Are men wrong for finding educated, opinionated and boisterous women unattractive? And conversely, is it wrong for men to desire women that are “quiet” and “delicate”? The answer according to Paul Maxwell is a resounding “yes” to both of these questions. And he condemns men for having these preferences toward women and admonishes such men to “grow” as in “grow up” and get with the times. He says men need to stop being “insecure” in finding such women who are “outperforming men” in areas of education and their careers as “intimidating”. Instead he argues that men need to rethink and change what they find valuable in women so that they will find “female strength captivatingly attractive”.
And Paul Maxwell is not some secular feminist. In fact, he is a Christian blogger who often speaks against feminism in churches. He attempts to base his argument that men should in fact be attracted to loud and boisterous women on the Bible. The question is, did he succeed in trying to build his argument on the Scriptures?
Below is the introduction to an article written by Paul Maxwell for DesiringGod.org entitled “Real Men Love Strong Women”:
“I’ve heard it too many times: “A man likes a quiet woman.” “Guys don’t respond well to smart girls.” “Educated women are too intimidating to attract good men.”
I understand why we believe these things. It’s a nice story. It makes sense of the success of some women to find husbands, and the failure of others. As Christians (and as humans), we feel very clever when we get to diagnose the cause and cure of singleness. “You’re too opinionated.” “You’re too boisterous.” “A woman should be small, quiet, and delicate.
Yet, it’s easy to forget in the midst of all our diagnosing: whether a woman is “intimidating” is a factor of male perception, not female personality. Do we want women to be less intimidating? That’s a question to be put to men who experience them as such, and we can only wait for such men to grow. The real question we need to ask is: Do we want women to be weak? And the answer must forever be, on the basis of Scripture, “May it never be.””
Maxwell tells us that when men seek women that are quiet, delicate and less educated that they are in fact seeking women that are weaker and “on the basis of Scripture” he tells us men should never be looking for these “weak” women as he calls them.
But What Does God say about Quiet Women?
Right from the outset, Maxwell shows his disdain for men who “like a quiet woman”. But listen to what the Scriptures below say about quiet women.
“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
I Peter 3:1-6 (KJV)
Mr. Maxwell thinks men are wrong for placing high value on a woman having a quiet spirit. But God says that women who have a “meek and quiet spirit” are of “great price” which would mean “great value” in his sight. So right out of the gate we can see that Mr. Maxwell has built his entire premise in direct contradiction to the explicit teachings of the Word of God.
Then to support the false opening premise of his article, Mr. Maxwell does what a lot of liberal Christians do and he engages in using examples of women doing various things in the Bible as the basis of his false belief when we have clear Scripture statements to the contrary as we have just shown above.
Strong Women Reject the Requests of Evil Men?
Maxwell tells us that “strong women expose evil men” and he give us the story of Jael in Judges 4:21 who drove a peg into the Canaanite General Sisera. He tells us the following of Jael:
“Thank God Jael wasn’t meek and submissive and respectful toward this friend of her wayward husband. She wasn’t one to be trampled on. Strong women reject the requests of evil men.”
Does God tell women to reject the requests of evil men or does he tell women to reject evil requests from any man? I would argue the answer is the latter. Acts 5:29 tells us that “We ought to obey God rather than men” and 1 Timothy 5:22 tells us we are not to “be partaker of other men’s sins”.
In fact, the Bible says the opposite of what Mr. Maxwell has just said. God actually tells women to obey the requests of evil men as long those requests are not sinful in nature.
A man who does not “obey the word” is by nature a sinful man, and could in fact be an evil man. God tells women to submit to men who “obey not the word”. A woman’s submission to her husband IS NOT conditioned on him being a good and obedient man to God.
Jael did not reject Sisera’s request because he was an evil man or because his request was evil but rather, she rejected his request and instead killed him because he was an enemy of her people and God wanted him to die. The story of Jael is not a model for the normal relationship that God meant there to be between men and women, especially that of husbands and wives.
Strong Women Rebuke Good Men?
Maxwell next tells us that “Strong women rebuke good men” and he gives us the example of Abigail in I Samuel 25:39.
“David was attracted to this strong woman for her strength, for her rebuke, and for her character. Abigail made life harder for David…
Strong women rebuke good men, who need help in their weaknesses, who need someone to help them see how to be strong.”
