Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

Supporting Godly Masculinity

Leslie Basham: Have you ever watched a wife fight for control over her husband through criticism? Nancy Leigh DeMoss has.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I’m just watching that man kind of shrivel up, and he doesn’t have anything to offer. It’s shutting him down.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, March 8.

We live in a world that has gotten very far away from God’s ideal design for men and for women. That’s why Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian wrote a new workbook called True Woman 101: Divine Design. It will take you to the basics. It will show you how to discover God’s design for you as a woman and what it looks like to live according to that design.

In order to understand God’s design for women, it’s helpful to be aware of His design for men. Nancy and Mary write about godly masculinity in the second chapter of True Woman 101.

They’re discussing that chapter with some friends. We’ll hear from Kim Wagner, Carolyn McCulley, and Karen Loritts. 

Yesterday this panel defined true leadership. God designed men as leaders in the home and church not to be domineering and to get everyone to serve them. Nancy reminds us that God designed leaders to be the greatest servants of all.

Nancy: And that’s the context in which we need to think about another aspect that’s core to manhood, and that is authority, oversight, direction. And if we could think of it in that context, we take on a whole different hue than it often does in our culture when we think about male authority in the church or in the home. Talk about politically incorrect—I mean, that’s just like waving red in front of a bull. Yet in the biblical context, it’s really a gift that men can offer to the home and to the churches to provide that kind of leadership.

Mary Kassian: I think we often think of authority as power, and it’s just the wrong way to view it. When we view it as Christ did, it just puts a whole different spin on it for men and for women.

I was sitting with a number of guys in their 20s, we were doing a “Girls Gone Wise” video shoot. Each of them had their turn to sit and tell whatever they wanted to about manhood and womanhood—we asked them some various questions. But it really struck me when one of the young men said this: “You know, I don’t think women understand how God has wired us to have this sense of wanting to serve, to direct, and guide. [He said in a very positive way.] That’s just kind of wired into who we are, and it’s not like we view it like a right. It’s like a responsibility.”

Kim Wagner: It’s the keeping—the keeping of the garden. Because if you don’t have the authority to take the initiative and to lead, guide, and protect, then everything’s going to fall apart. It’s just going to descend into chaos. So keeping what God has given you is exercising authority under Him, and Christ always talks about how "I have no authority except that which the Father has given Me." So everything flows from God. If we’re going to rebel and do that, it means I’m rebelling under God.

Nancy: But there are some of these passages in Scripture where it talks about the husband being the head of the wife, about wives submitting to their husbands. I mean, here in the context of marriage, you have authority. We could take a lot of time to talk about what all that means, but I think, in our culture, that sounds like abuse. It sounds like pushing women around. It sounds like something that’s really, really wrong. How are we as Christian women to see this the way God intended it, as a positive thing?

Kim: I see my role in submitting to my husband as it being not the man so much as I’m submitting to as the God above him. That authority is what I am submitting to ultimately.

Mary: That helps you make the right decisions, doesn’t it?

Kim: Right. And when it really clicked for me was when I recognized that the way I treat my husband, the way I love my husband, the way I submit to his leadership and authority is tied to my purpose of glorifying God. When I’m not doing those things, I’m actually, like Titus 2:5 says, bringing reproach or reviling the Word of God when I’m not honoring that authority that God’s placed over me of my husband and ultimately honoring God’s authority.

Nancy: For a moment, though, as we talked about the men—which is the focus this week—when we talk about men having authority, exercising headship, what are we not talking about?

Mary: I was just going to go there because I think we need to avoid being simplistic.

Nancy: We’re not talking about men making all the decisions?

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: We’re not talking about men bossing women around? I mean, what are we or are we not saying?

Mary: That’s what we’re not talking about. We’re talking about co-dominion. We’re talking about unity. We’re talking that this is ultimately to contribute to this complementary and unity and interchange and oneness. So we’re not talking about women being passive or being doormats or guys stepping on women or guys being abusive towards women or guys being domineering or authoritarian. That is so not what we’re talking about.

Kim: Or even that we don’t have any input in the decision-making process or that we don’t use our creativity.

Nancy: I’m kind of thinking that none of you women who are married give input to your husbands. (laughter)

Mary: I think we do them a disservice if we do not share what’s on our hearts and everything that God has poured into me. If I am perceiving something, I need to tell my husband that. If I am sensing a check spiritually, I need to tell my husband that. If I’m afraid we’re heading in the wrong direction, I need to tell him that.

