This portion of the discussion explores the concept of partnership of different strengths. Is the last part of our #Zoom discussion on Adam/Adamah and Chavah/Eve in Part 3 of Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles. All told, we were on the line for about four hours and touched on many topics and themes. It’s been quite the learning exercise editing long videos down to shorter conversational pieces.
The next discussion on Elizabeth/Zechariah and Mary/Joseph (MR Part 5) is tentatively planned for Saturday, December 19, 9:00am Mountain Time. I’m aiming to keep it under 1.5 hrs. 😉 Email BibleStudy@harvest-life.org for link details.
Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3 Video Part 3.4: Partnership with Different Strengths Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22
God – The Ultimate Everything
What idea are you choosing above your relationship with God?
How important is being equally yoked with your partner?
Church Hurts: Looking for a compatible congregation
Nomads in transition
If you generalize, you will generally be in trouble.
The former head of my department at work implemented what he called the “two-partner” approach to problem solving. He encouraged his managers to call on each other to talk through difficult or complex issues. He assured them that the process of talking through the problem would yield perspectives and solutions that the solo person never would have considered.
In the single female world, we call our girlfriends when we need to two-partner. But I’ve come to learn that girl talk is still one-sided as it is only a female perspective. I’ve also come to realize I have long been at a disadvantage without a male perspective to two-partner through issues with.
But God is good. This has been an exceptionally difficult year, but I can look back and see where God provided male voices I could hear, trust and listen to. As I sit here and write, I am exceptionally happy for their words of concern and guidance.
Usually, I am quick to say that I don’t have any male friends, but as I review this post, I see that there have been men who have stood as a friend to me in various situations through the years. They may not be a daily presence in my life, but when they have shown up, they have been fully present for me in that moment. This year, God has allowed some solid men to offer their voice to some of my decisions, dilemmas and transitions, and I must say I’ve been lapping up their words, suggestions and guidance with the eagerness of a leaderless scout following a glowing arrow in the woods.
A couple of years ago, I sat in on some small group Bible studies with an out-reach pastor in the City. Last spring, I sought him out before I left for Israel because I had some concerns and questions that I really needed to talk through. He was a good person to “two-partner” with regarding my desire to go to Israel and all the associated concerns. He asked for a follow-up meeting upon my return and from there we began meeting every other week to discuss any other Biblical topics or themes that came to mind. He has been a blessing. I had prayed long and hard for someone to discuss and explore the Word of God with. Our one-on-one Bible meetings have been incredibly thought provoking and edifying for us both. More than that, knowing that he’s a traditional Bible teacher who doesn’t believe women should be heard from in the assembly of the church (i.e. he quotes 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 which says women should be silent in the church and ask their husbands questions at home regarding the teachings) added a very interesting layer to our conversations. To be told by a pastor, who’s been teaching for thirty years, that our discussions have him looking at the Word from different angles encourages me to continue to speak in faith even when entering a conversation with someone who has different viewpoints; when the Holy Spirit is present, understanding will come.
On the work front, there’s a former colleague who’s been going through huge family growth and transition since we first met three years ago. He provided a voice of reason when I shared thoughts about a cross-country move in the late spring. Based on his experience as a husband and father, he suggested options and scenarios that never crossed my mind. He shared the things he considered when he and his wife made their first big move and when he moved his young family more recently. It was quite eye-opening, hearing the things a man thinks about in such a situation, especially because my own decision to relocate was completely based on my emotions. Sharing with him and hearing his feedback grounded me in a way that I couldn’t manage to ground myself. At the end of our conversation, I said with a little bit of awe,“I really need my own husband; you guys are awesome!”
Over the summer, I was able to connect with an old friend who proved to be a great support in the past. We hadn’t spoken in a while, but from the word, “Hey” it was laugh-therapy with quite a bit of sharing about how our worlds and focus have changed over the years. We spoke about our current challenges and the hopes that were sustaining us. It was nice to “two-partner” with someone who knows how I think and can understand my conclusions without a drawn-out personal history lesson for background. We just jumped right into the listening, guidance and support portions of the conversation. As always, I was uplifted by the exchange.
There was another co-worker who, for well over a year, heard my gripes, joys and hopes on a regular basis. He listened with attentive ears and offered very insightful council. And more often than not, he shared his own gripes, joys and hopes as well. We were both cheerleaders and receivers to one another – often times in the same conversation.
This fall, I had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with a social brother I rarely see. We had something of a public disagreement last year via social media. We made up, in a way, via other forms of media. Since then, we’ve seen each other a couple of times in groups and got along well. But when we ran into each other a few weeks ago, he made a point of telling me that my public rebuke “had him feeling some kind of way”…. Even though he understood why I did it and acknowledged that a rebuke may have been necessary, he said he wished I would have pulled him to the side and said my piece offline. I thought about it. I heard him, really I did. I briefly defended myself by stating that I responded to the offense in the same forum that I received it. Then I assured him that, in future, I would endeavor to keep any criticisms for private conversation.
