I had a great time in Austin at the conference hosted by King’s Cross, pastored by my good friend Garrett Craw.


Michael Foster and I have collaborated several times now, including speaking together at the Stronghold Conference (Huntsville, 2021) and an 1819 podcast but this was our best joint venture yet, as I thought our talks complemented each other very well. And I should add, they complemented one another even though we had virtually no discussion beforehand about our content. Many thanks to Garrett Craw and Jordan Vimont for putting the conference together.

I wanted to follow up on some things I said at the conference. My two talks are now available online:
1. Marriage Is Easy (Psalm 128)
2. Tying the Knot Tight (1 Cor. 6:15-7:9)
There was also a Q and A session and my sermon from Sunday.
First, I gave this as my punchline for the weekend: “Headship and respect are romantic necessities.” This can be stated in a variety of ways but the basic point is this: Masculinity and femininity are necessary to maintain marital eros. Sexual polarity drives attraction and creates the erotic bond that help hold a husband and wife together and make marriage a joy. Surely when Scripture commands a man to rejoice in the wife of his youth, it includes sexual pleasure, which means couples should aim to stoke the fires of erotic love throughout the course of their marriage.
Obviously, there is more to a strong marital bind that the sexual tie, but it is certainly essential. Some listeners may have noted that I was actually riffing off of C. S. Lewis. In his absolutely brilliant essay “Equality,” Lewis says,

This last point needs a little plain speaking. Men have so horribly abused their power over women in the past that to wives, of all people, equality is in danger of appearing as an ideal. But Mrs. Naomi Mitchison has laid her finger on the real point. Have as much equality as you please – the more the better – in our marriage laws, but at some level consent to inequality, nay, delight in inequality, is an erotic necessity. Mrs. Mitchison speaks of women so fostered on a defiant idea of equality that the mere sensation of the male embrace rouses an undercurrent of resentment. Marriages are thus shipwrecked. This is the tragi-comedy of the modem woman -- taught by Freud to consider the act of love the most important thing in life, and then inhibited by feminism from that internal surrender which alone can make it a complete emotional success. Merely for the sake of her own erotic pleasure, to go no further, some degree of obedience and humility seems to be (normally) necessary on the woman's part. 

The error here has been to assimilate all forms of affection to that special form we call friendship. It indeed does imply equality. But it is quite different from the various loves within the same household. Friends are not primarily absorbed in each other. It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up – painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction. Lovers look at each other -- that is, in opposite directions. To transfer bodily all that belongs to one relationship into the other is blundering. 

