Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Not Better...Just Different

"Whether single or married, most woman struggle with this issue of control.  We have an underlying drive to manipulate the men around us."
-Kimberly Wagner, Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior

Last week I was changing my son's diaper while my daughter looked on nearby.  She declared, "E. (initials used to protect the innocent) has little man parts.  K. doesn't have little man parts."   Wanting to affirm her correct anatomical observation, I replied, "That's right.  K. has little girl parts."  She looked at me and said, " Yes.  I'm better."

After a good laugh and a Facebook status quoting this conversation, I couldn't help but think about how that statement can define so many women's attitudes towards their husbands.  I know that I've fallen into this way of thinking more times than I can admit.  I know that I can organize a room,  understand relationships, do the dishes or go through my toddler's bedtime routine "better" than Hubs can.  As a result, I start making suggestions and stepping all over his attempts to help me or his desire to get something accomplished.  In extreme situations (read: when I'm a complete nag and/or giving the cold shoulder intentionally) that leads to him giving up or lashing out at me and then we both end up frustrated!

Our desire for control often manifests itself from those thoughts of pride: that we are better.  Wagner has a great chapter in her book about our desire for control and how that stems from our sinful hearts and the culture around us.  She writes that our culture around us does nothing to squelch the pride that drives our desire for control.  Ironically, it encourages it and reduces men to Neanderthals or feminizes them in a twisted attempt to make them "better".  Gone are the days where we have men like Jean-Luc Picard as our role models (seriously...she did use him as a positive example.  Win.)

So what's a wife or single woman to do when that desire for control rises up in us?  As I was thinking about my conversation with my daughter, I decided that if she ever expressed her superiority over men again, I would tell her that she was not better...just different.  As much as our culture pushes to create a genderless society, we can't really deny the differences between men and women.  Those differences are meant to be celebrated and encouraged.  Marriage is the perfect opportunity for those differences and the distinct roles of men and women to be played out.

So the next time Hubs makes a suggestion or is accomplishing something differently than I would, I am going to remind myself that "my way" is not better, it's just different.  It's part of my own journey to slowly loosen the grip of control I desire to have on my own life and learn to trust others and God with my circumstances.  This Wifey Wednesday I encourage you to do the same.

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