Being a Woman Who Lets a Man be a Man.

I’ve been tossing this idea around for a few months now, debating on my courage to step out and write a blog about it. I was holding back from posting because I didn’t have the answers I thought I should have; I wanted to present a new idea with new passion and new revelation. 

But the truth is: I have no idea. I do not have a firm grasp on what it was intended to be, how we’ve messed it up, or how to progress out of it. Please, though, can we just talk about it? Because honestly, does anyone know? 

Femininity. Masculinity. 

Has our inability as women to walk in femininity resulted in the quenching of men’s ability to walk in masculinity? 

ility, inity, ility, inity…. What does this even mean? 

Here’s what I am trying to get at. Ladies, how often do we complain that our men aren’t stepping up?

He’s not pursuing me.

I wish he would be a spiritual leader.

I’m sick of asking him to do things all the time.

Why can’t men step up and be men?

Whatever happened to chivalry?

I’m guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty of condemning men for their lack of stepping up, for remaining passive instead of walking in the fullness of their masculinity. I was frustrated and began losing hope that such a man even existed.

But then I was extremely humbled when forced to search my own heart and actions and realize that maybe I had something to do with it. As I began thinking about past relationships and interactions with men, I realize that maybe I wasn’t giving them a fair opportunity to step up.

I would initiate conversation…but be confused as to why they’d never text me first.

I would send the vibe that I can do it all by myself…but be frustrated when a man wouldn’t help.

I would give myself freely to prohibit any chance they had of pursuit… but get upset that they weren’t pursuing me.

Well, duh.  Are we understanding what I’m getting at here?

Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying it’s completely our fault, for the fruit of the fall is passivity of men.

                     “Let me ask you a question: Where is Adam, while the serpent is tempting Eve? He’s standing right there: “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Gen 3:6). The Hebrew for “with her” means right there, elbow to elbow. Adam isn’t away in another part of the forest; he has no alibi. He is standing right there, watching the whole thing unravel. What does he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing… He won’t risk, he won’t fight, and he won’t rescue Eve. Our first father- the first real man- gave in to paralysis. He denied his very nature and went passive. And every man after him…carries in his heart now the same failure.” – John Eldredge, Wild at Heart 

There’s also a fruit of the fall that affects us as women.

                      “Fallen Eve controls her relationships. She refuses to be vulnerable. And if she cannot secure her relationships, then she kills her heart’s longing for intimacy so that she will be safe and in control…but beneath it all, behind it all is a simple truth: women dominate and control because they fear their vulnerability…That self-protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real loving, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God.” Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

 So, yes, there is a “natural tendency” due to the fall for men to be passive and for women to be controlling. But that’s not how it was originally intended! I guess the questions bids, then, how do we, as children under the new covenant of Christ, overcome? More specifically, how do we as women encourage and exhort our brothers, fathers, and lovers to walk in the fullness of their masculinity?

 Like I said at the beginning, I really don’t know. I do think, though, that when we as daughters:

a) allow our Father to heal our past wounds

b) recognize our beauty and worth

c) walk confidently in our God-given femininity

We will create an environment in which men can thrive in walking fully in their God-given masculinity.

 There’s so much grace for us; it’s a journey! We’re probably going to mess up sometimes. But, oh how the body of Christ could thrive as sons and daughters step into fullness!

Let’s be intentional.

Let’s pray for each other.  

Let’s speak life into situations.

Let’s pursue our Heavenly King and Shepherd together.

Let’s learn to love well.

 Amen.

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32 thoughts on “Being a Woman Who Lets a Man be a Man.

  1. Great article!! Kudos to you my friend, I am sure both learning and writing was a bit challenging. I can say personally at least, I have learned a lot of things the hard way, as pride has made things difficult for me. But I have greatly benefited from reading this, and I have no doubt many more will. God bless you so much! I am looking forward to reading more of what you have to say.

  2. Men have always run everything from controlling the women to making war. All that women want now is legal equality. That should not threaten any man. Actually, there are many feminist men. In harmony and peace.