Lewis is right that the modern woman is deceived by Freud and the sexual revolution. She has been told the key to sexual fulfillment is to liberate herself from traditional mores and from nature. She should be sexually autonomous and adventurous. She should enter into causal hookups with men as equals. Seeking liberation from the constraints of traditional morality and sex roles will be the key to the woman's fulfillment since it will mean she can finally relate to men on equal footing. But the Apostle Paul was wiser than the feminists are. Paul was wiser than Freud. When Paul commands the woman to respect and obey her husband, he is not only giving the recipe for a successful, strife-free marriage, he is giving the formula for a supercharged sex life in marriage as well. Legal eqality is an important outer shell in the marriage relationship, but equality is the enemy of romance. As Lewis says, inequality is an erotic necessity. A woman cannot be wooed by a man she will not obey -- at least not for long.
Why is this? Legal equality in our marriage laws cannot erase male and female nature, and the reality is that women remain as hypergamous as ever; that is to say, they are erotically drawn to men they view as their superiors, so much that they want to surrender to them, sexually and otherwise. (See Aaron Renn for an explanation of hypergamy.) While marital bliss cannot be reduced to what happens in the bedroom, what happens in the bedroom is a very good indicator (over the long haul) of the overall health of the marriage (we can bracket out special situations, e.g., when there are health problems). A woman who gives her husband the cold shoulder in the bedroom has not ceased to be a sexual creature; she just no longer wants to have sex with him. The way for him to attract her to himself once again is to become an admirable and desirable man in her eyes. In most marriages, submission and sexual chemistry will go together (and, no “submission” in this context has nothing to do with BDSM garbage, but with Paul’s teaching in Ephesians, based on the Christ/church relationship).
Lewis makes the same point in narrative form in his book That Hideous Strength. The Director wisely explains to Jane that her marriage to Mark can only work if she learns that obedience to her husband is an erotic necessity:
“I don’t think I look on marriage quite as you do. It seems to me extraordinary that everything should hang on what Mark says…about something he doesn’t understand.
“Child,” said the Director, “it is not a question of how you or I look on marriage but how my Masters look on it.”
“Someone said they were very old fashioned. But-“
“That was a joke. They are not old fashioned; but they are very, very old.”
“They would never think of finding out first whether Mark and I believed in their ideas of marriage?”
“Well – no,” said the Director with a curious smile. “No. Quite definitely they wouldn’t think of doing that.”
“And would it make a difference to them what a marriage was actually like – whether it was a success? Whether the woman loved her husband?”
Jane had not exactly intended to say this: much less to say it in the cheaply pathetic tone which, it now seemed to her, she had used. Hating herself, and fearing the Director’s silence, she added, “But I suppose you will say I oughtn’t to have told you that.”
“My dear child,” said the Director, “you have been telling me that ever since your husband was mentioned”
“Does it make no difference?”
“I suppose,” said the Director, “it would depend on how he lost your love.”
Jane was silent. Though she could not tell the Director the truth, and indeed did not know it herself, yet when she tried to explore her inarticulate grievance against Mark, a novel sense of her own injustice and even pity for her husband, arose in her mind. And her heart sank, for now it seemed to her that this conversation, to which she had vaguely looked for some sort of deliverance from all problems was in fact involving her in new ones.
“It was not his fault,” she said at last. “I suppose our marriage was just a mistake.”
The Director said nothing.
“What would you – what the people you are talking of – say about a case like that?”
“I will tell you if you really want to know,” said the Director.
“Please,” said Jane reluctantly.
They would say,” he answered, “that you do not fall in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience.”
Something in Jane that would normally have reacted to such a remark with anger or laughter was banished to a remote distance (where she could still, but only just, hear its voice) by the fact that the word Obedience-but certainly not obedience to Mark – came over her, in that room and in that presence, like a strange oriental perfume, perilous, seductive, ambiguous..

“Stop it!” said the Director, sharply.
Jane stared at him, open mouthed. There were a few moments of silence during which the exotic fragrance faded away.
“You were saying, my dear?” resumed the Director.
“I thought love meant equality,” she said, “and free companionship.”
“Ah, equality!” said the Director. “We must talk some other time. Yes, we must all be guarded by equal right’s from one another’s greed, because we are fallen. Just as we must all wear clothes for the same reason. But the naked body should be there underneath the clothes, ripening for the day when we shall need them no longer. Equality is not the deepest thing, you know.”
“I always thought that was just what it was. I thought that it was in their souls that people were equal.”
“You were mistaken,” he said gravely. “That is the last place where they are equal. Equality before law, equality of incomes–that is very well. Equality guards life; it doesn’t make it. It is medicine, not food. You might as well try to warm yourself with a blue-book.”
“But surely in marriage…?”
“Worse and worse,” said the Director. “Courtship knows nothing of it; nor does fruition. What has free companionship to do with that? Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something together, are companions. Those who enjoy or suffer one another, are not Do you not know how bashful friendship is? Friends – comrades – do not look at each other. Friendship would be ashamed…”

“I thought,” said Jane and stopped.
“I see,” said the Director. “It is not your fault. They never warned you. No one has ever told you that obedience – humility – is an erotic necessity. You are putting equality where it ought not to be.”

Jane is not attracted to Mark because women are never attracted to men that they pity. (The fastest way for a single man to get friend-zoned is to make himself the object of a woman’s pity rather than respect/admiration. Women are not attracted to effeminate weakness but to masculine strength. Men who whine and grumble are not likely to get anywhere because they appear to women as incompetent and fragile.) But the real reason Jane thinks their marriage is a mistake is because they have not lived in marriage according to its design. They have been concerned with equality rather than reality — namely the reality that men and women are different and need something different from each other. Until Jane learns to surrender herself to Mark and obey him, she will not be able to fully love (and make love) to him. Deep down we all know this. A real romantic love story premised on equality would be impossible. One of them, after all, will have to ask the other out. One of them, after all, will have to propose marriage. One of them, after all, will have to lead the dance, while the other follows. Marital love is about many things but it is certainly not about equality, at least not in the modern sense of the term. Indeed, equality is the enemy of romance. Equality kills romance. It is only polarity — sexual differentiation — that can revive it. Dating and romance are nearly dead in our day for precisely this reason. One of the main killers of marriage and the marriage bed in our day is androgyny.

