Ladies, do you wish your man would get off his butt and get some things done without having to be told? Men, do you wish your woman would get off your back and quit nagging you? If you are married or in a long-term relationship you know exactly what I’m talking about here. So who is ultimately responsible for breaking out of this all too common downward relationship spiral? The man, or the woman?
Recently, a female friend of mine opened a can of worms on her Facebook page, saying if more women acted like women, then more men would have the opportunity to be men. The reaction was mostly positive, but some questioned her sentiment, wondering if maybe there wasn’t too much cultural baggage associated with telling someone to act like anyone other than themselves. After all, what does it mean to act like a woman or a man?
Her point to women was simply this: If you’re wondering where all the good men are, or more specifically, if you want your man to step up and “be a man,” then you need to step into your feminine power as a woman. Get out of the way. Don’t be a hindrance to what, ultimately, will benefit you. Instead, help and encourage him. You’ll be much better off.
Relationships Are a Dance
I love Dancing With the Stars. I haven’t seen this week’s episode yet, but it’s on the DVR waiting for Mindy and I to have a spare moment to enjoy it (my money is on Nastia and Derek). I love watching the stars – some of whom can’t dance at all – develop into competent dancers.
But what’s particularly fascinating to me is how the female professional dancers teach their rookie male dance partners to lead.
A dance doesn’t work unless one partner is leading and the other following. The woman can lead, but usually, the man leads and the woman follows. It doesn’t mean she is any less valuable, less important, or less critical to the dance. It doesn’t mean she can’t lead or is incapable of leading. On the contrary, she is quite capable of leading, much moreso than her rookie male partner! But the dance just doesn’t work if he doesn’t lead and she doesn’t follow. It looks awkward at best, and it’s a train wreck at worst.
Relationships are much the same way. The problem today is, a lot of guys think the music has stopped. And the ladies are throwing their hands up, wondering why they are being left alone on the dance floor.
Embracing Masculine and Feminine Polarity
The point my friend made on her Facebook page is, I believe, a critical one for us today. Telling women to act like women is not a judgment on the necessary advances of the feminist movement. It is simply an acknowledgement of the polarity of masculinity and femininity. And we need to embrace this polarity if we are to have less fear, less hurt, and more satisfying, fulfilling relationships.
I believe masculinity is a “thing” and femininity is a “thing.” I believe they are both woven into the fabric of the universe. And I believe they have utterly transcendent as well as psychological aspects. Ultimately, they are rooted in the Divine. There are numerous examples in cultures throughout history of this masculine-feminine polarity.
Neither masculinity nor femininity are stronger, superior or more valuable than the other. They just are. And, both genders have both elements. Psychologically speaking, masculinity and femininity are simply two complementary poles within each human psyche. The masculine and the feminine together, within both men and women, seek recognition, affirmation and balance.
So why are guys leaving the dance floor in droves?
Unaffirmed, Insecure Men
As a result of the feminist movement, a lot of guys are in tune with their feminine side. Ok, got it – check! But the pendulum has swung too far, and men are now shrinking from true masculinity, almost apologizing for it – and it’s killing us all. There are a number of reasons why men seem to have lost their masculinity, which I won’t get into here. But it affects men, women and children alike.
The problem today is men are not affirmed in their masculinity.
Please hear me out on this folks, this is the crucial point. Until men are affirmed in their masculinity, women will not be fully affirmed in their feminine power. Until men are affirmed in their masculinity, little boys will not be affirmed in their growing sense of masculine energy. Until men are affirmed in their masculinity, little girls will not be affirmed in their flowering sense of feminine energy. For a woman to realize her full feminine power, her femininity must be affirmed by the masculine.
Think about the incredible influence of a husband and a father, for good or ill. Think about the deep wounding a man inflicts on his wife and children when he is insecure in his masculinity. I am pretty sure you can think of how you’ve been hurt, let down or wounded by the men in your life, past or present. I know I can. Hold those thoughts of wounding in your mind and heart for a few minutes.