  3. Sierra … “courage to step out ” is part of redemptive writing, walking out our journey; and living out / telling our story. You wrote “how we’ve messed it up, or how to progress out of it”. Men must take courage, step out with courage. Men have (also) “messed it up”, need to be reminded of the question, “how do we progress out of ‘it’ …?” At the core is Adam’s silence, a decision to not advocate for / protect the most important woman in his life. Women choose not to not let a man be a man. Women choose to let a man be a man. A man does not protect, advocate, love / respect the woman / women in his world, and sometimes blame the woman for not letting a man be the man he intends to be. Some women go to an unhealthy place: result, unfathomably complex problems. We, men & women, have a profound mess. Hope lies in God’s profound forgiveness / redemptive work. Hope is found with men who step out in courage, who love well. Hope is found in a man who fights for / with the woman with … integrity, fairness, and safety. Last piece. Maybe because how I am wired, or because of the damage I have sustained, I have been psychologically abused by more women than I can count. I acknowledge control issues that countless women operate with. My pain runs deep. If I process that pain fully, I must acknowledge that many men have exploited women, abused women, dismissed women at different times over the centuries. But women must respond, perhaps by attempting to entering this process of diverse tension that you are bringing to the table. Apologize for my passion and my many words that got the best of me in this reply. Great post.

  4. Great post! Thanks to Disciples Perspective for re-blogging it.
    This idea is similar to the one on submission. Yeah, that doesn’t get a lot of “Amen’s” from the female crowd. And I don’t stand on a pedestal in that area because I’ve struggled immensely with that one. Immensely. But I think submission to Yahweh’s plan for male and female, brings completion and wholeness. That submission can’t be done without Love, without Him.

  5. I lived the exact same situation almost twenty years ago when I met my husband. I had a very hard time adjusting to “being cared for and loved unconditionally”. He is an old fashioned man. While I was raised to fend for myself. He opens doors, carries groceries and helps me with my coat, still. I was scared of the love he showered on me and felt the well of my heart too dry to absorb all that was given freely to me. I had to learn to watch what I said because a simple exclamation of delight (I love Gershwin) would end up in a future gift (Gershwin Concert only weeks later). While we walk, he continually pivots around me so I am away from the traffic! We have been married for seventeen years and I am still in awe of the love he showers on me and our little one. He is a giver like all men are meant to be. As such, I am learning to graciously accept his gifts and pray that I can be a good wife for him.

  6. This is worth thinking about. Incidentally, the fact that the Hebrew for ‘with her’ (‘immah) means ‘by’ or ‘elbow to elbow’ does not necessarily imply that Adam was there all along, but only that he had to be near Eve at the point of his own temptation. Leupold suggests that the positioning of this phrase after the account of Eve’s fall is a strong reason for believing Adam was not there while Eve was being tempted.

  7. Interesting perspective, but the bottom line is, I have to be me, relatively liberated, female me. I let my man be himself and it mostly works (though I’ve been having a tough time of it lately). He let’s me be me, I let him be him. I don’t think women need to work harder at letting their men be men, each of us needs to work harder to be the people we were meant to be. The only one that stands in my way is me. The same goes for my husband.

  8. I’m a bit uncomfortable with the assertion that ‘stepping up’ and being assertive is an automatically masculine trait whereas dropping hints and employing subtlety is exclusively feminine. Further, to suggest that all men are somehow failing their man tests and being too passive isn’t a reflection of reality.

    People come in such marked variety and difference, showing wildly variable characteristics and quirks between them. To say that men are X, women are Y, men should be more X, women should be more Y, is a disservice to how people actually behave – as individuals, divorced from any external perception of how they should behave. Of course, we perform gender roles, but I’m confident they are just that – performances. So if you’re frustrated at the men in your life who are too passive, then don’t accuse them of not being men. Accuse them of being passive. Don’t complain about their manliness. In the same way, I don’t complain about any perceived lack of ‘femininity’ from my female friends. If some of them are hard headed or brutish, it doesn’t make them lesser women, it makes them hard headed or brutish people. People are people, not their genders.

    Thanks for the read.