It goes without saying here that not only are men and women not romantic equals, but their roles are not reversible or interchangeable. The man must lead. The woman must respond. Otherwise, the relationship will go nowhere.

The quoted section from That Hideous Strength provides an excellent reason for keeping the bride’s vow to “obey” in the marriage ceremony. There is nothing more essential to the erotic one flesh relationship that is at the core of marriage than her obedience to her husband. He must be admirable, assertive, and confident; passivity, cowardice, and indecisiveness in men are unattractive. And she must be submissive, respectful and obedient; nagging, controlling, and manipulative behavior will drive him away. 

The infamous Dalrock has some posts that address some of the same themes that I spoke about, especially in my second talk. In the post, “She Felt Unloved,” Dalrock uses his own experience to explain how he shook off bad advice and stepped up his game in order to increase his wife’s attraction to him. He did not allow his wife’s feelings to become the standard of love (Scripture is the standard), but he did wisely come to better understand what his wife needed (and wanted) from him in order to feel secure and cherished. In "Romance 101,” Dalrock explains how a man can change the dynamic of his relationship. “Untethered” gives several instructive vignettes of women who are ready to divorce their husbands, but not necessarily for reasons the husbands think. This one is particularly helpful for men to consider:

My sex hang ups come when I start feeling like he is tippy toeing around me and constantly looking to me to make a decision on things…

But all the little “beta” actions wear me out and leave me feeling like I never get to lean on him, that he isn’t there for me if I have a bad day or fall apart. By “beta” I mean things like going back and forth 15 times as we text about whether he wants to do a certain activity with the kids the next day, bc he doesn’t want to just come out and say, “I don’t want to do that.” Or hearing me vent about a relative or one of the kids’ behavior and not stopping me when I let my mouth run too far, because he doesn’t want to upset me more. Argh!

I know a cranky wife can be intimidating, guys, but most girls really appreciate the strength and confidence you show when you are not fazed by her emotions.

She knows she rides a roller coaster,and even if she can’t express it, having a husband who will insist on having a talk when one is needed and who will keep that convo on topic with an aggressive concern for the marriage will encourage and bless her and very likely turn things around after a time!

I think I finally communicated this to my honey yesterday. I explained that feeling in charge when he was around, feeling like EVERYONE in this house looked to me to call the shots, watching him hesitate and come off as soooo sweet and passive, was a HUGE turn off for me.

…I’m talking about wanting my husband to say, “I am going to rip your clothes off when I get home. Put the kids in front of a long movie.” and then doing it, despite my groaning, and convincing me I really did want him to. :) )) I’m talking about him asking what my schedule was for the day, and then telling me that I was going to take child X with me on those errands while he took W, Y, and Z with him, and he would bring home dinner so don’t cook. Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! To be able to lean on him, to see him take an aggressive interest in how the house works and what is going on, to feel like he desires me so much he will not take no for an answer and kisses me out of my stress…

…it’s the stuff our fantasies are made of, guys! Maybe not every woman, but every married girl I know gets starry eyed as they tell stories of their husband leading in such an in-tune and family-focused way, esp if it involves romance and sex.

…guys, lead whether she bats her eyes at you at first or not!…  Too much beta-helpfulness can backfire, bc you are presenting as a wimp weaker than she is, and who wants a leading man like that? She wants to feel like your leading lady, not your mother.


Dalrock routinely explains that the great tragedy of feminism is that it led women to rebel against the very thing they most crave and most need from men. Feminism has created men that women no longer find attracting or arousing. Men conditioned by feminism actually end up frustrating women, including even feminists, because their passivity is unattractive.

This ties into rising female unhappiness in our culture, chronicled in number of places, e.g., this article from Zachary Porcu and this piece from Scott Yenor.