I need to give him all that input that God has put into me in a respectful manner that gives him as much information as he needs. So we consult, and we talk, and we wrestle with things together, but ultimately, I understand that he has that responsibility on his shoulders. When we get to stand before Christ, He’s going to take Brent to the wall for what happened in our family.

Kim: He’s not going to say, “Kim, did you fix your husband? Did you straighten him out?” But He will say, “Did you love him well? Did you fulfill your calling?”

Karen: Responsibility.

Kim: Yes, to honor him as the church is to honor and respect Christ.

Mary: And that ties back to the way that men and women can look at each other in dating relationships. I’ve often heard from guys who look at a woman and say, “Oh, she’s more gifted than I am here,” or “She seems to be stronger in the Lord,” etc., and they want to back away. And I’ll say, “No. If you’re smart, you’ll go after that woman, because she and all her gifts are being created—if God is calling you together—and you get that. That’s your booster rocket. That’s the person who’s got your back. Why wouldn’t you want somebody whose gifts complement you or help shape you? Why would you want anything less?”

Karen: I had a crazy idea what this whole marriage thing was about. I went to Bible college. I met Crawford, this manly man, with this great mom and dad relationship, and here I am from a single-parent home. Men were an endangered species in our home unless he was born in our home. And I get to Ephesians chapter 5, and you talk about submit, submit, submit. Well, submitting in my family was a no-no. I was raised to be self-sufficient by my aunts, my cousins, my mom.

And yet the Spirit of God moved in my heart because I looked at it, unless it was the power of the Holy Spirit, a supernatural power of the Holy Spirit taking over my life, there was no way I was going to enter into this and it would survive. It has survived for forty years, and it’s because it’s a moment-by-moment submission to the power of God and who He created me to be. Even though I was deficient in my upbringing. God just knows all things about me, and so when it came to submission, in the earlier years, I did have a little struggle. 

Kim: Just a little struggle?

Karen: But I decided that I was going to represent God in a godly way. And no matter if Crawford listened to me or whatever, and we had our conversations. I had to walk with God myself, and I just became a student of the Word. Then God brought some godly women into my life who modeled that for me. But it was a struggle, ladies.

Mary: That’s really key because I think apart from the power of God’s Holy Spirit and sitting under the instruction of His Word and seeking counsel from other godly women, we don’t know how we ought to live.

Karen: And then, Mary, really, having the courage to obey God’s Word. Having the courage and saying, “Karen, you don’t know everything.” And if God saved me, then he can save my marriage and all the dysfunction in my upbringing, He’s powerful enough to overcome that, and He has.

Kim: It’s taking all of the strengths that you have (each of you are so gifted), but in delivering that input, delivering that help in humility. I’m so thankful for the promise that when we approach things in humility, we will have that grace poured out on the situation. I think that’s just the key to strong women relating to men in a way that does not demean them or harm them in the relationship. But we’re able to bring our strengths there in humility, and God gives grace.

Nancy: Okay. We’ve been talking a lot about how God designed men—which is kind of odd that five women would be sitting here talking about. I kind of feel like a lot of the men who are not in front of the camera here should be the ones discussing these things and teaching us these things. But I want to focus for a moment here on what is God’s design, the way He designed men, what does that tell us about God’s heart toward us as women?

Carolyn McCulley: That’s a great question because what it shows us is that our distortions—when we talk about these things out of a fear-based mentality, our distortions of sinful domination and authoritarianism and self-centered leadership are not part of God’s design because He doesn’t lead and guide us that way. That’s not His model. So I love that question.

Mary: His heart for women is profound—just so profound. He’s given men the responsibility to serve and to protect and to be those heroes that stand around us and encourage. He’s put that responsibility on them. It just shows how He values and loves women. To care for us that much that He’s concerned that we’re protected—single, married, it doesn’t matter—that those men, for Carolyn who’s not married, that there will be men in her life that rise up to provide that for her.

Carolyn: And I’ve seen that.

Kim: I have, too.

Mary: And that God loves us so much.

Nancy: So when we undermine manhood, we really undermine God’s plan for ourselves.

Karen: We’re saying He doesn’t know what He’s doing; He’s made a mistake.

Nancy: And we’re hurting ourselves. We’re actually shooting ourselves in the foot . . . isn’t that true in the culture how much we’ve lost? Now, as women, we’ve said all these years, “I can do this myself.” “Go ahead. Do it yourself.” So to find a gentleman today is a little more uncommon than maybe when we were younger.

