This Blog Is Better Than The Notebook
Have you noticed that every romantic movie, aimed at women, now claims in big letters on the box that “This movie is better than The Notebook!”? It’s annoying and also a red flag that the movie is going to be a let down. I didn’t enjoy The Notebook, but if I did I would be super wary of these new releases claiming to be the heir apparent.
Today’s topic is women. When trying to think of some catchy title for the blog all I could think of was that movie and one thought led to another and BAM – bad blog title. The first paragraph was just a segway between the meaningless title of this blog and the actual body.
Not sure if lingo will be a problem today, but I really feel prompted to share this. More specifically than women is the idea of womanhood. What Larry Crabb calls femininity. What God designed women to be. Several months ago I listened to a conference Dr. Crabb gave regarding masculinity and femininity. It’s been awhile, but if memory serves, he formulates his definitions from the Hebrew roots of male and female in Genesis.
Biblical masculinity remembers God and creates order by entering into darkness and chaos. That is strength, overcoming fear to make the first steps. In the garden, Adam broke from the mold God made for him by standing silently and passively by while Eve was tempted.
For women, Dr. Crabb defines femininity as the ability to reveal the invitational nature of God. True masculinity and femininity complement each other to form intimacy in varying degrees depending upon the nature of the relationship.
In my life this has been a struggle that I’ve been unaware of until recently. How do I respond to true biblical womanhood? Examples have been for the most part lacking in my life. My mom manipulates (Now let me make a disclaimer: after my blogs regarding my dad I had some a comment to the effect – I’m sure your dad was doing the best he could. That is totally true. My parents love me and I love them, of that I have no doubt. This is just observation, not judgment.) Mom will manipulate by making comments, then if you respond she will say “Oh, I was just kidding.” She’ll exaggerate. She is the queen of expecting you to read between the lines and know what she wants and if you don’t she’ll be hurt. Manipulative femininity.
I had an inappropriate relationship with someone who used her femininity for evil. To seduce and destroy. (Again a disclaimer: in no way am I shirking my responsibility for my actions. Only stating the reality that I was not alone in doing wrong.) Destructive femininity.
My wife, because of her own struggles, tends to hold me at a distance. Intimacy is not possible because she has not accepted herself as a loved and valuable daughter of God. Despite her stated desires that we be close, she still has the first impulse to run. Unapproachable femininity.
For differing reasons and to varying degrees, each of these struggles to reveal the invitational nature of God. As I make the journey from passivity to strength, as I have detailed before, it become important for me to respond appropriately to femininity.
Having little exposure to that has taught me to respond selfishly. With my wife I developed expectations and demands of her behavior. In the case of my mom, I attempt to please her to gain approval. And I responded to the seductive femininity by selfishly attempting to be my own god.
Case in point, my wife has a friend who does not like to hug. For whatever reason. But I do. In fact, I am a very affectionate person, so in this area we are diametrically opposed. So, I’ve hugged her anyway. Joked about it, even told her that maybe I can teach her to enjoy a hug. In effect, I made the entire interaction about me. “If she liked me, she’d hug me.” This is obviously not true, but instead of looking to all the ways she shows her friendship, I used this one thing as a litmus test.
Bottom line is that if I am going to become strong, biblical man then I need to be able to remember who God is, face my own fears, and be able to communicate through word and action the purposes of God. That is not a selfish endeavor. In fact, it is considerable other-centered. It is the example left by Christ. Doing the will of God rather than your own will, eyes focused on the things of God rather than the things of man. Submitting to Him. Denying myself.
With women in particular, it means taking words as face value. Being grateful for complements and praise rather than feeling guilty. It means respecting boundaries. For me and my wife, it means that I set boundaries, not withdraw, and do my best to step forward and provide order and security in her world at the level appropriate for a husband. I’m not to be her god, I am to serve her and serve God.
None of this may make sense to whoever is reading this blog. A lot of the thoughts are a combination of stuff I’ve read, counseling sessions, and a Larry Crabb lecture series. It’s a blog so I left a lot undefined. That’s OK. Skip on to yesterday’s, it is better with a more meaningful title. But in these last few paragraphs I think I figured out why God wanted me to type this out today. My fears have defined more that just my relationship with God. I knew that, but I’ve just seen how. More than ever I am choosing to trust.