NOTHING in this passage says Abigail rebuked David. But rather she humbled herself before him constantly calling him “my lord” and then David said this of what she said to him:
“32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.”
1 Samuel 25:32-33 (KJV)
Abigail did not come to David to rebuke him, but rather to humbly plead with him and to give him advice.
Strong Women Raise Believing Men
Maxwell in this section reveals how his upbringing shaped his view of the role of women. His father was not in the picture at an early age and his mother had to raise him doing the job of two parents. Below are a few statements he makes based on the reality that sometimes women are abandoned by their husbands and must raise children on their own:
“In an ideal world, men and women would partner together in their strength. But we live in a world where we need strong women to make men strong, because sometimes there simply are no men there to do it…
in an age when fathers often fail to bestow the gift of faith to their children, the future often hangs on the strength of women to do that gospel work.”
Notice Maxwell’s condescension toward men saying they “often fail in bestowing the gift of faith to their children”. What about women who fail to be the example of a wife and mother God intended them to be? What about fathers who have to take of children whose mother’s abandon them or do not lead a life of faith before their children?
This is an example of how sometimes we cannot see past our own upbringing. This is similar to how children who were abused growing up can tend to see most parents as potential abusers or how women who were raped or molested can tend to see all men as potential rapists and molesters. In this same way Maxwell presents a very dark and dismal view of how men will “often fail” women and children in this world and so we should raise women to prepare for this.
According to Maxwell, in raising women to be ready for the failures of men we must raise them to expose evil men, not submit to any request by evil men (even it if not a sinful request) and also to rebuke good men. In his view, we should raise our daughters to be loud and opinionated, rather than quiet and delicate and we should raise them to take men head on in their failings and weaknesses.
But is this really the attitude we want to put in our daughters toward men as they seek marriage?
Men Should Find Women Who Outperform Them to be Attractive?
In the conclusion of his article Maxwell makes the following statement:
“We live in a time when women are outperforming men in many areas of professional and personal competency. And men have two choices: to find female strength captivatingly attractive, or to be insecure and intimidated. Real men love strong women, because God’s glory is beautiful, and “woman is the glory of man” (1 Corinthians 11:7).
Jesus, give men the grace to see the beauty of glorious female strength.”
By what standard is Maxwell saying women “are outperforming men in many areas of professional and personal competency”?
If Maxwell is referring to the fact that more women are in high school honor rolls than men, 70 percent of valedictorians are women and women now represent more than half of college and university students then he is right that women are “outperforming men”.
But does a high GPA in high school and a college degree equal “competency”?
Absolutely not. On the contrary, below are several facts that show men can be and often are more successful in their careers than women despite having lower GPA’s in high school and less representation among college graduates.
- Valedictorians rarely become rich and famous — and the average millionaire’s college GPA was 2.9.
- More than half of independent business owners do not have a college degree.
- “New firms are overwhelmingly started by men. While women start 30% of businesses, men account for the remaining 70%. This is more than a 2 to 1 ratio.”
- In high paid skill trade jobs like welders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and HVAC techs women make up less than 5 percent of the workers in these industries . And a shortage of skill trade workers due to pushing young people into colleges is driving skill trade wages even higher
And here is something far more important than the facts I have just laid out.
It is absolutely true that God judges a large part of a man’s competency by his ability to make an income that can provide for his wife and children. The reason for this is because man is meant to image God in being a provider to his wife and his family.
The Scriptures tell us God calls on men to provide for the needs of their wives as Christ does his Church:
“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)
A lazy man who has no ambition or desire to work to the best of his ability to provide for his wife and family is not imaging God and is therefore not fulfilling one of the purposes for which God created him. Such a man truly is incompetent in the eyes of God.
However, from God’s perspective, a woman’s competency is not judged by her high school GPA, having a college degree or having a successful career outside her home. Instead, the Bible tells us God judges a woman’s competency by her service to her husband, her children and the affairs of her home.
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
1 Timothy 5:14 (KJV)
“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)
But having showed that Maxwell’s understanding of what makes men and women competent does not match God’s view of what makes each gender competent we will now address the “strength” question. Is there a strength that Christian men should find attractive in women?
The answer is yes.
“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”
Proverbs 31:25 (KJV)
But what of strength are we talking about here? The strength that is mentioned is found toward the end of Proverbs 31:
“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”
Proverbs 31:30 (KJV)
The strength that men should find attractive in women is the strength of their faith which means they fear God and it shows in how they live their lives. As men we should want to find a woman who loves God more than she loves us. Because if she loves God more than she loves us, then she will always love us because God commands her to love us.