  9. Sierra,

    Thanks for posting this, with your openness and honesty. It’s a good way to get an important discussion started.

    “A woman who lets a man be a man”: anyone can be a barrier to someone else by being stubborn, but it will not do us much good to shift blame to women who are merely living out the cultural patterns they have been trained in, through no fault of their own.

    The fact is, for all those little things that were mentioned (like girls initiating the relationship with young men, or a woman being very self-sufficient with a career) – these are not beyond the capacity of men to be aware of. If a man enters a relationship with a woman who is living cultural patterns that will be a barrier to him becoming the full man he was meant to be – that’s his own foolish choice.

    Or, for those coming late into the game, and are already married, when it comes to making the best of circumstances already established, that’s up to the man to make happen, also.

    We have to recognize that the presence of these kinds of cultural patterns do not absolve men of the responsibility they have in family life; if they did it would contradict the whole notion that there is something a man ought to be in the first place.

    It is a virtuous thing for a woman to endeavor to move out of her husband’s way so that he can reach the full stature of manhood. But it is better all around for the husband to recognize the need for this and seek to make it so himself.

  10. Brave words from one willing to show vulnerability in a battle. I think women are unaware of the degree of fear men live under in relating with women. They have largely been cowed into submission by the accusation sexist.

  11. Great read and certainly raises some very valid points and answers as I’m also always wondering why men won’t be manly men and women be all woman as God intended for both sexes.

  12. Sounds like a cop-out to me.

    Women have ALWAYS been in control of who they breed with and what the next generation of men will grow up to be. You have a problem with men? Look in the mirror for the culprit.
    In some areas of America 80% of the children born are born to single mothers. Great planning there girls. Supernatural baloney and talking snakes have nothing to do with anything but your particular flavor of dissociation. Real men want Real women. Women who are not strong enough to make it on their own are dead weight in a relationship.

  13. Reblogged this on Jesus Made Me Do It and commented:
    I randomly stumbled across this post by means of another blogger. It is quite the read for women…and men alike. It is very interesting to hear a woman’s perspective on this matter and shows a great deal of humility from the writer. I honestly learned a lot myself as man in seeing it from a woman’s perspective.

  14. This was a great read and thank you for sharing and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It is amazing how easily people shy away from an issue simply because they don’t understand it. When really, all we have to do is humble ourselves and admit we don’t have all the answers. That enables God to bring new revelation. I believe by this blog you are closer to understanding the very thing you asked. Thank you for sharing and God bless!

  15. I would like to bring to your attention to the fact that the “women desire to dominate and control men” is NOT the traditional interpretation of Genesis 3:16. Susan Foh introduced that interpretation in the 1970s in an effort to fight 2nd wave feminism. However, prior to that time, that was NOT the interpretation used or accepted by Biblical scholars and/or translators. Author Luma Simms explains that here.

    http://www.gospelgrace.net/2013/04/25/a-plea-for-the-church-to-return-to-a-historic-understanding-of-genesis-316/#comments

    Complimentarian author, Wendy Aslup, explains it extremely well on her site too.

    http://www.theologyforwomen.org/2013/04/a-new-wave-of-complementarianism.html

    More specifically, how do we as women encourage and exhort our brothers, fathers, and lovers to walk in the fullness of their masculinity?

    1. Christian women should study and learn from the examples of our Biblical fore-mothers. How did these women encourage and exhort their brothers, fathers and husbands? – Esther, Huldah, Lydia, Rahab, Midwives, Dorcas, Phoebe, Deborah, Wise Woman of Abel, Women who travel with Jesus, Mary & Martha, Anna, Queen of Sheba, Priscilla, Abigail, Zipporah, Pilate’s wife, Parable of wise virgin, Mother of Jesus, Syrophonetician woman, Rufus’ mother, Eunice & Lois, Rizpah, Moses’ mother, Bathsheba, Hannah, Women who came to Solomon…

    Several women teach us what NOT to do: Sapphira, Zeresh, Job’s wife, Jezebel, Solomon’s wives, Parable of foolish virgins

    Our Biblical fore-mothers have a lot to show us about how we should and shouldn’t encourage and exhort our brothers, fathers and husbands if only we take the time and effort needed to study their examples and contributions rather than omit, dismiss or trivialize them.