I really like this equation:

A Proverbs 31 woman + a Job 29 man = a Psalm 128 household


A Titus 2 woman + a Psalm 112 man + Psalm 45 wedding = a Psalm 128 household

Feminists say they want to smash the patriarchy. They attack the Bible's teaching that a man is the head of his wife. But if women were made to respond to male leadership, why is this? Why do feminists act contrary to their own best interests?
Anytime a woman moves in an egalitarian/feminist direction, I know it is because  she has been let down by a man who should have taken responsibility for her (typically a father or husband). If a married woman attacks the idea of male headship, I know that it is at some level because she does not respect/admire her husband. And to be honest, when I look at the men these women are married to, it is often understandable why they rebel against the idea of male headship, though this is not justificaton for their rejection of God's design.
Feminism in general, as a societal wide movement, and particular women moving in a feminist direction, is inseparable from the emasculation of men. But feminism is a destructive response to the failure of men. If men are insufficiently masculine, as C. S Lewis pointed out, it is no cure at all to call in those who are not masculine at all. If men are bad husbands, attempting role reversal will not solve the problem since women will make even worse husbands.

Some helpful articles on healthy masculinity:
Helpful articles in the problems with feminism:
Mallory Millet
Heather MacDonald, explaining why feminism can never work in the world God made:
Feminists cannot acknowledge the divide between men and women when it comes to sex and sensibility. Doing so would violate what Steven Pinker calls the blank slate doctrine, a foundation stone of modern liberalism. One of that doctrine’s core tenets is that “differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety,” in Pinker’s words. Ignoring biology, feminists recast difficult sexual interactions in terms of power and politics.
When the wife is the main breadwinner in the marriage over the long haul, it puts an unbearable strain on most marriages. Many studies and articles bear this out. The divorce rate skyrockets and cheating is more likely. I especially recommend reading Venker on this topic; her letter to her husband is very good. Dalrock has also addressed this topic.
Here is the late 19th century Dabney quote that I paraphrased at the end of my second talk:
This suggests a third consequence, which some of the advocates of the movement even already are bold enough to foreshadow. “Women’s Rights” mean the abolition of all permanent marriage ties. We are told that Mrs. Cady Stanton avowed this result, proclaiming it at the invitation of the Young Men’s Christian Association of New York. She holds that woman’s bondage is not truly dissolved until the marriage bond is annulled. She is thoroughly consistent. Some hoodwinked advocates of her revolution may be blind to the sequence; but it is inevitable. It must follow by this cause, if for no other, that the unsexed politicating woman can never inspire in man that true affection on which marriage should be founded. Men will doubtless be still sensual; but it is simply impossible that they can desire them for the pure and sacred sphere of the wife. Let every woman ask herself: will she choose for the lord of her affections an unsexed effeminate man? No more can man be drawn to the masculine woman. The mutual attraction of the two complementary halves is gone forever. The abolition of marriage would follow again by another cause. The divergent interests and the rival independence of the two equal wills would be irreconcilable with domestic government, or union, or peace. Shall the children of this monstrous no-union be held responsible to two variant co-ordinate and supreme wills at once? Heaven pity the children! Shall the two parties to this perpetual co-partnership have neither the power to secure the performance of the mutual duties nor to dissolve it? It is a self-contradiction, an impossible absurdity. Such a co-partnership of equals with independent interests must be separable at will, as all other such co-partnerships are. The only relation between the sexes which will remain will be a cohabitation continuing so long as the convenience or caprice of both parties may suggest; and this, with most, will amount to a vagrant concubinage.
Hopefully, you can see why I slightly paraphrased the quote. But hopefully you can also see Dabney's prophetic wisdom. He saw where feminism would lead long before most, and that includes seeing that feminism would kill mutual attraction between men and women. Dabney was slinging red pill insights long before the rise of the red pill. At the conference Foster said that red pill knowledge about intersexual dynamics would have been commonly known in a 1920s bar. I daresay it would have been known in 1920s churches as well. Sexual realism was common sense once upon a time. What is scandalous in a feminist age was second nature in more sane times.
