daily Broadcast

Is There a Man in the House?, Part 1

From the series Marriage that Works

What does it take to be a “real man?”  Chip explores this question and reveals a refreshing perspective that you’ll want to hear.

Chip Ingram App

Helping you grow closer to God

Download the Chip Ingram App

Get The App

Today’s Offer

Marriage that Works free mp3 download.


Message Transcript

You would be shocked at how many marriages and how many homes where the men are missing in action.

And, by the way, don’t feel like, if you’re a guy here, “Oh why did I come today? This guy’s going to slam me.”

I am not. I’m compassionate. What I want to tell you is, there is a profile, a picture in Scripture of what it means to be a man that delivers for a woman, and delivers for kids, and is the kind of guy you girls want to date.

But most of us men, we didn’t grow up and we’ve never seen it, and so we’re going to talk about it. And the impact’s devastating.

Let me do a little research before we get started and give you what I call The Evolution of the American Male.

1950s, GIs come back from the war, it’s early fifties, suburban is flourishing. The word “divorce” is unheard of. It happens, maybe, with movie stars. Ninety-nine percent of all the young girls and young boys in the world have a mom and a dad, they live together, they build a little house and they’re going to do the American dream.

Bam! It’s the sixties. Make love not war. Existentialism comes into the reality of how people actually live. Relative truth gets planted and so, all of a sudden, sex and love and marriage are separated.

So, you can have sex or hook up with someone but there’s no commitment to love them. There’s no commitment to marry. And the stability of the family begins to disintegrate.

Hit the seventies and feminism in its height is birthed. Now, obviously, the need for people to get equal pay for equal work was very important. But, now, the feminism of the seventies was radical.

It was men and women are essentially the same. There are no real differences. And then we went on a track.

And then the eighties, people got tired of the sexual issues and it was the “me” decade. It was Wall Street. It was affluence. It was money. It was work. It was “make it.” And the more the better, the more the better, the more the better. And workaholism took off in greater measure like never before.

By the nineties, it was confusion. We had Columbine. The sex roles were blurred, the sex roles were changed. What’s a man do? What’s a woman do? The rise of homosexuality, openly gay things became more and more prominent in the culture.

By the 2000s, the world was just going in all kind of different directions. So, eighty percent of the kids that grow up will not have a father at some point in their childhood between birth and eighteen years old.

Families are disintegrating with the financial fallout and the emotional fallout.

And so, you’ve got this development of the evolution of the American male and there are two major consequences. One is the father-absent family and then the other is the impact of changing roles.

In terms of the father-absent family: a report by the US government consisting of authorities on child development did an evaluation of adolescents in America. It was called Code Blue. In their summary of their report, “Never before has one generation of American teenagers been less healthy, less cared for, or less prepared for life.”

And then they note in the byline, “This occurred, mind you, in one of the most affluent and privileged nations in the history of the world.”

It goes on to say in another study that boys suffer most from the absence and non-involvement of a father. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, boys without a father are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to go to jail, four times more likely to need treatment for emotional and behavioral problems than boys with a father.

Harvard University Psychologist, Dr. William Pollack, who’s the author of Real Boys says, “Divorce is difficult for all children. But divorce is devastating for males.” He says, “The basic problem is the lack of discipline and supervision in a father’s absence and his unavailability to teach his son what it means to be a man.”

So, father-absent homes or disengaged, passive fathers beget father-absent homes and more disengaged fathers in the future.

Finally, sociologist Peter Karl believes that boys in our day, think of this. He says, “Eighty percent of the time of boys are spent with women, growing up. So, they don’t know how to act as men when they grow up. When that happens, the relationship between the sexes is directly affected and men become helpless and more like big kids.”

Anybody seen that lately? Where a real man puts a baseball hat on backwards and wears the jersey of a twenty-something year old making twenty million dollars and plays fantasy football and his livelihood and manlihood and significance is in playing and pretending. Because issues like providing, he’s never seen. Leadership, he’s never seen. Courage, he’s never seen. Spiritual leadership, he’s never seen.

And you really don’t have a clue of what it means to be a man. The result is that the roles change and they blur.

Psychologist Pierre Mornell is a psychologist and author in San Francisco. It’s an older book but as this was developing, he had all these people in the powerful financial districts. Their wives were driving over the big bridge and getting counseling.

