Men – I Need Your Input

I am writing a piece for our Women’s Newsletter at church about how women should treat men in general (not specifically a wife towards her husband).

Men, I would like your input. If you could speak to all the women of a church and address how they should treat men, what men need from women, etc, what would you want to say?

33 thoughts on “Men – I Need Your Input

  1. I’m not a man (obviously), but one thing I can say right away is “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to HIM!”

    Some men, you just need to keep your distance. (As a single woman, these men were kind of easy to spot.) Some men, you are free to banter with (As a single woman, again, these were easy to spot. Take, for example, the [married] man who made fun of my parking skillz. He earned the proverbial beating from time to time.)

    Really, respect is key in any male relationship. If a man knows that you respect him, that goes a long ways. It’s really a matter of just paying attention and not garnering attention for yourself. You can’t let him know you respect him because the respect is coming from you.

    Also, don’t participate in gender-bashing. If someone says “Men are stupid”, don’t agree with them. Yes, some men are, but that’s not the time or place to re-hash all of your hurts and re-open your wounds.

    Some men are stupid, and some women are selfish, little insensitive jerks with the best of ’em.

    (Little caveat here. As a married woman, I’ll say that staying away from ALL gender bashing is a huge struggle. Fortunately, most of what I have heard so far has been so general and over the top that it’s easy to see that it doesn’t apply to my husband. In private conversations with my husband, though, it’s sometimes hard to flee the temptation to “prove myself”. Then he uses a light amount of brute strength as I try to wrestle him to the ground and I just can’t win. I try. I fail. And I always blame it on the fact that I’m laughing hysterically. 🙂 )

    Anyhow, that’s my two cents: respect and no gender-bashing.

  2. ML – i agree with you – on both counts.

    i would also like to hear from the men what they, personally, see as respect or disrespect … as male bashing … etc … and even perhaps some examples.

    i am guessing that what men need from women, in general, is not location-specific … for example, respect … men need women to respect them in all areas of their lives – at home, from their parents, siblings, in-laws, etc … at work … at play … at church. i am guessing that this begins very early in life w/ mom respecting her son, even as a boy, and with parents teaching daughters to respect boys.

    i am wondering if men experience women compartmentalizing what men need … for example – do men experience women respecting them if they are subordinate to him in the workplace and not when he must report to them … or in marriage but not with siblings … etc.

    the more specific men are, the less women can (legitimately) imagine or create or assume.

  3. [potential irony alert: the first responder to this post was a…wait for it…woman!]

    ML, I think you are on to something.

    Women always trying to “run” things or rearrange them to their liking, or always having to have their opinion heard, or trying to manipulate things = disrespect.

    This is seen quite often in churches, I think you’ll agree.

    I know from trolling around this blog & others for some time that you & Ame are coming from the right perspective. I think all I would add is that often people can give the “right” answer (“yes, we should respect men”) – and even really believe it – without being aware of the fact that much of their behavior is actually doing the opposite.

  4. cleared in hot – thank you very much for taking the time to respond. what you have written is important, and i will use it in my writing.

    ***

    “often people can give the “right” answer (“yes, we should respect men”) – and even really believe it – without being aware of the fact that much of their behavior is actually doing the opposite.”

    one of my pet peeves … often we, and the church, are satisfied with someone giving the right answer and then don’t even want to know if their behaviour backs it up. grrrrr!

  5. I wish that women in the church would quit acting like the world.

    What does that have to do with how they treat men?

    If a woman in the church, has a haircut shorter than mine, dresses in a manner which confuses men as to this persons gender, speaks as if they are in authority, attempts to assume a leadership role,

    then that woman is treating men in a manner which undermines God’s ordained role for men, and for women.

    Respect is a good word, but, often we think of respect as only an idea not an action.
    Choosing an appearance which is like a man should look is an act of disrespect.

    Trying to take the role of leader, is an act of disrespect.

    Does that make sense?

  6. Let the man take the lead. It doesn’t mean he’s always going to be right, and when he isn’t the world will not come to an end. More than likely he’ll learn something and be a better leader for it.

  7. farmer Tom – wow. that is powerful. “Respect is a good word, but, often we think of respect as only an idea not an action.” you are exactly right, and i long to convey in very clear terms what that means in a way women will understand it.

    so, let me know if i understand what you are saying – women should be and act feminine, not masculine. how a woman looks in appearance is just as important as how she behaves. a woman needs to be content in her role and not try to force herself into the role of a man.

