The Four Roles of Mature Masculinity

The origin of the Four Roles of Mature Masculinity and how we use them in our program.

The Four Roles of Mature Masculinity: An Introduction

The four masculine roles—King, Lover, Magician, and Warrior—are archetypes shared by men across all cultures. Archetypes are universal patterns of behavior that act as energy and potentials in our collective subconscious. Examples include the Hero, the Mother, the Wise Old Man, or the Madonna.

These roles embody the needs, strengths, and desires of mature masculinity in men and are expressed in thinking, knowing, acting, and relating. They are your natural assets as a man, worth treasuring and utilizing. I’ve introduced these roles to many men, and the response is always positive—these archetypes inspire men. Why? Because they represent untapped potential within our psyche, waiting to be awakened.

Each role can be expressed in either a too-strong or too-weak manner. An extreme expression of a role is like a virus corrupting an app: if not used wisely, any potential can harm rather than help. At this extreme, your masculinity can become a liability to yourself and others.

Virtue is the balance between too much and too little of any quality. The word “Virtue” has Latin roots meaning manliness, suggesting that ‘manly’ signifies strength through balance. To achieve this balance, you need to cultivate self-awareness and watch for any extreme expression of your masculine roles. Let’s keep this in mind as we explore each role’s identity.

Operating the Four Roles

The term “role” means you can switch between them as conditions require. You are the casting director choosing the most relevant role for a situation in your family life. For example, you might say, “This is the moment I need to act as a Warrior.” While playing a role, don’t take it too seriously or make it your identity, as this can turn the role into your ego. Stay the director of your masculine roles—flexibility is power.

Getting into a role is like playing a character; to play characters well, you need to understand how they think and feel. Think of these roles as apps on your smartphone. Once you know them well, you can tap into them and use them as your resource. Each role equips you with a unique set of tools and strategies, showcasing your competence as a husband. When well-balanced and applied in the right context, these roles will empower you to use your masculinity to benefit your family.

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The Four Roles of Mature Masculinity