Last week my office buddy said he needed some advice. An old college friend was coming into town for a single night, and it was their last chance to hang out before the friend was deployed. The problem was, my coworker’s girlfriend was leaving town the next day for a short business trip. His question? “Should I hang out with my friend, or stay home with my girlfriend?” I thought he was joking. When I laughed and started to go back to work, he protested. He really didn’t know what to do.
When I told him to ditch the girl and hang out with the friend, he was skeptical. Apparently this kind of thing happened a few months ago, and the girlfriend was bitter about it for weeks. That’s when it occurred to me: Women are insane.
Not all of us are that crazy, but every once in a while I hear a story about what someone’s girlfriend/sister/wife/friend did, and I can’t help but disbelieve. I hear stories of girls pouting and nagging to manipulate weekend plans. A grown woman giving a man the silent treatment because he said something she didn’t like (But will she say what it was? Nope). I just don’t get it. When did it become okay to treat our peers with such disdain?
The sad part is, this is a very small consequence of a much bigger problem. Men aren’t the only ones who are bullied into decisions or teased for the way they dress. When a woman dresses provocatively, people say she was asking for it. But no one seems to have an excuse for what happens to the men in our lives. Between jokes about being whipped and needing to “man up,” it’s a wonder any men bother to show leadership, humility, weakness, or strength. No matter what they do, someone will likely chide them for it.
As a single young woman hoping to see all four of those qualities show up in a future husband, this subject is especially near to my heart. So many times I’ve heard my single friends wonder, “Where have all the men gone?” or “Why are there no good women around?” Short answer: We chased them away.
It’s time to stand up and treat one another like human beings. Where is the respect, honor, and love that once circulated like a fresh breeze? If women have been reduced to objects in push-ups, then men have been reduced to the statue of David—cold, strong, unmoving, and unfeeling. I don’t want to live in a world where it’s just fine to manipulate your boyfriend into staying home with you. I don’t want to have to manipulate any one, any time!
Too many people are unhappy in their lives not because they are single or lonely, but because we do not have social practices of building one another up. People are shocked that divorce rates are climbing and single parenthood numbers are increasing, but no one wants to change how we treat one another. Many women say they want a romantic man like Noah in The Notebook or Wesley in The Princess Bride. Yet in the same breath they will tease a man for not being “man enough” to grow a full beard.
If you can’t tell, this subject gets me riled up. I’m not exactly a feminist, but I definitely believe that everyone—men and women alike—has the potential to be awesome. And when someone prevents another person’s potential from being realized, I think I can hear God crying. We are supposed to love each other. It’s not supposed to be a race to see who is the biggest and the strongest; it’s a marathon relay with our peers as teammates. That means building one another up in as many ways as possible, become a support to friends of both genders, and give spiritual and intellectual encouragement whenever possible.
In case you’re curious, here’s how we should treat one another:
With humility (Philippians 2:3)
Don’t think of anyone as a rival. No one person is better than another, and no matter how many times we try to do something to show our superiority, it will never feel as good as volunteering for a charity. Humbling yourself before others is a great way to make the world a better place.
With honor (Romans 12:10b)
Joy doesn’t come from proving you are smarter, richer, or better-dressed than another person. It comes from friendships and camaraderie built on honoring those around us.
With love (John 15:12)
You don’t have to jump in front of a speeding bullet to prove your love. You don’t even have to post it on YouTube or as a Facebook post. Treating people with love is as simple as the Golden Rule.
If you know someone who would be encouraged by this post, will you email it to them?
Photo credit: feministjulie