    ***

    this raises another question about how a woman dresses – should a woman be more conservative while still being feminine (not dowdy) in her dress around men?

  8. I think you are making more out of this than need be. “do unto others…” seems to work as well for how men should be treated by women, women to each other, men to women, and men to men. Respect is included, but not unwarranted respect. Falling under rendering unto ceasar, not all are worthy of respect (how you judge them by their worth), but most are due courtesy (how you treat them because of your worth).

    I don’t fall intot he camp that believe men are a special set-aside half of the human race that is somehow more worthy than the female side. The gifts each has for serving in the Kingdom are as much individual charachteristics and gender characteristics.

  9. As for how women should dress: I believe people should mostly conform to the corporate culture they wish to be included in. (i.e. dress like those around you). This goes for men too. I could not have the job I have if I had a pony tail and ear rings.

    While I personally prefer a well displayed deep neck line, there are some places where such a distraction is unwelcome. But if you happen to go to a church that specializes in hookers, tramps, and assorted tarts, then tube tops and spandex might be more acceptable.

    Short haired female pastor = dyke. Most professions have a uniform. This one is as easy to spot as the Good Humor man in Hell.

  10. PH – thank you for your balanced approach. yes, we should all treat one another with respect and courtesy. perhaps the difficulty comes in when we think I am doing ALL the work here and HE/SHE is not pulling their weight – which we women have a tendency to do … then we women take over b/c we think that getting it done now and right is more important than letting the man do his things his way … then we keep doing this and forget to stop.

  11. Short haired female pastor = dyke

    PH, I have to disagree. One of the female pastors at my church has short hair, yet she’s quite feminine. She also preaches the uncompromised Gospel. (Of course, she wouldn’t be on the staff if she didn’t.)

    Ame, thanks for starting this discussion. I’d like to contribute a couple of suggestions.

    One is that women shouldn’t play games with men. I’ve experienced this on a number of occasions, not all of them in dating situations.

    Another is that women should avoid manipulating men. I’ve also experienced this within and outside of dating situations.

  12. I think the key is treating men as human beings. Often there is a vibe from women that communicates to men that we are seen as inferior — women are “more emotionally tuned”, “more spiritual”, “more empathetic”, “more caring”, “more warm”, etc. This kind of problematizes men for being male, really, and it can be a subtle undercurrent in the way women treat men, even if they are outwardly respectful. Some of these ideas are deep-seated and hard to uproot, especially in a culture — often unfortunately a church culture as well — which often reinforces them. Women can and should play a role in sanding down some of men’s rough edges in the context of marriages and so on — but care must be taken that this is not done in a way that basically patronizes a guy for being a guy.

    In terms of the pulling the weight issue just mentioned, I think a key issue here for women is letting go, a bit. In my experience much of the hoo-hah about things going on around the house relates to women not liking *how* the guy is doing something –> in her eyes, he’s rushing, or he’s not being as painstaking as she would be, or he’s doing something in a different way than she would if she were doing it and so on. If women can’t let go of that, it leads to a lot of frustration because then the woman can feel like she “has to” redo what he just did, “so that it can be done right”. If this persists over a period of time, it leads to a lot of anger and frustration building up in the woman, and causes her to lose respect for her husband because she sees him as less “competent”. Often women will try to avoid this outcome by becoming a kind of “supervisor” for their husbands when they are doing household tasks. Unfortunately, that leads to a lot of frustration for the husband, and also ultimately a loss of respect for him by the wife as she has basically subordinated him to the level of non-hired help. The best approach in situations like these is for the wife to let go and let the guy do things his way — provided no grave harm is involved (and typically there isn’t any grave harm involved in these cases). The work is getting done, either way, and trying to focus on the minutiae often comes at the expense of the relationship.

  13. sxm – thank you. i value your opinion. pls feel free to send me any other info you think is pertinent.

    ***

    novaseeker – i think you’re dead-on, and it’s like that slow-boil-frog-in-water thing. someone’s gotta stop the woman and make her take the pot off the stove and look at herself as she really is. i had one man whose wife took this to the extreme and absolutely refused to take any responsibility for any issue, blaming everything on him, and he said he felt neutered in the relationship.

