One of my favorite examples of male development that I have seen on television comes from the show Family Guy. The mother in the show, Lois, decides that her youngest son Stewie is ready to go off breast-feeding. Stewie invents a breast milking machine, and he attempts to steal milk from other mothers who are still feeding their children. Eventually, Stewie realizes that he actually has to kick his love of his mother’s breast milk. He agonizes all episode, and eventually kicks it (until Lois starts up again because she misses the bonding).
What I love about this episode is that it shows that despite his best efforts to remain attached to his mom, he realizes that the world, especially his mother’s world, doesn’t revolve around him. This is one of the first transitions in our stages of consciousness. Many boys struggle from this detachment of females. Many boys, and even men (although I am not sure it’s quite different for women as well), look to women to solve their problems. Many boys look to their mothers for love, bonding, and direction. Then many boys look to females for their source of life, their source of fulfillment. I can’t tell you how many guys my age I hear saying, “Well, if I had a girlfriend/wife, then my life would be complete.” This type of mindset doesn’t create spiritually healthy relationships. Anytime you expect someone to fix your reality, your reality is bound to be filled with great disappointment. No woman will be able to fix a man’s problems. This is why we would be appalled in seeing a grown man being publicly breast-fed. The world does not revolve around this ‘I’ mindset. When we learn that the world doesn’t revolve around me, then that ‘I’ state is ready to be traded into a collective ‘we’.
Once a man has learned to die to his ‘I’, then he is truly ready for a woman. When he knows that she can’t fix him, that her world doesn’t revolve around his. This is why marriage proves so hard for men (and women). In Genesis, it talks about how a man must leave his father and his mother to become one flesh with a woman. The man must be ready to abandon his world, in order to be ready for the world of another woman. If he is not willing to suffer through the changes that it takes to be a man, and eventually a husband, then what real good is he to a woman, a wife? Those who lose their lives will find it. If we want to find life with another woman, whether it be our mother or our wife, we must learn to let go, to not strangle it. The quickest way to kill anything is to smother it.