I don’t know about you, but that was huge for me. I’ve been telling people for years that you have to teach people how to treat you. The same holds true for me – I have to be taught how to respond to individuals in a constructive way for my relationship with them. Some people don’t pay attention to my bluntness. Other’s pay attention, but don’t care. Then there are those who hear and care, but would appreciate a softer word to respond to. The fact that we “two-partnered” our own relationship was enlightening and encouraging. What I took away from our conversation was the need to pay more attention to the masculinity in the man. To treat a man’s masculinity as something I wish to nurture rather than destroy.
Last in this short list of men who have given me a taste of two-partnerhood, is the neighbor who speaks to me so comfortably about some of his troubles that his wife has two-partnered with me a couple of times regarding him. He speaks to me of things his wife has told him (and me) that she has no interest in talking to him about or she doesn’t otherwise want to hear. I’m not suggesting this is a good practice to allow or encourage, however, I have learned a valuable lesson from them: I pray that when I marry, I learn to have an open ear and heart for my husband always. I pray I don’t become a woman who poisons the well of communication in my marriage.
The men briefly profiled here have provided positive examples of manhood for me over the past seven years. Looking back on what I’ve learned from my interactions with them, I am able to see that God heard my cry and answered my supplication in my book, My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey, where Iwrote a great deal about how I had no positive examples of marriage while growing up. Throughout the book, it was evident that there was an early and long struggle for me to respect many of the males who had impacted my early life. In my early experience, men did not act like men and I saw no need to treat them as if they were. By the time I published My God and Me, I had disposed of all that worn-out baggage and was looking for better experiences for my life.
Now, as I look back on what I term an “exceptionally difficult year”, I see an exceptional shift in my preparation for marriage. God has seen fit to connect me to men whose masculinity is tempered with compassion, humor, vulnerability and wisdom. He connected me to men who communicate and follow-through on their care and concern for my well-being.
I no longer see the negative representatives of manhood from my early life when I think of the man I will partner with. I see a collage made of:
Men who want to be husbandsMen who truly want to become fathersMen who are actively caring for their childrenMen who are dedicated leaders in their homeMen who work hard to provide for their familyMen who want to communicate with their wifeMen who want to share their real selves – the good, the bad and the ugly – with their wifeMen who actually want to be MEN – with all the strength and vulnerability that entails
I see a man who will be a confidant, friend, guide, lover, motivator, protector, provider, supporter, visionary and more to this woman who wants to be the same and more to him.
So, the above six words have been with me for over a month. When they first came together in mind, I realized I had finally hit upon the approach for my two companion books-in-progress: The Worker: A Man of God and The Helper: A Woman of God. They are two books that are really one with a focus on man and woman as individuals and as partners in their marriage, their family and their community.
I know… I have lofty aspirations…..
I’ve been stumped by the idea of writing a book for men. Even though the Word of God is available to us all, the thought of communicating such lofty matters (regarding function and purpose) to a male audience has been intimidating. And I’ve been overwhelmed at the thought of condensing my endless thoughts about women as wives, mothers and supporters. Fortunately, I’ve been bolstered by the knowledge that my craft, hand, and spirit are yielded to the Holy Spirit and I trust that only that which will be edifying for the readers to come will be written.
My goal with the two-projects-that-are-really-one, is to make them complimentary to each other. I have no desire for The Helper to outshine The Worker. Nor do I want The Worker to dominate The Helper. Just as in life and in marriage, the two should be both bearers of light and reflections of each another’s best qualities.
My bright idea was: Marriage is basically a partnership of leadership and management. The man is the natural leader in his marriage and family. The woman is the natural manager in her marriage and family. Popular culture and social norms tell us there are many variations and combinations for marriage. But my books are not about the preferences of popular culture, they are about the preferences of God as stated in His Word.
Leader: a person that leads; a guiding or directing head; a person who rules, guides, or inspires others (dictionary.com)
Manager: a person who has control or direction of an institution or of a part, division, or phase of it; a person who manages; a person who controls and manipulates resources and expenditures (dictionary.com)
That being said, I am looking forward to fleshing out my two-books-that-are-one: The Workerand The Helper. I am looking forward to exploring how the Worker’s leadership in the home sets the pace and standard for his Helper’s management of the household.
Today’s thought: Marriage is all about the partnership of two individuals who have chosen to become one. A partnership between a man, who is created to work and a woman, who is created to help. The partnership works best when the husband accepts the mantle of responsibility to provide for and lead his wife and children, and the wife accepts his covering which equips her to support and manage the needs of her husband and their household.
If animals in partnership can adapt to each other’s needs in the wild, surely it’s not such a stretch for today’s young couples….