Marriage operates with a kind of feedback loop: A man’s desire to be the best man he can be, to serve and sacrifice for his family, and take responsibility for his household is tied directly to his wife’s expression of respect for him. And a wife’s loving submission, her desire to glorify her husband and her home, and her admiration for her man is directly tied to the cherishing love her husband expresses towards her. If a marriage is in a downward cycle, in which the man is not loving his wife because he feels disrespected and she is not respecting him because she does not feel loved, the way to break out of the cycle is for one spouse to start to do the right thing even though they are not getting their tank filled by the other. It only takes one spouse to spearhead change in a marriage. (Frankly, it is better if the man leads the way since he is responsible to lead, but wives can do this too.)
Obviously, our spouse's sin against us does not excuse our sin against our spouse. A man who feels disrespected is not justified in failing to love his wife, and a woman who feels unloved is not excused for disrespecting her husband. But we should also recognize that our actions have a tremendous impact on others we are close to, especially in marriage. We are all provoking our spouses -- but are we provoking them to righteousness or rebellion?
I have explained before why I do not like the slogan, "Happy wife happy life" and I touched on this again at the conference. But here's one thing I did not get to that needs to be clear. The purpose of the husband sacrificing for his wife is not her happiness but her sanctification (Eph. 5:25-26). Husbands certainly should want to please their wives, but pleasing God is a higher aim. Scripture, not a wife's feelings, is his final standard and the measuring stick for his performance.
So let's try this slogan instead: "Holy wife, happy life." Or "Submissive wife, happy wife." The husband must make sacrifices for his wife, but in doing so he aims first and foremost at her holiness, and only secondarily at her happiness. That's what Ephesians 5 actually teaches. We must do away with the notion that "loving her like Christ means giving her her way" and instead remember that "loving her sacrificially means giving Jesus his way in the marriage/household."
Years ago I wrote these words (they were published in the book Church Friendly Family). I still agree with them, and they serve as an important caveat/qualification when we are discussing a man's headship over and leadership of his wife:
"If a man constantly interrupts his wife or simply refuses to listen to her, he’s going to be an even bigger fool in the future than he is today. He must humble himself and come to appreciate her way of seeing things. A lot of men scoff at their wives’ perspectives and fears. But he must treat her as his Lady Wisdom, his own personal tutor in prudence. Men, God did not give you a “feminine side,” as you hear so often today; instead He has given you a wife. You need to get in touch with her if you want to be wise." 
Over the years I have wondered if pop music (both rock and country) have shaped men to believe certain feminist lies about male/female romantic relationships. It seems to me that a lot of popular music has catechized men into various half truths and outright falsehoods about women and intersexual dynamics. Obviously, pop music has lied about sex and the consequences of sexual immorality. But even when you screen that out, many typical love songs give men the wrong idea about how attraction works. A lot of pop music, like feminism, has conditioned men to become beta males, to be simps. This always backfires romantically.
Maybe someday I can do a separate blog post with examples and commentary, but I have no doubt that a lot of men have undergone blue pill conditioning by the music they listen to. Rock ballads (beta ballads?) that became so common in the 1980s are probably the biggest offenders. In the lyrics of these songs, the male singer usually cries out that the woman is his savior, his reason for living, his angel; he is desperate for her, she gives his life meaning, he cannot do without her. In my view, these songs are the musical equivalent of the man who becomes a male feminist, hoping to ingratiate himself to women.
All of this is pretty easy to understand. The rise of rock music happened hand in hand with the rise of modern feminism and the sexual revolution. Rock was the soundtrack to our social and sexual revolution, resulting in all kinds of confusion about sex and the sexes. Most rock songs are either about fornication (musical pornography, as I've put it), or they pedestalize women to the extreme.
Of course, female singers have had their feminist anthems, both rock and country. Again, examples and analysis will have to wait for another post.
In the Q and A session, I was asked about the "stereotypical masculine man" who hunts, works on his car, and lifts weights. Is it possible for this man, with these conventionally masculine skills/hobbies, to be effeminate? I said in response that based on that list of skills, I have no idea if this man is effeminate or not. He may be or he may not be. I need to know more information. For example, does he lead his family well? Does he have a porn addiction (a sure sign of effeminacy)? It is possible that these skills signal a masculine man, but the issue is more complicated. For example, he might hunt as a way of taking dominion over the creation and providing lovingly for his family. Or he might hunt because his household is a mess and he wants out as much as possible. Is he out hunting or going to the gym when