So what are some of the ways that, as women—and I know we’re going to broad brush here—but that we undermine manhood at church, the men we work with, the men in our homes? What are some of the subtle ways that we as Christian women can undermine who God has made the men to be?

Carolyn: Nancy, you said in a few minutes, I mean, we could be here for hours. But I have learned a lot from you specifically over the years in sitting down and talking with you. I've just learned what it means to humble myself—especially in the work context with men. I have learned so much from you. And it’s still a learning process for me.

Nancy: And for me. Just ask the men in our office. It’s a learning process for all of us.

Carolyn: But it’s so good to look back and to realize that there are patterns of expression or patterns of selfishness that could be contained under the spirit’s guidance that bless men. So in my life, it’s the lack of a filter.

I would be in a group context where there is a man who’s leading. He’s called the meeting, or he’s leading, or whatever. I would think of something different we could do, or an alternative, and there would be no filter. It’s just like—mind—pffft—out mouth.

I had to learn, especially from one of my former bosses (he and his wife remain very good friends, and I’m grateful to them). He had to teach me over and over again, “I’m not trying to be authoritarian here. I’m not trying to scold you, but this is what your lack of filter does in a group dynamic.”

It’s like a ping-pong game. He setting an agenda, and then—boom—I offer this ultimate agenda, and then everybody’s watching, “Okay, who’s going to win?” It’s realizing that they want input. They do. But there’s a time and a place.

Karen: And how you say it—your tone.

Mary: Then there’s the fear there; there’s such a fear. When they take initiative and step out, that’s a very vulnerable position because that’s at the core of their identify as a man. If you come in there and start criticizing them and telling them what’s wrong with what they’re doing and have a better way to do it, then you’re cutting their knees out from under them.

Karen: One of the things I had to really watch, because my mouth always got me into trouble . . . like you were saying, Carolyn, no filter. It was with our oldest son, and I learned really early that I needed to honor my son as a young man even though he was only eight or nine years old, to be respectful to him.

If he had a suggestion and it was, to me, like he hadn’t thought it all through . . . We women, we have the whole thing thought through, and they’re still on letter A, and we have gotten to letter Z. But I learned just to honor him and let him talk it through. If there was a disagreement as to his decision, I had to let him step up as the man (going through his little manhood training thing) and let him make that decision to do that. This was especially true when Crawford was traveling and stuff like that. So I really had to honor and respect and not talk over my boys because I’m the parent, to do all those things in front of the children. So it really started early with me, just watching how I spoke, the tone—not dismantling them on their thinking.

Mary: Just helping them—asking them questions.

Nancy: Questions, that’s key.

Mary: Yes, questions, and bringing all the inter-connectedness that we bring to the table, just enlightening their eyes to other parts that, when they’re thinking in a linear fashion, we can bring so much help.

Karen: I think, too, we as women have to watch our facial expressions because sometimes we don’t even have to say anything. Be careful of that.

Kim: I can demasculinize my husband in a breath. No one else can do that. No other woman can do that. No other man can do that. But if I give him a glance, I can just cut the heart out of him.

Karen: Yes. That strips a man.

Carolyn: Nancy was the one who helped me to understand that in a group brainstorming context. I come to those with a critical attitude—in the best possible way, in a sense of critiquing something. But out of a lack of humility, it comes across as critical because people will be throwing in ideas, and I’ll say, “No, I think we should . . .” and then that starts everything.

Nancy was the one who helped me understand that by asking a question, I could convey my same thought process but leave it open for people—men and women alike—to feel like there was more of an opportunity to discuss something. I didn’t just have to come in and then—bam—there’s my idea. But saying, “I think that’s a good idea, and I see where you are going, but what would you think if we did ‘X’?” It’s just more humbling.

Humility doesn’t mean squashing who you are. It means modeling yourself after Christ, and so the parts of me that are not Christ-like need to be submitted to Him and the desire to just have everything my way needs to be submitted to Him. And that’s a technique that’s helpful.

Nancy: Asking a question and then giving a chance for the answer. I know we’ve got some men on the crew here who would, if they weren’t trying to be really quiet, would probably say, “Amen” at this moment.

Two of the ways I’ve seen me, myself, undermine the men around me: One is with just verbal barrage—you know, too many words, and exhausting the men and not giving them a chance—like, “Stop.” A lot of times we are verbally quicker to the draw and not giving them a chance. Proverbs 25, I think it is, says, “Wisdom or counsel in the heart of man is like deep waters, and a wise person will draw it out.” So not to fill the space with my words, but to stand back and let them have input and ideas.