  14. Micah – “Let the man take the lead. It doesn’t mean he’s always going to be right, and when he isn’t the world will not come to an end. More than likely he’ll learn something and be a better leader for it.”

    this is a very valuable point that women need to understand … and one i’ve tried to share with them from time-to-time. men are to be the men, even when they fail. and just b/c they fail does not (necessarily) mean we are to stop following them. often women think it’s ok for ME to fail and for him to just suck it up and move on but it’s not ok for him to fail cause i know how to avoid that so i’m gonna step in and keep him from messing up.

  15. singleman – you are welcome.

    “women shouldn’t play games with men”
    “women should avoid manipulating men”

    i think these are powerful because it is easy for women to learn these things yet difficult to reign in and place under control. as with anything else, the more a woman uses these, the better she gets … and then the more difficult to contain.

    i think there is a certain ‘power’ a man has over a woman, in general … and a certain ‘power’ a women has over a man, in general. these can be benign. they can also be used for good. but when (as seems most often the case) used for bad, they get very ugly and hurtful.

    ***

    example … a woman’s ability to ‘play games’ and ‘manipulate’ can be also viewed as her ability to strategically influence for good. this can be positive when learning to train her children. a recent example … i wanted my 12 yo to attend youth group for the first time sunday night even though she didn’t know anyone. i have been getting to know the new youth pastor, have had some email conversations with him … he’s settling into his place here, and it’s the beginning of a new semester, and i think the timing is good for her. she wanted to go to the library (she’s an avid reader) … so i told her that if i took her to the library Sunday afternoon, she had to go to youth group Sunday night. she thought about it some and agreed … went and had a wonderful time. went to the middle school only bible study tonight and had another great time … BOTH times studied the bible and prayed together and began developing some good friendships – all of which she needs in her life outside of mom right now. knowing her personality and what works with her allowed me to ‘bribe’ her to do what i knew was best for her.

    another example … when my husband is having a difficult day, it is good that i know his personality and am able to do special things just for him to lift him up.

    the converse could also be true … i could use my daughter’s personality for my own benefit … such as to get back at her dad or even another person in our circle. that would be most harmful ‘game playing’ and manipulative and, well, flat-out wrong.

    i could also use my husband’s personality and his tender points to play games with him and manipulate him. i’ve seen it done (and my ex was exceptional at doing this to me – although women with all their emotions and ‘wiles’ tend to be much better at this than men and much more natural)

  16. @Ame – sorry…I’m just now getting back here…

    would you be willing to give an example where a woman showed you respect?

    I’ll try to come up with something better, but the first thing that comes to mind was the one girl (of five) that I asked to date seriously who actually told me straight up, but nicely, that she wasn’t interested. No waffling, no “I don’t know what I want” BS, no just dropping off the planet. Just told it like it was.

    a woman’s ability to ‘play games’ and ‘manipulate’ can be also viewed as her ability to strategically influence for good

    But it’s not the outcome that makes this good or bad, it’s the honesty in the process. Chicks need to know & understand this. Often, they think it’s okay if they’re trying to “do good”.

    knowing her personality and what works with her allowed me to ‘bribe’ her to do what i knew was best for her

    IMHO, this is fine because she is your child. It’s when women change the pronoun in that statement to “him” and attempt to do the same thing with their husbands (or other adult men) that the Respect line gets crossed. This is one of the ways that Nova’s “there is a vibe from women that communicates to men that we are seen as inferior” happens. You want me to do something? Convince me, don’t try to fence me in.

    I think another side of respect isn’t respect for an individual, per se, but respect for (and hopefully appreciation for) maleness & masculinity in general. This is where the “no gender bashing” comes in, too.

  17. The women who are accused of playing games are usually the extremely attractive ones who may not realize that they are doing it because they aren’t really interested the man in the first place. She may be trying to be nice or just not get it particularly if she’s younger–like under 25. I’ve been accused of playing games and it’s only been from men who were attracted to me in ways I didn’t reciprocate. Or perhaps I just didn’t get that anyone would find me attractive after multiple years years of datelessness (in the years before I started my blog.) Or I just didn’t know how to tell a guy after a date that he was impossibly rude–something which I shouldn’t have to do for a 28 years old man. But that’s only relationships…there is also just general respect that should be given to anyone regardless of gender. Humans are profoundly out of synch with each other. (I’m included in this.)

