Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Male's Perspective on Femininity

My post on Feminism and Femininity garnered great comments! Ken finally contributed with a male's perspective on femininity and I thought it was fantastic! I thought you should ALL read ~

I will add a male point of view to the discussion, because I believe both the Bible and history have much to say. Look throughout history and what do you find. Very "strong" and "weaker" women all generally deferring to a husband's greater strength. The strength of most women is not measured by the pounds they can bench press, but by their inner fortitude, stamina, and industriousness within the family unit. Women complete men in ways they cannot complete themselves. They are gifted in ways most men are not gifted with natural gentleness, sensitivity and cuteness.

Throughout history most men are not looking to spend a lifetime with another man, but with a woman with feminine qualities. We want our wives to be "strong and courageous in the Lord" but we also want them to melt into our arms, trust us and be a wife to us. We like our wives to dress pretty, look as feminine as they can, and be a sexually attractive person to us. Most of us want a wife who is strong enough to tell us her fears and her desires, but we also want her to do it in a gentle way that lets us know she respects us and our very few decisions that cannot be resolved by way of communications. 

So for most of the godly men out there, we want a feminine woman. This is not a Bible issue, this is an issue of nature and sex. What most attracts men to a woman are the feminine things she does. The way she laughs with a feminine laugh or how she gives you that smirky smile. When she walks in the room we know "that one is mine," and she is all dressed up and looking good for you. The last thing most men want is a testosterone filled wife who wants to arm wrestle us for every decision made or wants to wear jeans all day and night, and even to bed. Yes, we want a certain sexual tension that only  a flirting feminine wife knows how to do to start our engines. 

I think sometimes God does not speak a lot about things that are so obvious and this is one of those cases. Strength within femininity looks great, and much of that strength is spent in being a terrific wife, even with an imperfect husband. Remember, for the man with 650 ng/ml of testosterone rushing through his blood at any given time, he is not looking for a wife to match his hormones. He is looking for her to be his lover and friend. 

Too much strength shown in the wrong ways is a huge intimacy killer for a man or woman. For to have intimacy one must have trust, dependence and vulnerability. These are great feminine qualities that used to come naturally to most women, but now are protected against by guarded hearts in too many marriages. I think the Bible says all it needs to say about femininity, "a meek and quiet spirit" and "in submission to her husband in everything." This does not mean a mealy-mouthed woman who is afraid to speak her mind. No! Men enjoy a good discussion, and we need our wife to set us straight at times, but we want her speak to us in a ladylike and respectful way.

Only a messed up world says otherwise where the roles and natures of men and women are being blended, all in the name of gender equality. Christian wives are completely equal to their husbands in all things pertaining to personhood, but if we do not play differing roles based on our natural makeup and God given gifts, we lose out on God's best for our marriages and our lives. 

I am married to a very strong minded and strong character woman, but she has learned to harness her strength within her feminine qualities which makes her quite attractive and fun to share a life with her. Man and wife, male and female, two complements of differing strengths and perspectives necessary to raise a wonderful family for God; raising sons and daughters to live out their natural God given gifts of masculinity and femininity for the enjoyment of their spouses.

Let it be the hidden person of the heart,
with the imperishable quality of a meek and quiet spirit,
which is precious in the sight of God.
I Peter 3:4

***The picture is my precious niece, Ali, with her brand new husband, David!
I was just telling Ken that it is interesting how many women want their husbands to adopt feminine qualities {being sensitive and emotional}, yet men want their wives to act like a lady, not like a man.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Was This Abusive Towards Me?

She thinks Ken is abusive towards me since he likes me to stand in church when we're singing! She was responding to the following comment on this post ~

Ken loves to stand up during worship at church while we're singing. I prefer to sit down since my lower back and feet hurt if I stand too long. On Sunday, he stood and I stood up beside him and asked him if he prefers I stand with him. He smiled and said, "Yes." I then whispered why I don't like to stand long. Later, we talked about it and he told me that I was welcome to sit down after a minute or two if I start to hurt at all, but he does like me standing beside him. So I decided I will stand now whenever he stands. My desire is to be a submissive wife and even if I'm not perfect yet, I am a lot better than I use to be!

