Here are 8 issues men will face in their relationships with women and wives based on the Greek story about Perseus, Andromeda and the Sea Serpent.
1. What beasts should a young man fight before marriage to show he is ready to marry?
Story: “Before she had done speaking, a sound was heard off upon the water, and the sea-monster appeared, with his head raised above the surface, cleaving the waves with his broad breast.”
What should challenges should a young man have conquered before he marries and makes a family? Are there critical manhood matters that reflect a mature man and his ability to provide, protect and procreate?
2. What battles have men refused to fight or given up fighting for in marriage?
Story: “And now the monster was within the range of a stone thrown by a skilful slinger, when with a sudden bound the youth soared into the air. As an eagle, when from his lofty flight he sees a serpent basking in the sun, pounces upon him and seizes him by the neck to prevent him from turning his head round and using his fangs, so the youth darted down upon the back of the monster and plunged his sword into its shoulder.”
Many men won’t fight for their marriages? They want a woman to make them feel like a man without calling him to act like a man. How can we empower men to face the needs and work on themselves and their relationships?
3. Are there anymore maps for relationships and marriage in our culture or have they all been burned up and everyone just does what is ‘right in their own eyes’?
Story: “My rank as the son of Jupiter/Zeus and my renown as the slayer of the Gorgon might make me acceptable as a suitor; but I will try to win her by services rendered, if the gods will only be propitious.”
How do men know what to do in relationships with women these days? It seems the wisdom of the past is under attack, the example of the present are a confusing mass of contradictions and nobody seems to agree on what the future of marriage looks like. How can men help one another in this moment of time?
4. How do we help men cross the various thresholds in a man’s life in relationship to his women?
Story: “As Perseus looked down from his aerial height he beheld the virgin…He was so startled at the sight that he almost forgot to wave his wings. As he hovered over her he said, “O virgin, undeserving of those chains, but rather of such as bind fond lovers together, tell me, I beseech you, your name, and the name of your country, and why you are thus bound.”
Do men matter in mentoring? Is there a collective wisdom and way of manhood that elders can call men to follow? How do men share wisdom today in ways that are meaningful and transformative if they barely find time to gather or walk with other men of different ages? How can the hearts of the fathers turn to the children and the hearts of the children turn to the fathers again?
5. The War Women Face:
Story: “Cassiopeia his queen, proud of her beauty, had dared to compare herself to the Sea-nymphs, which roused their indignation to such a degree that they sent a prodigious sea-monster to ravage the coast. To appease the deities, Cepheus was directed by the oracle to expose his daughter Andromeda to be devoured by the monster.”
The myth highlights some particular challenges that women face from the culture around them and the world within them relating to beauty, pride, sacrifice, suffering and rescue. Men can help or hurt a woman in the battle of self-image, the worship of beauty and the chains that such idolatry can wrap around the heart and mind of a woman. There’s a deep danger represented in the story regarding the exaltation and idolatry of beauty and where it can lead, that is ignored in our culture. It’s affects on young women from an early age on through the various stages of life can culmiate in a host of wounds and chains. The sacrificing of women by families, industries, the exposing of women, the abuse of women and the devouring of innocence leave many women bound and bleeding. Men are guilty of creating and feeding off these abuses and we are called to face and engage these issues as concerned, compassionate and courageous spouses.
6. A man’s relationship with his in laws:
Story: “The virgin shrieked, the father and mother who had now arrived at the scene, wretched both, but the mother more justly so, stood by, not able to afford protection, but only to pour forth lamentations and to embrace the victim. Then spoke Perseus; “There will be time enough for tears; this hour is all we have for rescue. My rank as the son of Jove and my renown as the slayer of the Gorgon might make me acceptable as a suitor; but I will try to win her by services rendered, if the gods will only be propitious. If she be rescued by my valour, I demand that she be my reward.” The parents consent (how could they hesitate?) and promise a royal dowry with her.”
When a man marries, he marries into a family and joins two families together. In this day, family dynamics are often complex, broken, and sometimes adversarial or absent. How a man deals with these issues can help or harm his marriage.
7. A woman’s wound:
Story: ”As Perseus looked down from his aerial height he beheld the virgin chained to a rock, and waiting the approach of the serpent.”
The biblical story speaks about the woman and the serpent and the entrance of the curse and it’s pain connected to childbirth and relational challenges with men. There is a ‘wound or chain’ that every man will discover in the life of the woman he loves, how do men become part of healing that wound or help loosen ‘Andromeda’s chains’?
8. Can a man see a woman for who she truly is both the wounds or concerns of her heart and the the outward beauty?
Story: “As Perseus looked down from his aerial height he beheld the virgin chained to a rock, and waiting the approach of the serpent. She was so pale and motionless that if it had not been for her flowing tears and her hair that moved in the breeze, he would have taken her for a marble statue.”
Mature men should be able to see beyond the beauty of a woman and what pleasure she brings to him (“her hair that moved in the breeze”) and see the sufferings of her heart and the things that move her (“her flowing tears”).