he really needs to be at home tending to his family? Are these hobbies ways of furthering dominion or ways of escaping his more pressing responsibilities? Further, while these are certainly manly skills, they are not the only kinds of manly skills there are. Virtually any legitimate form of dominion over the creation can be masculine, provided a man is connecting it to his mission and his household. So a computer programmer might be more masculine than a hunter or mechanic. It is not a problem that we associate certain skills with a form of manliness, but it is possible for a man to be "all hat and no cattle." He might have some of the outward trappings of masculinity but still lack its substance. Certainly, skills and competency are important aspects of manhood but they are not sufficient guards in themselves against effeminacy.
Here is another way to tackle the same issue: We can distinguish being a good man from being good at being a man. But it is easy to draw caricatures in both areas. We might think that being a good man means being sweet and vulnerable all the time. This is simply not true. We might think that being good at being a man means being good at hunting and fishing. This is simply not true either (or at least its far too simplistic). Being a good man is a matter of character; it has to do with moral strength. Being a good at being a man is a matter of competency; it has to do with skill strength or intellectual strength or physical strength. The key is to combine both. The effeminate man fails at one or the other or both. He lacks moral strength and skill strength because he lacks discipline and drive; he lives for his own pleasure and comfort; and thus he is immature and weak.
A further note on the concept of effeminacy based on post-conference conversations I had: Criticizing effeminacy is not insulting to femininity. The concept of effeminacy presupposes that we have different expectations for men and women. While men and women overlap in all kinds of ways, there are certain qualities or traits we accept in women but find revolting in men. (This is what Foster was getting at when he described effeminacy as a dog that "meows.") Here is an example: If a group of guys and girls are watching a scary movie, does anyone think any less of one of the girls if she gets really scared? Of course not. But what if one of the guys gets scared? He will be mocked and told to turn in his man-card. Neither the guys nor girls will respect him. In several places in Scripture, God curses nations by causing their (male) soldiers to become like women and thus flee the battlefield (Nahum 3:13; Jeremiah 51:30). Men who dress or act in feminine ways, or who adopt feminine mannerism or ways of communicating, are effeminate. So one aspect of effeminacy is having feminine characteristics in places where they ought not to be. Things that can be acceptable or virtuous in women can be disgusting and inappropriate in men.
What is the core of masculinity?
Masculinity is tied primarily to strength, dominion, and virtue. But strength is more than bodily strength. One’s masculinity cannot be judged solely on how much he bench presses or squats. Strength of character is the ultimate test of strength and the ultimate form of strength.
When it comes to defining masculinity, we have to two avoid unhelpful extremes, one that cuts manhood off from its root and the other that cuts manhood off from its goal. The root of masculinity is found in man's creation. Man was made from the earth, to subdue and rule the earth. Man was made for dominion. A man who is good at being a man will be dominion-oriented. He will work hard, he will possess drive and ambition, he will develop skill and competencies that enable him to fulfill his personal mission and maximize the talents God has given him.
The ultimate goal of masculinity is found in the model man, Jesus Christ. He is the model all men should seek to emulate. The gospels give us a transcript of perfected masculinity. Look at how Jesus treated women, even women who degraded themselves through sexual sin. Look at how Jesus boldly challenged and exposed the political and religious tyrants of his day. Look at how Jesus wisely and even humorously navigated difficult situations. And of course, focus especially on how Jesus loves and cares for his bride, how he rules her for her own good, how he gives himself for her, to make her holy. This is the model we men should seek to replicate in our own lives, for in doing so, we not only grow to mature manhood, but we make our lives and our marriages into parables of the gospel.
On the one hand, it is tragic when manhood is cut off from its creational roots. Men who lose touch with their created purpose tend to become gnostics. Our culture is full of effeminate men who have forgotten where they came from -- from the earth. They drift about without a deep mission, without understanding the purpose of their work as found in the creation mandate. On the other hand it is also tragic when manhood is left unevangelized. We live in a fallen world and sin can twist masculinity into all kinds of deformities. Only Jesus can straighten men out and give them the kind of masculinity that will reveal their final destination and goal. Men need the gospel, which means manhood needs to be restored, matured, glorified, and transformed by the grace of God.

