In 2021, the Institute for Family Studies conducted a survey to explore the supposed masculinity problem in our day.  It is very encouraging and uplifting in light of the mantra associated with “toxic masculinity.”   This survey gives me more incentive to call forth the true masculine within the soul of each man.  The survey’s report concludes by observing, “It’s a good thing so many men are comfortable and happy with being very masculine.  As a society, we would be wise to accept the positive power of masculinity and continue to channel its energy into productive outcomes.”

In the survey, 753 men were asked if they considered themselves very masculine on a 5-point scale.  “Fully 41% of men agree that they are very masculine… and another 30% consider themselves masculine… And when asked if they are happy with how masculine they are, 80% of men further reported being happy.”  The article asks, “If masculinity is a problem, then it would seem we are in big trouble given how many men gladly consider themselves masculine.” The survey went on to analyze three groups of men – very masculine, masculine, and all others.

Higher masculinity is associated with men being more aggressive, loving a good fight, and even taking advantage of others as well as taking charge.  The survey cautions against “following the lead of mainstream media and many large advertisers in shaming the masculinity out of manhood.”  “It’s clear that instead of shaming masculinity out of modern manhood, it might be better to support and strongly encourage men’s daily experiences of their masculinity – both feeling masculine and being happy about it – because masculinity lies at the heart of productive, contributive manhood.”  

What about healthy, nurturing relationships and masculine men?  The survey found that very masculine men are likely to marry and to report feeling loved in their marriages.  Unlike the image in our culture, “these very masculine men are more likely to see emotional closeness and friendship with their ideal partners.” The very masculine men make sacrifices for loved ones that bring joy and “agree that love is worth working hard to find, and to believe that others see them as giving, sharing, loving, and affectionate.” High masculine men are willing to take risks and exercise self-control, which translates into lower propensity for depression. 

The survey gives this summary: “The truth about masculinity is inescapable, according to these survey results. Far from being a problem, it brings with it exactly what individuals, couples, families and communities seek, perhaps especially in challenging times. As we’ve seen here, an internal sense of masculinity corresponds with men’s ability to be functional, stable, contributing members of their communities.”

What can we glean from this survey?   First, be committed to affirming the masculine soul of men.  Celebrate the positive energy that can be channeled for the good of others.   Second, by all means don’t shame men, but rather focus on the God-given motives in real masculine men.  Third, realize that intimate and caring relationships need to be nurtured.  Fourth, help men to explore their masculine soul, allowing them to make positive contributions in their relationships.  

Most of all, create an environment where men can share the story of their soul. God made men for a unique purpose and calling.  We live under layers of expectations, memories and images that are not healthy.  Help other men to share their story – the good, the bad and the ugly, in order to discover their true masculine soul.  

Romans 12:9-10 encourages us:  “Don’t just pretend to love others.  Really love them.  Hate what is wrong.  Hold rightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”