And he said the stories kept being all the same, all the same, all the same. “My husband is a big, powerful person in the financial district. He drives downtown San Francisco. He’s in the city. He’s making multi-million, and sometimes billion, dollar deals. He is forceful, he’s strategic, he’s powerful, he’s well-educated. When he walks in the room, people snap to.

“And I’ve been and I’ve seen him at work and then he comes home. And he’s like a couch potato. His number one thing is the remote. He puts the Wall Street Journal, or the sports page, in front of his face. He doesn’t lead our family, he doesn’t lead our kids, he’s not active. He’s passive.”

And so, he wrote a book called Passive Men and his thesis is it creates wild women. And I will suggest the result is very, very confused kids.

I grew up, I didn’t know what it meant to be a man. I just did what my dad did. I figured out how to get good in sports. I figured out how to play and pretend. And then I became a Christian. And I had to completely relearn, and I literally, start from scratch about what it means to be a man.

And so, that’s what we’re going to do in our time. We’re going to talk about what it means to be a real man. And so, as we do that, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to know that there are two things we want to avoid. I call them the two “PCs.” One, the politically correct, it doesn’t matter, whatever, any family style, any alternative. Can we just agree that, in light of the research, and in light of families, and divorce, and kids, and even the financial damage, that the current politically correct, “this is what a man is,” does not work?

And then, second, before we go on, that pseudo-Christian, I call it “PC” where, in the name of God, those caricatures you have of Christian men who are narrow, bigoted, stupid, they take the Bible and say, “I’m the head of this house and the Bible says so, so everyone’s supposed to do what I’m…” That is not what the Bible teaches.

If anybody has to thump your chest and tell people you’re in charge, believe me, you are not.

We’re going to look at a picture, as you turn the page, of what a real man is. And what a real man is, we’re going to learn, is defined by God in a way that does something very powerful in his wife, he does something very powerful if you’re dating him. It’s something very, very powerful and refreshing if he’s one of your friends.

And if he’s your dad, it’s you grow up one day and when he’s a real man, you say in your heart, even without words, “Someday, I want to be like him. Someday, I want to be like him.”

So, where does it begin? Redefining manhood in marriages and our homes, it always begins with mutual, write the word, “submission.” It always begins with mutual submission.

There is this umbrella that covers the entire passage about relationships. And this umbrella is “submit to one another out of the fear of Christ.”

And he’s going to talk about the marriage relationship, then the child-parent relationship, and the slave-master relationship. And all through the rest of the entire book of Ephesians from chapter 5:21 to the end of the book, there’s this umbrella that governs.

Of course you’re living out various roles and responsibilities but it’s with this sense that first and foremost, you’re going to walk with God and your goal and desire would be to love or put the other person in the relationship ahead of yourself.

So, that really eliminates an awful lot of the argument about role and who’s the leader, who takes the first step, and who’s the most powerful, and all those things become secondary.

I call it the metaphor of the dance. What does mutual submission look like? I jotted this down. The word “submit” here is very interesting in the ancient military – it’s an ancient military term.

It’s a compound word of “hupo” to mean under and “tasso” that means to be in order, or rank file. Rather than promoting self-assertion, it urges the readers to be subject or submit to one another.

One commentator calls this a mutual desire to get less than one’s due. Now, think about that. You’re in a relationship with your husband, or your wife, and it’s a mutual desire instead of asserting my rights, my way, it’s a mutual desire to get less than your due.

It’s a sweet reasonableness. And an attitude that the Spirit of God is in control, to consider this person that you’re married to more important than yourself.

Mutual submission is the dance floor itself. In the space within we have the freedom to move. It requires that the man and the woman, each in lordship relationship to Christ, come to see the dance, asking each other, “How can I make you successful? How can I serve you? How can I can express my love and our roles together?”

Male chauvinism and female manipulation find no place here. They’ve evaporated even before the first steps begin. This is the dance that God has designed for two people who say, “Our first commitment is, first and foremost, to You. God, you are the choreographer. You tell me what step I need to take when in this dance of marriage so that I can serve my partner, honor You, and as a byproduct, be deeply fulfilled.”

