived and nurtured and the success of those
activities is greatly enhanced by certain kinds of relationship and greatly
diminished by others.  Furthermore certain philosophies and ideologies
lead more naturally than others to robust and stable societies—a fact
that can be easily established by the most casual of glances around the world
or, on a smaller scale, by looking carefully around, say, any city neighbourhood. 
The promotion of certain values inclines an individual, a family, a community
or a nation towards robustness, peace and stability just as surely as the promotion
of other values inclines people towards fractiousness and misery.  The
notion that all types of relationship are equally valuable and equally constructive
is one of those contemporary myths that can only survive in a society that largely
disagrees but which is robust enough and tolerant enough to accommodate people
who, for whatever reason, choose to act contrary to what wise people have always
agreed upon.  Has it ever occurred to you that there might be some very
good practical reasons why virtually every society that has ever existed has
tended to prefer the formation of male-led heterosexual and exclusive relationships
over other kinds of relationships?  It has in recent decades been fashionable
to speak disdainfully of such relationships as the by-products of ignorance
but could it be that generation after generation has discovered in its wisdom
that such relationships maximise the possibility of individual and societal
happiness?  Could it be that wise people—ignoring all philosophical
or ideological arguments and focussing only on mere practicality—have
repeatedly discovered that such relationships are what “work”,
and that such relationships fit most harmoniously with the universe as it actually
is rather than as a few “liberated” minds think the universe ought
to be?

On this forum you yourself have eloquently described how your very own marriage
has improved since you and your husband turned to what this forum terms a “taken
in hand” style of relationship (“It
is working as advertised!
”).  Now you might not know what the
Bible says and you might not want to believe that it has divine authority, and
you might not care what it says and that, as far as I am concerned, is quite
fair enough; being submissive to your husband and being a Christian are two
very different and independently adoptable matters.  Nonetheless when you
began to conduct your marriage in a style closer to what the Bible recommends
for happy and contented living you apparently began to have a more happy and
contented life.  Curiously, the formula that was prescribed for wives thousands
of years ago seems to have some vitality in your contemporary life.

Just as the Bible advises women to submit to their husbands, so it also advises
men to submit to God.  This is a forum where people discuss how they might
have more harmonious relationships and the man who can appropriately express
the character qualities of God (as briefly listed in the original article) is
exactly the kind of man that a woman delights to submit to; that formula is
also still valid and no amount of atheistic wishful thinking will render it
otherwise.  None of us will ever achieve consistently perfect relationships,
but we can at least direct our efforts towards the things that are already known
to generally work.

Best wishes,


whether it is a universal desire for women to be submissive to men I don't know. Certainly throughout most of hisotry, in most of the world, men have been the dominant sex, but the reasons for that are not difficult to find. Men are bigger, stronger, faster, and they don't get pregnant. It has always been easy therefore for them to dominate women. Most women were probably content with that because most people usually are content with the status quo, it is only ever a minority who question why things are the way they are, and sometimes if a minority gets vocal enough, other people start listening. If things had beeen perfect under Patriarchy, there would never have been a feminist movement at all.

Once again we get the old argument about the rise of wicked feminism having led to to high divorce rate, the breakdown of the family etc. I was reading something yesterday about Morocco, which is a highly patriarchal society, and do you know what the divorce rate is in wonderful, male-dominated Morocco? 50%! Yes, just the same as the evil, wicked old feminist-dominated UK! Interesting, isn't it, and somewhat gives support to my own conviction that a high divorce rate is what you get in countries where divorce is easily obtainable, regardless of whether they are patriarchal, matriarchal, or whatever.

As for me not wanting to kneel to my husband, well no, of course I don't. I feel respect for him certainly, but reverence? No, I'm sorry, no reverence. If there are women who genuinely revere their husbands (and can keep a straight face while saying it) then good luck to them, but I'm not one of them.

And yes, Taken In Hand has worked for me, because I have always hankered after this kind of relationship, but I don't imagine that all, or even most women want what I want, I mean why should they? there are lots of things I want that the other women I know don't want at all, why should Taken In Hand be any different? I don't assume that because I want a Taken In Hand relationship, that means all other women are identical to me. When I discovered Yahoo, for instance, I was delighted to find a group that discusses Tudor history, but I don't assume that because I have found a lot of other history enthusiasts on the site that means that EVERONE is as fascinated by the Tudors as the people on that site are. Likewise I don't assume that because there are other women who want to be in male-led relationships that means that all women want to be.

My point about the air in cities being clean enough to breathe was made because you said that women's lungs weren't designed to breathe the air of cities, whereas I think city air is fine, in the same way I think women (and men) can be happy with a variety of different relationships apart from he rigid patriarchal model. Just as there are women who crave a dominant man, I feel that there are probably plenty of women who are happier in an equal relationship, or one where the woman is dominant, and I think probably men are the same.

And of course the Bible recommends that women should submit to their husbands, (though I don't think Jesus ever says anything of the kind, he doesn't appear to have been much interested in family life), the Bible, like all religious texts, was written by men with an interest in preserving the status quo.

History is Written by the Winners

As you stated, Louise. Quite correct. Whether or not women wanted it that way is an entirely different question. And the fact that women were subjugated is no proof that they naturally wanted to be submissive to men.

Also true that where divorce is easy there will be lots of divorce. It's not easy to sustain a loving relationship, and bailing out is what a lot of people do. In those countries where a divorce is harder or impossible to get there are just more unhappy people wishing they could divorce.

I think humans in general will wish to revere someone they think of as high above them, such as a spiritual teacher of some sort, or someone imbued with divine authority (as royalty used to be perceived). You can't force that feeling. If a woman feels that way about her husband she might feel moved to kneel before him, but it is not her "rightful place" to do so, nor is it his right to expect it of her.

Just as an aside and trying to not get too directly into the religious issue, religious Jews are FORBIDDEN to kneel before another human being. There are a number of stories, including those of Jewish martyrs, who were put to death precisely because they refused to kneel before a king or a manmade idol. Personally I'm not observant but the feeling of ever wanting to kneel before a person (and I did want to once, but not because he was dominant over me, and this was not my husband but a man who had become a spiritual guide for me)would always be at odds with the distaste for such a display that has been a part of my upbringing.


Wake Up... This is scary!

Submit to men, you must be sniffing glue! I am a Christian woman and this is not biblical. You are TOTALLY misunderstanding the scriptures. Please women, study the scriptures with a fine tooth comb and you will clearly see that this is being taken out of context.

Shades of Gray