In his new book, The Truth About Men: What Men and Women Need to Know, bestselling author, Hollywood producer and preacher DeVon Franklin argues that every man is fighting a battle between selfish lust, which he calls the dog, and wanting to be a person of decency and integrity, a.k.a. the master. Dating is a key battleground and its importance for Franklin cannot be overstated. The Globe and Mail spoke to Franklin about why he chose the analogy and how to date in the modern heterosexual world.
How long have you been married?
Seven years in June.
Does that mean you were spared the hellscape of online dating?
Even when I was dating I never actually had an online date. So I guess you could say I was spared.
Throughout the book you compare men to dogs. At first I thought that’s pretty insulting.
I figured that analogy at first blush would provoke a response one way or another. Once you see what I’m saying, and why I’m saying it, I think it dispels any of those preconceived notions about what it is the book is about.
Why did you choose the dog and master analogy?
I believe that this is the struggle in every man and this is the truth that women don’t know about men: that every man struggles between the master and the dog. The dog is a metaphor for lust. Every man, to me, has a lust problem. Lust is selfish impulses for sexual, financial, personal and professional gain by any means necessary. Lust is selfish. However, every man also has love in them. I call love the master. Love of self, love of God, love of family, love of the woman in their life, love of community. So when we as men master the dog, we can become the men we want to be.
You say in the book that, “The health and well-being of our society is directly linked to how we date.” That’s a pretty big statement.
It is, and I believe it’s fundamentally because when you look at the family structure and the health of it, how does that start? The seed of it goes back to dating. So often with our dating, there’s no discipline that we put around dating. We’re just taught to kind of go with what we feel in a moment and hope that it all works. When there is no discipline we wonder why we find ourselves in marriages that are not compatible. Look at the divorce rate and look what’s going on with the culture.
What does it mean for men to have discipline when they’re dating?
Let’s not believe that more is better, because it’s actually not. The more women that we have when you’re single, the harder it is to commit to one when you’re married. I know this is a controversial subject, but for men, discipline starts with thinking of sex as a want not a need. When a man puts it in the need category, it’s very easy to justify his behaviour to get it. Whereas if you put it in the want category, well, we don’t always get what we want. Why do you go from one [partner] to the next? What are you afraid of? What are you insecure about? And even in dating, be crystal clear about your intentions.
Is that possible in a world of online dating where you’re seeing different people all the time and might not even know what your intentions are at the start?
When you’re in this virtual world, it’s almost like the dog runs wild. This person has the right look. Oh, but wait a minute, here’s somebody else. And the next thing you know, no one is good enough and you keep searching and swiping for the perfect person instead of saying, okay, if this was a real situation and this was not just images on a screen these were actual women that I was sitting down with, how would I behave differently?
You tell men to consider celibacy before marriage, or at least until they are in a loving, committed relationship. Do you really think that’s possible today?
Here’s what I know. Every man has to get to a place in their life where they want to change. I have come across a number of men who are tired of living life the same way. There’s an emptiness that persists in them, and so as a result, they decide to try something different. For those men that I know that have become celibate and have waited for sex, the result that they have experienced far surpassed the difficulty of doing it. Is it a popular message? Not at all. Not even a little bit. I feel like I’m shouting in the wind. But for those men that choose to hear me and try it, I guarantee their life will change for the better. Once we get discipline in that area there’s nothing else we can’t do.
This interview has been condensed and edited.