Here is the woman's comment concerning Ken's supposed "abuse" of me ~

There is such a thing as 'just saying no' to such a ridiculous request to make you stand until you are in pain. Yes---it is ridiculous. If MY husband had made that request I would have questioned if he really loved me!! That is abuse!! In a marriage, respect for both partners is a must. Sounds like your husband does not respect you or your pain or he would not ask you to do something that would make you hurt when you could simply sit all the time. At MY CHRISTIAN church, if one of the marriage partners has health issues, he or she remains seated the whole service---we would not THINK or even consider asking that partner to stand just because WE wanted them to stand. Good heavens!

Let's say she is right, (although she is dead wrong!), and I take her advice. I refuse to obey my husband since it is uncomfortable for me to stand many minutes and I'm now angry with him because he's abusive, doesn't respect me AND probably doesn't love me according to her! Do you think this advice will strengthen our marriage or harm it? Do you think this is good advice to give to another Christian woman when you disagree with something her husband is asking her do? How does this uplift her or edify her marriage? All this kind of counsel does is damage the marriage as it serves no healthy purpose but to cause further upset and division. Also, the word abuse here is WAY over used when there is NO abuse at all.

My friend, Sandy, just called me and discussed the same post with me about the woman who refused to obey her husband and sit down when he asked her. She said it all comes down to original sin. We don't like anyone telling us what to do. We want to do what we want to do, period. We want to go our own way and not listen to the commands of the Lord. Ironically, Ken never even told me to stand with him. I was the one to ask him if he liked it. But when I ask, he says Yes and I want to please him; the world of abuse arrives at our doorstep. Just from a simple "Yes."

Let me make this very clear. This is NOT abusive! Ken has never abused me and has never come close to doing anything that is abusive. He never swears, rarely if ever raises his voice, and never has done anything where I might fear him. He is an honorable man of God who I trust completely to look out for my best interests over his own. His daily sacrifices for me are evident everywhere, so to sacrifice a little to please him seems only right. 

Therefore, women, whenever you are mentoring other women about their marriage, DO NOT attack their husbands and put them down, especially when you have only one side of the story. It does nothing to improve the marriage and only makes it worse since the wives can do nothing to change their husband's behavior. Most definitely never throw around the inflammatory word "abuse" unless it is truly abusive. No counselor throws fuel on a fire, but instead tries to move the spouse they are working with to a point where they can positively impact the marriage. 

You will never change a husband or marriage by inserting your sense of right and wrong into another person's marriage. If I saw nothing wrong with Ken answering me truthfully, why would anyone try to make him into an abusive husband in my mind? Let's get something straight about what God demands of a believer; if we want to please God by being godly wives we must be willing to sacrifice, especially in the little things of life to please our husbands. After all, is this not what we hope and pray our husbands are doing for us each and every day? From Jesus' own words ~

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

So next time you hear a wife say something you think is unfair or unkind about her husband, work on her attitudes and behaviors according to the Word of God and what it teaches. Help her to focus on her husband's good qualities and the sacrifices he makes for her, not on his faults. Then encourage her with I Peter 3:1 ~ Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives {I Peter 3:1}.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Let Kindness and Generosity Define Your Marriage

Divorce is very common today, even among Christians. An interesting article that was not even written by a Christian wrote that social scientists have discovered, "Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it's not there." I can say this was certainly true in our marriage.

Sadly, for the first 23 years of our marriage, I had contempt towards Ken. I was always upset with him about something. I failed to look at all of his great qualities and instead dwelt upon all of his faults instead and how he wasn't meeting my "perceived" needs as I wrote about yesterday. It made for a very contentious marriage. I also see this in most of the women I mentor who are in difficult marriages. They have contempt for their husbands. Their husbands never live up to their expectations so they are usually upset and angry with them. They have also been trying the Husband Transformation Strategy for a long time and it isn't working for them either.

I remember one day very clearly. I was watching Ken's sister and her husband in the kitchen. They were so tender and kind towards each other. I so wished our marriage was like theirs. I thought she must be married to the perfect husband! Little did I know that my contempt towards Ken and how I thought he should act were ruining my chance of having a happy marriage.

