Apparently, if you want to be a real man, you’d better get to church. Studies consistently show that women are more likely to attend church services than men. But new research shows that men who attend church services are actually more manly (in the most positive sense of that word) than those who skip.
The study, reported in the book, Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Husbands and Fathers, by University of Virginia sociologist, Dr. Brad Wilcox, shows that men who attend church are more effective leaders, more attuned to the needs of others, more responsive to their wives and children, and conduct themselves in ways that make them better marriage partners and parents than those men who are church-phobic.
There are a couple of possible reasons for this. The first is that people-of-faith generally believe that masculinity and femininity are both tied up in service. In other words, most Christian faith communities teach that a man is never more masculine than when he is loving and serving another—most especially, his wife and children.
Christianity, with its emphasis on servant-leadership, helps men learn the difficult skill of being a leader without being a tyrant, increasing the likelihood that he will be able to command the admiration and respect of those with whom he is in relationship.
Secondly, and this is more my own observation that Dr. Wilcox’s, prayer is an exercise in intimacy. Men who have an honest, consistent, and meaningful prayer life are simply less afraid of intimacy and healthy vulnerability –on both the divine and human level–than men who don’t pray. They simply have more practice embracing it and making use of it. Of course, a strong capacity for intimacy and healthy vulnerability are essential ingredients for long-lasting, satisfying, relationships of every kind.
The results are in. It turns out, real men go to church.
Man’s hands on bible photo available from Shutterstock.