Ladies, you ever feel like you’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to achieving something with men, or even maintaining positive relationships with them? As a women myself, I thought I should speak to what I know first, my own gender. Intelligent men, you may want to listen in to gain insight for your relationships as well. Just as slavery or polygamy used to be a normal part of life in times of old, imbedded into the culture of the day, so are some of our attitudes about gender. Positive or negative, these attitudes affect us in a major way. Studies have shown that societies where poverty and crime is rampant, so women are treated unfairly and oftentimes, abusively.

Most of those who are reading this are not living on the streets under such conditions, but sometimes our attitudes contribute to this kind of slippery slope. Regardless of what you believe about women’s roles in any strata of society, let’s take another look at the behaviors of women in the church, in business, and in our everyday interactions with men. We have to understand that men are not the only ones who contribute to unjust conditions for women. What about our part, ladies? Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?

Here are 5 habits I believe, can greatly improve our relationships with men:

1. Refuse to engage in male bashing. Ok, I know that some of you are kind of like, “duh.” It is not hard to understand that if we want to be treated with respect, we have to respect the male species. However, male bashing has become so common that it is a pretty socially acceptable practice. How do you know if you’re male bashing? If you lump all males into one category and make a blanket statement that clearly does not apply to all males. Having fun laughing with men about male issues is not a problem, but if it hurts, please stop this destructive habit. The men in your life may not act like they care, but they do.

2. Do not avoid talking to men. I have encountered this strange attitude firsthand and have to work to constantly to correct myself. Why do we shy away from one another? Men do it to women, and women do it to men, usually without even realizing it. I think it basically comes from fear. We, especially Christians, fear that a conversation with a person of the opposite sex will lead to a physical attraction of some type or that we will be leading someone on. It is true that the more sexually perverted the culture is, the more this will naturally remain a fear. But among brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be the ones who stand out, able to have relationships of all kinds– healthy ones, as we model these to the onlooking world. We have to mature in our marital relationships to the point that we are not paranoid of an imminent affair, but that we can share openly about all our relationships with people. I’m not saying we don’t need any safeguards. What I am saying is that fear can keep us from some very healthy and helpful relationships. And for us women, fear can keep us from having a positive effect on the men in our lives.

3. Do not shrink back from disagreeing with a man. Now, I realize that some of you have no problem with this. Some of you may need to just simmer down a little bit. But many women struggle with feeling free to communicate their opinions in a way that is strong, but not defensive. Many women tend to ask a question when it is in their heart to make a statement. Their home culture may have taught them that their voice is small, weak, or even insignificant. You may not have a booming voice or a commanding presence, but your thoughts are important. Your viewpoint is worth being considered. Refuse to believe the lie that you don’t count. Learn to be comfortable with your own unique voice, whether others agree or not, you owe it to everyone to be fully you.

4. Learn how to communicate honestly with your spouse. The first and closest relationship ever invented, between a husband and wife, is where our culture truly begins. If we cannot learn respect, honesty, and mutual submission in the home, we will find ourselves unable to extend it to anyone else. Is your spouse uncomfortable with you talking to someone of the opposite sex or listening to your opinions? Talk about it, find out some of the underlying causes. Get counseling if necessary. This relationship is of prime importance.

5. Relax. Sometimes we need to just remember that men are human too. We all have things we just don’t get about the opposite sex. We all have our own, individual, funny little idiosyncrasies. We also have similar experiences as members of the human race. If we look a little deeper, we will find that we have more in common with men than we thought at first glance. If we can all remind ourselves that we are humans with weaknesses, blindnesses, and mistakes, it will make for a better world as a whole.

Our culture has put a huge emphasis on romantic relationships with the opposite gender. We have tended to neglect the other myriad of types of mixed relationships that can occur: mother/son, dad/daughter, employer/employee, peer/peer, brother/sister, etc. Christ followers, let’s not allow the world set the bar for us on these other important relationships. Let it be said of us, “We recognize them by their love.”

Thoughts, opinions? I’d love to hear regardless of your gender!

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Comments
  1. Cathy says:

    I love being a woman. That does not mean I act helpless and stupid. I enjoy help from my husband and whatever man wants to respect my femininity that way. Men aren’t respecting my femininity if they treat me as a lesser person.
    Why is the gender thing still such an issue in some churches? Jesus broke the gender standards of his day… by talking privately with the ‘woman’ at the well; by standing up for the woman caught in adultery (did he do it by naming the men in the sand that she was involved with also?), by honoring his mother and doing what she asked, even though it wasn’t time for his ministry to be released yet…
    Jesus did come to set us free, right?
    Thank you Leigh for following in Jesus’ footsteps and helping us to walk in our freedom with love and humility. Those are wonderful traits for both genders to have.

    • I’m not religious myself but I’m glad to hear that feminism is not fundamentally unsuitable with Christianity. Often people use religion as an argument that it’s wrong to defend gender equality. It’s good to hear a differing opinion from a Christian!

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