The article's conclusion is that kindness is the glue that holds couples together. It is always a bit amusing to me when science concludes what the Bible teaches, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you {Ephesians 4:32}. I Corinthians 13, the great love chapter, explains the definition of love as being patient and kind. You aren't being patient and kind towards your husband if you are manipulating him, always upset with him or trying to control him.

The article concludes with these words  ~

For the hundreds of thousands of couples getting married each June - and for the millions of couples currently together, married or not - the lesson from the research is clear: If you want to have a stable, healthy relationship, exercise kindness early and often.

In most marriages, levels of satisfaction drop dramatically within the first few years together. But among couples who not only endure, but live happily together for years and years, the spirit of kindness and generosity guides them forward.

In conclusion, women, obey God. Love your husband. 
God's definition of love is to be patient and kind!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Husband Transformation Strategy?

A very popular Christian radio broadcast recently had a psychologist on and they were discussing loneliness in marriages and the high rate of divorce, even among Christians. It's not as high as secular marriages but about ten points below; still way too high. They were saying that marriages break down over time and many women divorce their husbands after the children are gone because they are lonely, not happy, and their husbands aren't meeting their needs.

So what is this psychologist's remedy? Husbands need to learn how to be intimate with their wives. They need to learn to talk about emotions and feelings.  Most women are resentful towards their husbands because they feel lonely and unhappy. Their needs aren't being met by their husbands so this psychologist gives help in what he terms "husband transformation strategy."

Women are more in tune with their feelings and emotions so they are the ones the husbands should learn from. If a wife is contentious, as the Bible describes in Proverbs, it is the husband's fault because he has made her resentful by not making her happy. Men are dense and if their wives are withdrawing, disobeying them, and withholding sex, it should be a clear signal to them that they need to learn from their wives and win them back since resentment makes wives angry and mean.

In fact, the wives are so miserable that they are leaving their husbands at 60 and 65 years of age; something he NEVER use to see in his practice. "I am so miserable that I would rather live alone, break my kid's hearts, shatter my grandkid's hearts. I don't care. I'm so unhappy...I'd rather live alone."

He does state that being unhappy and not having your needs met is NOT a reason to get divorced but I believe his solution is very, very sad. Yes, just blame the husbands on everything and teach them to be the wife's help meet? This is not the biblical solution at all!

The biblical solution is for older women to teach the young women to love and be obedient to their husbands. Learn what pleases them. Wives are even called to reverence their husbands. Withdrawing, disobeying, and withholding sex are SINS!!! These wives are in blatant sin, yet the psychologist blames the lack of intimacy on the husbands. Oh, if only the husbands will become more emotional and sensitive then the wives will become great wives? Baloney!

Christian wives are their husband's help meet, not vice versa. We should go to our girlfriends if we want sensitivity in our emotional support. {Yes, some husbands are sensitive and emotional and that is great, but it shouldn't be a requirement from a husband in order to be happy or not. Men are men. They are wired differently than women for a reason and we must appreciate their differences instead of trying to change them into women.} Wives need to learn to accept their husbands just the way that they are and learn to become godly and submissive, adapting themselves to their husbands. This teaching from a Christian radio program is helping to destroy marriages by setting up unrealistic expectations, in my opinion.  

Listen, I am all for husbands living with their wives in an understanding way and learning what it means to have intimate communications and connected lives. However, there is zero prescription in the Bible that puts the burdens on husbands to find the many ways that will make a wife happy and meet those perceived needs. The concept that a wife can decide what her needs are and how a husband is to meet them is a fallacy perpetuated on marriages within the church and it needs to stop. If we are going to have great Christian marriages, we must seek to do things God's ways, not placing an impossible burden on one person to make another person happy. Happiness comes from a choice, not another person; from living out one's own values, not from getting something from another. And yes, we always hope and pray that our husband loves us as Christ loves the church, but last I checked, Christ isn't trying to get in touch with our feelings. He wants us in touch with His Word and obedience.

 True "Husband Transformation Strategy" is given in I Peter 3:1, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives." There it is women! It's not insisting that your husband make you happy by meeting your emotional needs. It's by becoming godly in all of your behavior; loving your husband, serving your husband, pleasing your husband. If you continue to insist that your husband meet your needs you may NEVER be happy. We must find happiness where it can be found in living out our own values of serving Jesus. After all, it is all about Him, is it not? For the greatest of all is the servant of all.