During the week of the Democratic Convention where Hillary Clinton accepted the party’s nomination for President, a friend slipped me an article about “How to Help Women Learn Their Place” from a website called Biblical Gender Roles and how to ensure/force/help women learn their place. Initially, while watching a woman run for the highest, most powerful office in the world, I could not believe what I was reading, although I was indoctrinated this way in my family’s church.
In my opinion, The Bible is a guide to shepherd us through the times that we live in. Many parts of the Bible can be taken literally, such as “Thou shalt not kill.” However, parts of the Bible can be interpreted to meet the challenging times that we live in. Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong in this thinking, it’s what you personally choose to govern your life and relationships. So if you say I am wrong, then you’re already wrong for saying it.
Yes, without a doubt the Bible does emphatically say that women have a place and a role in the lives of the man they marry and the families that they raise. However, I question that the tenets of the Bible are still applicable in this day and age where women are expected to work as much as or more than some men. It seems the roles should evolve with the times. Examples are found on the Biblical Gender Roles site:
She is not loud or boisterous but instead she is quiet and meek.
“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” – Proverbs 9:13 (KJV)
She is ambitious to be a wife, mother and homemaker.
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)
She protects her virginity for marriage and does not manipulate men with her sexuality,
“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.” – Proverbs 6:26 (KJV)
Is this practical? The roles for men and women were outlined in the Bible yet the world has changed drastically since then. Before we men jump up and down and scream, “See, I told you so” to our spouses, remember this fine quote from the site All About God:
“[T]he role of the husband in the Bible starts with leadership but encompasses provision and protection. A husband will never influence his wife if he does not care for her. He can demand and she may follow as a result, but he will never truly have her heart unless he provides for her needs, cares for her well-being, and protects her both physically and spiritually. The physical nature and strength of a man is to be managed with grace and gentleness. God did not create men to lord over women nor did he create women to simply wait on men. He made them both to complement each other through healthy companionship.”
The Bible admonishes men as follow: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).
Simply put, while you can want one opinion without the other (she should obey me first), or be ignorant in your approach (“she must obey me even if I degrade her”) the world doesn’t work that way, and not just because many women can out think us, or out earn us, but because it simply isn’t fair. It’s not what you should want in or for someone you care for; for someone who you want to be with you voluntarily; or who you want to bring out the best in you. Don’t we all want that? Don’t you want that for your daughters?
As man evolves—sometimes very slowly in determining gender roles—it is imperative that we demand things from ourselves such as compromise and ensure (not enforce) sound, loving, cooperative partnership(s). A good place to start is by asking her, WHAT SHE WANTS, believe it or not, there are still women who want the “traditional Biblical role” and there are women who want that with some minor or major changes. If you want that special woman to share her life with you, the evolved man understands that and is prepared to compromise, to listen, to care and to ensure that she is also happy.
My Grandmother and Mother were both “God-Fearing Women” and quite frankly the women in black families have always played a leadership role. Why, you ask? Slavery. The men could not protect them under the master’s lash so they had to adjust to lead. In today’s world, with many men (black and others) not finding jobs, two-parent homes disintegrating, and women working and raising their children alone, we can’t rationally expect women to “fall in line” behind us.
The women who raised me taught me to cook, clean, iron, and sew. Primarily because I may not find a mate. In developing those skill sets, I do some of those things better or as well as most women. I use these skill sets to “support” the women I have been lucky enough to love. If she cooks, I will go wash the dishes (or I will cook and wash the dishes), I can iron her blouse or skirt if we are both rushing out to an event or to a meeting; if you love the woman you’re with, helping her, nurturing her makes her feel safe, she will trust you.
I am reminded every time that I go to the bathroom that I am a man (looking down helps, just don’t hit the toilet seat fella’s) for me personally, there is no “win” in attempting to subjugate the woman I have asked (or been chosen by) to share my life with. For those of you who are reading this that are a bit more Cro-magnon than I am, I will break it down like this: Doing these things for the woman you love increases your chances of having sex with her.
Outside of this Biblical context, understanding and empathizing with the struggle of women, not just in the Western World, but globally makes us better men. In speaking with some business colleagues and friends in India we talked about the perspective of women internationally and how in Muslim countries women are terrified of their kids being recruited by ISIS, or how 8/10 Saudi women go to therapists because they can’t rationalize their Western Educations with the fact that they don’t have rights (like being allowed to drive). The statistics clearly show (and you can’t argue the numbers) According to the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, Greater gender equality can enhance economic productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions and policies more representative. As men are you telling me the best that we can offer women is you must “stay in your lane?” I think not.
Luke 6:31 New International Version (NIV) “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” is one of those higher tenants in the Bible. I believe strongly that this applies to the women we love. Treat them how you would like to be treated. Besides, if you look at the history of women and how they wish to be portrayed and viewed, they are going to change this “subjugation” mindset whether you like it or not. Best to go with the flow gentlemen. A trusted female friend summed it up best, “Find the right mate for you. If she isn’t the kind of woman who wants to submit, pick something else, dude. Don’t pick a strong woman if you know that’s not want you want and then use the bible to beat her into submission.” A Woman’s place is in your heart, understand her motivations and how you can help and support her. You will find that the “place” she will want to be in, is any place with you in it.
More on 21st-Century Christian Manhood by Franklin Madison
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