And then the second thing is, one of the leaders in the ministry I work with used to say to me (he’s now with the Lord), “Put your cards on the table, and take your hands off.” At one point, in like a really tense moment, he referred to me as having pitbull-like tendencies. It was not a compliment.

What I am prone to do is, I’ve got my way of thinking. I put my cards on the table, and then everybody has to agree, and I’m going to take this thing to the mat, tape this thing to the wall, and not stop, not let up until every person in the room agrees with me. That is so . . . it’s dehumanizing to people. It’s proud. It’s arrogant. I’ve just watched; I’ve seen other women do this—it’s easier to see it in others. I’ve seen other women do this to their husbands; they do it to other men in the room. I’m just watching that man kind of shrivel up, and he doesn’t have anything to offer. It’s shutting him down.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been offering a caution to anyone who has the same pitbull-like tendencies that tempt her. She’s been talking with Mary Kassian, Carolyn McCulley, Karen Loritts, and Kim Wagner.

The biblical design for men and for women seems like a foreign concept to generations that have been raised in a world of defiant women and confused men. So we’ve been going back to the basics.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian have co-authored a new workbook that takes you to the Bible to discover God’s unique purpose for women. The workbook is called True Woman 101: Divine Design.

Today we’ve been listening to a discussion about chapter 2, all about biblical masculinity. It’s helpful to understand God’s purpose for men as we seek to understand His purpose for women.

When you embrace God’s unique design for you, it will transform your life. So I hope every woman hearing my voice will get a copy of True Woman 101: Divine Design. Read each day’s chapter and fill out the questions to make this material personal.

This week you can get True Woman 101 at a twenty percent discount. To get your copy, call 1-800-569-5959, or visit

If you’re part of a small group in a home or church, I hope you’ll consider True Woman 101. You can get more details on group orders and the videos that accompany the book by visiting

All the ladies you heard from today have spoken at one of the True Woman Conferences, so today’s discussion gives you the type of speakers and topics you’ll hear when True Woman comes to Indianapolis this September.

The last time True Woman came to Indianapolis, women came from all over the country. Our team talked with Santoria who flew with a group of women from Los Angeles to the Midwest to be part of True Woman. Why would she make such a long trip?

Santoria: Well, you know, duh, have you heard her ministry? God has blessed us in Nancy by having a woman that has dealt with so intensely, I think, with herself that she’s able now to offer those things to us that we can learn from them and maybe not make the same mistakes.

So if I really desire to live a Christian life as a woman and to love Him with everything I can, to not utilize this woman as a tool would just be irresponsible. It’s like having almost a blueprint—“If you follow this, you will be a faithful woman of God.” And I don’t mean that in a way of rules, but in a way of really having a live example.

So I heard about the True Woman Conference. I actually had already heard about it because we were drinking her books—Seeking Him, Lies Women Believe, Lies Young Women Believe—so when I heard about the conference, I’m, like, “We have to be there. I’ve already been so blessed by just the books, how much more would I get if I’m actually physically there?" Then seeing all the topics that would be covered, I knew it would be something that would really challenge myself as well as the other leaders working with me and really help to better equip us as we lead the women at our ministry.

So we’ve been gearing up for it for like a year, planning, and knowing we had to save money and set money aside. Actually, one of the ladies spearheaded collecting all the money. She was like the True Woman Conference Nazi. She was on us about the dates and saying, “Here’s your money, and it’s due here,” and we're like, “Okay.”

Actually, I told her early on, “I’m so thankful you were on us.” It’s something when you’re busy like we are, it’s so easy to say, “Okay, I’ll do it tomorrow,” or “I’ll do it later,” but she was setting these timelines and making us stick to them.

And then we came, and I was able to invite my mom and my grandmother. So we have three generations here. Then a friend that I grew up with that came to the Lord around the same time that I did came.

So we were prepared, and we were very deliberate about coming on this trip.

Leslie: Santoria and the women at her church were willing to travel from Los Angeles to the Midwest for a True Woman Conference.

What’s stopping you from joining us when True Woman comes to Indianapolis this September? Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Bob Lepine will serve as emcees. Mary Kassian, Joni Eareckson Tada, Priscilla Shirer, Janet Parshall, and many other women will be speaking. The Gettys will be leading in worship.

Get all the details on True Woman ’12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening by visiting

Well, Karen Loritts says that learning to show appropriate respect to men can begin when boys are young. Find out what she learned about speaking respectfully to her sons. She and the rest of today’s panel will be back next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.


*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. You can play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead. Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

Read More