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever watched either the old black and white movies where, Fred Astaire, remember when people used to dance, when they would dance together?

Or, if you’ve watched Dancing with the Stars or, I like the ice skating, when they have the male and female and they put it to music. And the guy does this and he catches her and then she goes like this and she’s doing all this, right? Right?

Now, you think about that. If he’s not at the right place at the right time, she’s really going to get hurt. And you talk about trust. , she’s drrrrrrrrr. And then he’s doing this. Right?

Now, you understand, they work for thousands of hours to create what you watch, what seems like a seamless piece of beauty and art, and to the music.

And each step is, someone wrote it. It’s been choreographed. He knows that at this place on the ice, he needs to slide here. He needs to prepare. He needs to catch. He needs to lift. She needs to let go. Every single step by each person has been written out in advance.

And when you see it, if you didn’t see the very first note, when you see it, you couldn’t tell me who took the first step or who took the second. All you would see is, to the music, the beauty and the rhythm of the dance. That’s how God designed marriage.

He’s the choreographer. The issue has very little to do with who takes which step. It’s: who is responsible to make it work?

And so, God gives some instruction to men: this is how you do the dance to make it beautiful for you and for her. Next week, ladies, here’s how you do the dance to make it work.

And so, what you learn is that mutual submission is a picture of a fellow loving of one another, not some sort of battleground for who does what in marriage.

The great dance for marriage requires clarity of roles. It’s really much more about who’s responsible than the big debate about who leads, and who does this, and who does that. The person who leads is the person who’s responsible.

What I’m about to tell your husband or your boyfriend or, for some of you, your son is absolutely impossible for them to do. This will be, this is a real man. Here is the bar. This is what God expects, this is what you’re to do. When you do this, women feel cherished, loved, completed.

When you do this, families go in the right direction, in the right way, for the right reason. When you do this, little kids grow up and think you’re the greatest thing in the world. They have a great self-image. They have clear moral values.

But what I’m about to share with, especially those that are married, with your husband is, they could go like this and just be so covered with guilt like I was. It was like, “Are you kidding? I never saw all this. How could I ever do this?”

And so, what I want you to know is, one, there’s hope. And, ladies, this would be very helpful. If you’ll keep your elbows in. Because this, as your husband listens to God for the next few minutes, this will not help. Or, some of you are a little more …

“Oh, God, God, God, please, please, please, I’m so glad he came today. He so needed to hear this. Get him, Holy Spirit.” Please don’t go there.

Or, for others, “Oh, Lord, I’m so glad he’s been come upon this day to hear the Word of God that he might be married to one as righteous as I.”

How about you just pray, “Oh, God, I can’t imagine trying to live up to this and I know it’s hard and I know it’s impossible. Will You show me anything I can do to help my man, whether it’s my boyfriend, my son, or my husband to be what You’ve called him to be?”

Because until men step up and be who God wants them to be, families and marriages will never be what God wants them for His glory or for you.

And so, he says, starting out with the dance, He goes, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands and to the Lord.” Here’s the reason. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is the head of the Church.”

So, there’s a role. There’s a responsibility here. “He Himself, Jesus, being the Savior of the body. But as the Church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”

Here’s where it gets hard. “Husbands, love your wives.” Well, how? “Just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.”

Well, why did He do that? “That He might sanctify her. Having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the Word. That He might present to Himself a Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and be blameless.”

Application: so there’s some connection between a husband loving a wife the same way Jesus loves His Church, so husbands ought to love their own wives – how? As their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. Because the two, remember, became one.

“For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ does the Church. Because we’re His members.”

Now, guys, if you have a pen, pull it out. I want you to circle and underline a few words. First of all, I want you, as quickly as you can, to scan that and every time the word “love” is there, circle it, circle it, circle it, circle it, circle it. You’re going to get something real quickly, right?

“Husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the Church. No man loved his own body, right?”

This word is not phileo love. Be a good friend. Be loyal. This is not eros love. This isn’t sexual love. This isn’t even storge love, which is have a good family connection. This is agape love.

Agape love is not an emotional love. It may or may not have emotion. Agape love is unconditionally giving another person what they need the most, when they deserve it the least, at great personal cost. That’s how Jesus loved you, that’s how Jesus loved me.