    2. What does the Bible teach about encouraging and exhorting one another? We are so quick to think about gender roles and forget about personhood. There are principles concerning encouragement and exhortation that we should all live by regardless of gender. 1 The 5:11, 1 Thes 4:18, 2 Tim 4:2, Heb 3:13, 2 Cor 13:11, 2 Thes 3:12, Heb 10:24 …

  16. This is wonderful food for thought, wtg .I am a 42 husband and father of 5,Im divorced and remarried. My 1st wife divorced me after 16 years. If it weren’t for the strong, confident woman that picked me up, dusted me off and proclaimed a love for me that made me able to live again, I truly don’t know what kind of man I would be today, just saying. It is God’s divine wisdom that placed this new lady in my life. We were married in Sept.2009 and in Jan.2010 , I was diagnosed with Hodgekins Lymphoma(cancer). Imagine if you will the, hardship I would have went through still married to the ex-wife going through cancer and her trying to tear my family apart because she no longer wanted to be my wife. The ex-wife would have lacked the ability to handle the situation with the care needed. However God in His ultimate wisdom, knew exactly who to place in my life and how to heal me of a broken heart, so I could face the real threat to my life , and how to strengthen me to deal with cancer. I am now cancer free(Glory to God) and the new wife and I are leaders in our church. While getting treatments I couldn’t work so my faithful, confident, new wife has been carrying my family for a couple years now. We have now been married 4 yrs. and to let her tell it , she IS blessed everyday for having a loving , caring husband like me. Funny that’s EXACTLY how I feel about her and I don’t let a day go by without letting her know what she means to me. So while I sincerely agree with you about this blog, I am a first hand recipient of life from a mans perspective, with both a strong woman who no longer loves you and a strong woman who loves you.

    If it pleases you visit this site leave a comment share this blog; What IF…..?
    rikener180.wordpress.com

    And please visit this site and share this with everyone you know, GOD BLESS YOU IN ALL YOU DO.

  17. Each one of us is different….. That being said, God has most certainly given each one of us a task to complete in our own lives.
    He has laid this subject on my heart as well, not only on a small scale in my own home but on a larger scale as well. I just started to blog. Eventually, there will be hints of this “gender battle” in the future.
    Even though there are many variables when it comes to people, God never changes. Believers really need to acknowledge this and seek God about personal questions.
    As for Ms. Ravished Heart Journey, in what God has revealed to me (in my brokenness & despite my sinful human nature), you are right on point. God bless your sweet heart, dear one. Bask in your womanhood, the woman God created you to be. Forget about what others say if it is against what you know is true-God’s Word. If you are unsure, ask Him. If you ask Him, He will tell you. Although, sometimes we MUST be prepared to get the response we don’t want.
    Much Love

    MOpal

  18. This is a very interesting post. I agree somewhat…and disagree as well. I think it boils down to honesty. There are women who have very little femininity and the are men with very little masculinity and vice versa. You have to establish, early on in a relationship, the role breakdown. There isn’t a canned answer or template for femininity or masculinity. It about what you are comfortable with. There are many instances where, based on parental relationships, the levels of F/M will vary.

    It’s also important to know what your own levels are and what levels of F/M you are willing to accept in a partner.

    Thanks for this post. It’s a good topic to think about.

  19. I always think back to part of a Lori Wick book (The Knight and the Dove). The main female character is constantly pointing out what the man is doing wrong. His aunt finally tells her that if she wants him to ever show her the kind of respect and love she longs for, she has to quit “bludgeoning his pride.”

    We as females are often too quick to point out all that is wrong in a man instead of building him up. It is partially our fault… if you make someone feel small, chances are good that they will act small. If we want males to “step up and be men,” we should stop treating them so negatively and give them the same respect we want to be given. Try making big deals out the good things he does instead of berating him for every little bad thing. You can’t expect a man to want to pursue you, be chivalrous, be a leader etc. if you’re constantly bludgeoning his pride!

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