    There should be no gender bashing at all.

  18. What I mean by being accused of playing games is that some men are interested in you even when you are being nice like getting an ice pack for their ankle–something you would do for anyone because you are a nice person. Sometimes you just stand there and get called a tease. Wow, really? How is that possible? What a load of crap. No wonder the Muslim women wear burquas in some countries.

  19. In contemplating all this, my thoughts:

    1) Primarily an adult, self supporting single man in the Body is your fellow believer. A woman has no leave to treat him as a child because he is unmarried.

    2) Give him the adult freedom to make decisions for himself — you would not presume to lecture a married couple about where to go to school; say. This is close to number 1 and may be saying the same thing.

    3) He’s not sinning by showing interest in you; that is, it is not part of the fall or his old nature if he is attracted to you.

    4) He’s not sinning by not being attracted to you.

    5) He is not by definition an alpha because he’s in leadership; you can get to be that just by being a butt kisser. Nor is he not an alpha because he’s in leadership; there are fellowships that recognize a single Christian man may be gifted and suitable for leadership roles.

    6) He is not an “omega” or some other lesser class of being by virtue of not being in a relationship or not being in some kind of visible role in the fellowship; the whole alpha/beta/etc. thing as a heirarchy describes different phenomena than the Christian life — but I think a well grounded Christian life over time makes a man the most he can be.

    7) The Christian life is not an antidote to masculinity or manliness; the goal is not to make him into a woman. I.e. he is not sinning if he doesn’t want to talk about your cats with you.

  20. sxm – thanks – very helpful.

    ***

    if all cats lives were as intruiging as Recon’s and Sneaky’s, we would all be glad to listen to their amazing stories!

  21. @singlextianman

    7) The Christian life is not an antidote to masculinity or manliness; the goal is not to make him into a woman. I.e. he is not sinning if he doesn’t want to talk about your cats with you.

    Nor is it a sin if he starts bragging about his Special Forces cats. Or dogs, for that matter.

    For the record: I enjoy both cats and dogs; however, as a single person, I never was at home sufficiently to provide the necessary care for a dog. Now, it is a household of four cats: myself, MrsLarijani, Recon, and Sneaky.

    Not sure if a dog would fit in. But some baby Larijanis would be quite welcome.

  22. gotta get some puppies when the babies come … the babies need more pets to blame things on 😉 … and more animal food to sample 😉

  23. I would like, someday, to get a Russian wolfhound, but I have a little less than .2 of an acre of yard for him/her to run around on. Perhaps later in life. They need lots of room to run

  24. @Savvy

    “The women who are accused of playing games are usually the extremely attractive ones who may not realize that they are doing it because they aren’t really interested the man in the first place.”

    Savvy, I’m not discounting your experiences, but I haven’t found that to be the case in my dating interactions.

    One such experience which stands out in my mind occurred a couple of years ago, when a woman I met at a dance got real sweet on me. It was clear she was interested in me, and she also claimed to be a believer.

    As I was contemplating how to go forward, a mutual friend of ours told me that she was married but separated from her husband. I was very careful interacting with her afterward, but she still played games with me.

    Under no circumstances will I date someone whom I know is married, whether or not she is a believer. I hate it when someone who is married but separated acts as if they were single. That’s not only playing games but engaging in deception.

  25. Having just re-read my comment after posting, I should clarify that I don’t date non-believers anymore. I learned that lesson the hard way.

  26. @singleman
    I’ve had the same experience in the online community, during my days as a regular in the AOL Christian Singles chat room. A gal from CA was hitting on me, quite aggressively.

    During the course of our chats, I asked her about her marital status, as it was not posted on her profile. That is when she admitted that she was separated from her husband, but not divorced.

    I busted her a new one for that.

    Then, a few months later, we had another gal who did that. Divorce was pending, she said.

    To be fair, there are no small number of men who play that same game.

    But the dynamic of which we are speaking is is one of the reasons that pastors try to shut down the singles, even with the best of intentions, by insisting, “We don’t run a dating service here!”

    Many of them have seen exactly this type of crap go on, and–rather than deal with it as it arises–overreact by throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  27. thank you, Men – GREATLY appreciated. i will be compiling all of this … may be back to ask more ?’s … will post what i write here.

    my goal is to take what is important to you and articulate it in such a way that women ‘get’ it. your input is valuable.

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