Now, think about the beautifully healing, freeing and empowering presence of a man who is secure in his masculinity. Think about how such a presence reverses the hurts and wounds of women and children. If you’ve ever had a man like that in your life, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Being a man – a real man – is a weighty responsibility. One we as men dare not take lightly – for the good of our families, our communities, and the world.
I believe the major crisis today is with men, not with women. I believe this because of the undeniable impact a man has on women and children, for good or ill. When men are healed, the healing of women and children will naturally follow. However, generally speaking, we now have a generation of sons whose fathers, for several generations back, have been unaffirmed as men. The father who is unaffirmed in his own masculinity cannot adequately affirm the son in his.
The Authentic Masculine Voice
Because of the glaring absence of affirmed men and fathers today, men have turned to seek affirmation from the feminine instead. Don’t get me wrong, we need feminine affirmation – it is the feminine voice that grounds a child in his or her sense of being and well being. From the time a child is born, he or she does not know him or herself as separate and distinct from the mother. The child looks to the mother for everything.
Assuming we have been given a solid foundation from the feminine voice, we then need the masculine affirmation – it is the masculine voice that calls a child out from his or her mother to recognize him or herself as an individual, separate and distinct from the mother. And for boys, it is the masculine voice that calls them out and sets them on the path to real manhood. But the feminine voice can and often does override the masculine voice, especially if there is no masculine voice present to begin with.
What Men Need in Order to Lead
Ladies, letting your man lead doesn’t mean you are unable or not allowed to take care of yourself, own yourself, and make decisions for yourself. It doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to rise up and become CEO of a company, or start your own business and just kill it! It simply means that in relationships, men need to initiate, lead, protect and provide. It’s in our DNA. And I’m afraid the cultural pendulum has swung too far in the direction of men not knowing what it means to initiate, lead, protect and provide. Women have been telling us for awhile now they don’t need us, and we started listening.
So how can you teach your male partner to lead the dance? Here’s how:
- Stop being so in control all the time. If you’re in control all the time, he’ll just coast and let you stay in control. If you try to control him, he’ll either one up you, in which case you’ll end up in an awkward tug of war, or he’ll hide, and you’ll be even more frustrated with him. And if you’ve been hurt before by letting go of control, you have every right to be scared. I’m not saying to let your guard down. I’m not saying don’t protect yourself. I’m saying trust, but verify.
- Respect him. Aretha had it right, not just for women but for men as well. Real men are all too familiar with their own faults and flaws, and they don’t want to be worshipped. But they do want, and need, to be respected.
- Positively recognize, encourage and embrace his efforts. We need to do good for you, no matter how clumsy, awkward, misdirected or late to the table we are. We need you to receive our attempts to initiate, lead, protect and take care of you. Many of us are already wounded by our fathers. We are resilient, but we cannot sustain wounds from both our fathers and from you, and at the same time give you what you need as a woman. We aren’t looking for trophies, party streamers and balloons when we do something right. Just positively encourage us, and you’ll get more of what you need.
- Tell him, in plain language, what you need from him. Say “Look, babe, you want me to respect you? Love you? Quit nagging you? I need you to step up. I need you to take control in [xxxxxx] area. I need you to quit being a jerk to me when I’m simply frustrated or upset about something. Quit trying to fix things. Just look me in the eye and listen to me.” Or whatever it is you need from him.
- Love him with your body and soul, together. Sex is a key component – it incarnates and communicates your love for us. But sex, by itself, isn’t everything. Any guy who is being completely honest would admit that empty sex may be fun for awhile but never ultimately satisifies. No, what we need and want is a deep emotional and spiritual connection with you, expressed and realized through physical intimacy.
A man who is loved, cherished, and respected by his woman is the most powerful, positive, unstoppable force in the universe. In this way, you can affirm him in his masculinity with your powerful feminine voice and get him to step up and start taking the initiative like you want him to.
In doing so, women can help make the world a better place for themselves and their children.
And the dance will be beautiful.
Agree or disagree? Who is ultimately responsible to get things back on track? Men? Women? Both? Leave a comment below!