I have (half jokingly) said in the past that wives have one of the simplest jobs in the world. Note: I said "simple," not "easy." What do I mean? I mean a wife only has to do two or three things to be considered a great wife. I mean that men are simple creatures, and rather easy to please. All it takes to keep most husbands happy is respect, sexual intimacy, and food. That's all. Wives are sometimes offended and frustrated by how simple men are. Husbands, on the other hand, have to reckon with the complexity of women. What do wives from want from husbands? A host of things. Wives have a wide variety of needs and desires. Wives want love, companionship, affection, empathy, communication, sensitivity, gifts, validation, adventure, provision, protection, a good listener, leadership, and so on. This is not a knock on women at all. Women want what they want from men for good reason, namely, all of these things connect in one way or another to her desire to care for their children. Women want to "marry up" because they need a man they can admire and follow, a man they can trust and rely on, a man who can compensate for their weakness. Women's hypergamy is not a flaw but a design feature -- it's designed to bring out the best in men.
I'd recommend reading Suzanne Venker's various essays and Denise McAllister's book What Men Want to Say to Women (But Can't) on these topics.
A little bibliography. Countless sources have influenced my thinking on these matters, but I want to point out a few that I might not have mentioned before.
Michael Foster and Bnonn Tennant have a podcast entitled "A Biblical Theology of Attraction" that does a good job grounding male and female attraction in the creation mandate and the sexual division of labor God has built into the world. The creation mandate has two sides to it: dominion/subduing the earth and multiplying/filling the earth. Men are attracted to women who have physical cues that they will be suitable for multiplying and filling. Women are attracted to men whose status and competency suggests they will be good candidates for ruling and subduing the earth (that is, protecting and providing). To put it another way, men are drawn to beauty and women are drawn to strength. Obviously, this does not capture everything and there are other factors involved in attraction, e.g., personality. More importantly, in a post-fall world, we must screen out candidates for marriage first and foremost based on faith and spiritual maturity since we can marry only in the Lord. But we should not act like overly spiritual, overly pious Gnostics and ignore these creational factors in attraction. The Bible is quite plainspoken in praising women for their physical beauty and men for their strength. Inner character always matters more than the outward, but this does make the outward irrelevant. God made women so they would desire to be beautiful and he gave men a desire for that feminine beauty. God gave women a desire for strong men and he gave men the desire for masculine strength. We complement and complete one another as men and women, and as we do so, we also complete and fulfill the creation mandate.
John Michael Clark's "Family Captain" group is helpful to many men. Clark is a engaging teacher on intersexual dynamics and I know I have picked up several metaphors and images from him, though I could not tell you which ones. If a young man is looking for a good, clean, biblically filtered source for the “red pill” perspective on marriage, Clark’s group is a good place to look.  
Rich Bledsoe wrote an article years ago on anxiety, which was especially useful in tracing the anxiety of wives back to the primoridial fall of Adam. I can no longer locate the essay, but the basic concepts have stuck with me and were valuable in developing my "two weaker vessel" paradigm out of 1 Peter 3.
Edwin Friedman's book Failure of Nerve is not a Christian work, but it is especially useful to Christian men in leadership positions. It is rather easy to filter out the material in the book that is not consistent with a biblical worldview. Friedman is full of practical wisdom on a number of fronts, and much of what he says will help you better understand our culture today. Friedman helped me think through how leaders can maintain frame and use humor to diffuse anxiety in tense situations.

Far too many husbands let their wives do all their thinking for them. Be a man, think for yourself, form your own judgments and correct hers when needed. Of course, be humble and accept correction from others (including your wife) when you need it. While you symbolize Jesus in the marriage you are not Jesus and therefore you will make mistakes. But a man should be continually working to improve himself, to continually level up his game. As Foster pointed out, too many Christians have downplayed self-help as if it were always Pelagian. In reality, we are commanded to strengthen ourselves.
 Right as I was finishing this blog post, this article from Venker came out which makes the same point as my second talk and my punchline for the weekend.