“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children”
Titus 2:4 (KJV)
But if a woman truly fears God, then she will also fear her husband as Ephesians 5:31 and I Peter 3:2 exhorts her to do.
“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear [Greek Phobos].”
I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence [Greek Phobeo which has Phobos as its root] her husband.”
Ephesians 5:31 (KJV)
So, while there is certainly this special type of strength, a strength of character and a strength of faith which we as Christian men should admire and be attracted to in women the Bible also tells us there is a type of weakness in women that we as men are to honor and thus be attracted to as well.
“7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
I Peter 3:7 (KJV)
We are to honor the fact that God has put our wives in a weaker vessel, thus man’s vessel is stronger. So, the question is why did God put women in weaker vessels?
The answer is found in two New Testament passages. The first is seen below:
“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
I Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV)
Do we see anything in the above passage about “the beauty of glorious female strength” as Maxwell earlier alluded to? The answer is absolutely NOT. It tells us that man is “the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man”. Nothing about her glory being her strength. So how does a woman bring a man glory? She brings both God and man glory by playing the role God designed her to play in his creation which is seen in the next New Testament passage:
“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Ephesians 5:22-29 (KJV)
Men should and do find women that embrace their weakness in comparison to men to be attractive. Women who realize that God meant for men to lead, provide for and protect them are actually intoxicating to a lot of men.
When a woman is ashamed of or denies being weaker than a man and denies her need for man’s leadership, provision and protection this makes her unattractive to the vast majority of men.
Why Highly Intelligent and Educated Women are Not Attractive to Men
There is nothing wrong with a wise or prudent woman. In fact, God says these things are good qualities in a wife in the following passages:
“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)
Nothing wrong with a prudent woman (one who exercising good judgement):
“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Proverbs 19:14 (KJV)
But a woman does not need to have a bachelor’s degree in economics or theology or medicine to be a wise woman or prudent woman. A woman with a high school or even a junior high education could turn out to be a very wise and prudent woman from a Biblical perspective.
The reasons why most men are not attracted to highly intelligent and educated women are twofold.
The first is that the Bible tells us that men are to teach and mold their wives:
“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)
“1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
Jeremiah 18:1-6 (KJV)
Most men want a wife that is teachable and moldable. A woman that will look up to them for both spiritual and worldly knowledge. They want a woman to reverence them as the Scriptures call on women to do and they want their woman to respect them. And a woman who thinks she knows more than her husband will have a much harder time respecting him, this is a simple fact of life.
And this desire in men is both God given. It is not a matter of sinful pride or of a man feeling intimidated by a woman. It is a matter of him knowing what he wants in a woman and what his mission is in life.
The second reason highly intelligent and highly educated women are unattractive to most men is because intelligent and educated women, especially in our modern feminist culture, tend to be contentious with their husbands and they often shame their husbands.
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)
“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”
Proverbs 19:13 (KJV)
“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”
Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)
The Scriptures tell us there are some types of weakness that we should glory in and honor as seen in the passage below.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)
All of us as men and women of God should glory in the fact that God has designed us to need him for his leadership, provision and protection. And women should see their God designed weakness in comparison to men and their need for men to lead them, provide for them and protect them as something to honor about themselves. They should see the glorious part they have to play in being weaker in that they help to paint a beautiful picture of the relationship of Christ to his Church.
So, when women want to compete with men in the areas of physical strength, intelligence, leadership, provision or protection most men rightly find this type of behavior highly unattractive in women. When a woman seeks to outperform her man in these areas or compete with him, she breaks the model of Christ of and the Church.
This is why if a woman truly wants do what God designed her to do and model the church in its relation to Christ then she should seek out a man that is more intelligent, wiser and educated than her and one who can teach her the Word of God. One that can provide for her and protect her.
Real men are not attracted to women who will be contentious with them, shame them or rebuke them.
Real men are not attracted to women who think they must show they have no need of a man and can do it all on their own.
Real men do not seek out women that will compete with them in their ability to lead, provide for or protect their family.
Real men love women that have submissive, teachable, meek and quiet spirits.
Real men honor women who acknowledge their weakness in comparison to men and their need of a man’s strength, his teaching, his leadership, his intelligence, his provision and his protection.