In my last article, I argued that in the West’s cultural decadence, we had undermined marriage, which, consequently, undermined the family and nation at large. I identified two leading causes behind this tragic decay: our society’s “sex positivity” and lack of commitment.

As we seek to salvage marriage from the dustbin of a more successful time, there are at least two more causes we must also consider.

Remember, we have the power to rebuild Western Civilization. But it takes more than just complaining about how bad some far-off politician is. How dysfunctional our government has become. It begins when we confront our own moral failures. When we take responsibility for our own spheres of influence. Rebuilding Western Civilization truly begins when we rebuild our marriages and families. 

Men Became Idle

“Idle” is one of many less than flattering words that can be used, accurately, to describe many of today’s men. “Good-for-nothing,” “irresponsible,” and “lazy” are also appropriate.

The problem with today’s man is his psychological selfishness. He sleeps all day, entertains himself all night, and leaves basic responsibilities undone. He plays video games instead of playing with his kids. Grabs a beer with his buddies but misses out on family dinner. Watches porn and robs his wife of the intimacy she deserves.

His wife is left to discipline their kids. Change lightbulbs. Change the oil. Maybe even bring home the paycheck. But hey, at least he leveled up on Grand Theft Auto!

Selfishness and idleness are inextricably linked. The more a man recedes into himself, the more useless he becomes. He refuses to contribute to his family or his job or his community or anything else. He becomes a drain on those around him–those he should be providing for. A drain on their resources.

He feels happy in some base, superficial way, and is too selfish to care that he has become a hopeless burden to his family.

To be clear, I don’t buy TV’s stereotypical portrayal of men as clueless idiots who are totally incompetent to perform even the most basic tasks. Still, too many men are, in fact, like this. Way too many men.

Paul the Apostle warned that men who fail to provide for their families have “denied the faith” and are “worse than infidels.” This damning admonition ought to weigh heavy on the minds of those useless boys who masquerade as men.

Also, if you, as a man, can’t possibly conceive how idleness might be detrimental to marriage, you’re almost certainly blinded by your own selfishness.

Men Denounced Spiritual Leadership

Closely related to the first issue is the failure of husbands and fathers to be the spiritual leaders of their homes.

Ephesians 5:22-26 makes it abundantly clear that God expects men to lead their families, spiritually and otherwise. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church, which means self-sacrificially. Even as Christ died for the church, husbands must also possess a similar willingness to lay down their lives for their wives.

This, of course, requires a kind of godly heroism notably lacking in the men previously described.

Can we really expect a man who is too selfish to lay down his video game controller to acknowledge his wife even exists to be selfless enough to lay down his life for her? No. Of course not.

What about the man who watches porn even though he knows it chips away at his wife’s self-worth? Will he suddenly, out of nowhere, possess the selflessness of a self-sacrificial hero? It seems unlikely.

Once again, selfishness inhibits men from achieving their full potential as husbands and fathers.

Men should be leading their families in prayer. Reading Bible stories to their kids. Exemplifying godly character and virtues. But just as the selfish man fails to meet his family’s physical needs, he also neglects their spiritual needs.

Where do we go from here?

I don’t say these things to beat down on men; they get enough of that from media. The difference between what the media says about men and what I say is that the media believes men are doomed to be this way: idle, irresponsible, selfish. I believe men are capable of so much more.

I don’t seek to condemn men to this lifestyle; I only seek to inspire them to something better.

That’s the good news–we all can be better. Sure, “sex positivity,” lack of commitment, and irresponsibility have made the perfect recipe for cultural disaster. But we don’t have to rely on our elected officials to fix the problem.

We have the answer in our homes. Each of us, by the grace of God, has the opportunity–and responsibility–to improve as individuals… by which we can improve our marriages. By which we can improve our families. By which we can–and will–rebuild the nation.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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