The book “The Neutering of the American Male” makes this suggestion. “In a journal or tablet write your thoughts, views and beliefs on masculinity and femininity as you understand them at this moment and from where/who did you get these beliefs.” The purpose of such an exercise is to identify and clarify your own thoughts and beliefs.
My husband and I like to watch old movies. Movies from the 40’s and 50’s show how drastically beliefs and expectations about gender can change in a relatively short time. No matter how much couples love each other sex is forbidden until after they marry. Some movies focus on the conflict desperate lovers have trying to find a minister or judge who can marry them. The husband is the authority figure, much like a father to a loved child. The wife may even adopt childlike behavior to please him. In some movies the man will turn his naughty wife over his knee and spank her. Most viewers in those days seemed to see nothing wrong with that.
In working with couples for more than 30 years, I found that for a marriage to evolve into a soul mate relationship it must be adult to adult. No parent child relationship can be satisfying for lovers.
As a young man, author Jim Wysong, struggled to understand himself and what it means to be masculine. He shares what he has learned during the last thirty years. To have successful long-term relationships you must be open to learning and understanding yourself and your lover. This book is another resource that may help you do that.