As a father, I feel it is my responsibility to teach my sons how to treat women. As men, we can be pretty insensitive and clueless when it comes to women. Not me of course, but other men. No, honestly, I’ve had to learn these lessons through trial and error (and I am still learning them), and I wish I could apologize to all of the women I’ve had to learn from along the way (but I can’t because they’ve blocked me =) ). Hopefully, my sons can learn from my experiences, so they aren’t as dumb and offensive as I have been.
1. Equal Like an Equation
In math class, as we ‘solved for x’ we learned that what was on the left side of an equation had to be equal to what was on the right side. But rarely did you see an equation that looked like a mirror image on both side (x=x). Instead, the two sides were very different from each other even though they were equally balanced.
Women are equal to men. They are not less or more then men. They do not walk behind us or in front of us. We walk side by side as equal partners. And yet we are very different from each other. Those differences are wonderful, and they can be extremely frustrating as well. Much like a math problem, men and women are made up of different parts and pieces, but irregardless of how complex or simple our side of the equation appears, ultimately we are equal.
2. Be Sensitive to Feelings
Generally speaking, men seem to have a thicker shield around our feelings. (We also tend to have a thicker skull.) Guys can say some pretty strong things to each other and the shield is only a little bit dented. But say similar things to a woman and it can cut straight to the heart.
Men and women are equal, but we communicate almost as though we are from different planets. In the book, Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus we learn “Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.” To cherish means to love, treasure, and hold dear. Our words with women should be soft, kind, uplifting, and frequent.
3. Remember Mahana
There is an old video (1969) that I remember seeing as a child that made an impression on me. It was the story of Johnny Lingo who was a handsome and successful man who came to a Polynesian island to bargain for a wife (as was the custom) by giving cows to the father of the woman he desired. Mahana was considered by her family and neighbors to be ugly, backward, and of little worth and they told her so. They thought she was not even worth one cow.
But Johnny Lingo surprised everyone on the island when he offered 8 cows for her (the most that anyone had ever offered). This was the first of many ways that he began to show her how much he valued her which began to build up her self worth. He then took her away from that judgmental island for a time. When they returned, everyone was amazed at the change that had occurred. Mahana now appeared much more confident and beautiful and her father even claimed that 8 cows had not been enough for her.
I have often thought of this little story and realized that if you want your spouse to be beautiful, confident, and wonderful then you need to build her up and tell her that she is those things. Whether you tell her she is dumb and ugly, or intelligent and beautiful she will likely believe you. And the more you tell her the more she will become that–just like Mahana.
4. Love Not Lust
Love and lust can both begin “at first sight”, but that is where they part ways. Love is an outward flowing of energy and concern for others, while lust is inward and selfish. Love is about honoring, serving, and cherishing other people. Lust is actually a form of hatred which is only concerned with pleasing yourself. Pornography is not love at all. It is paper thin and with each dose separates you more and more from real meaningful relationships.
I’ll never forget the seductive image of a woman I saw in a ‘men’s magazine’ with the caption “Leave your girlfriend for me”. Leave your girlfriend for what? That ink on that paper? That is what lust has to offer. Whereas love is increasingly wonderful, rich, and rewarding. God is love. And women appreciate and respond to a man who loves them for much more than their body.
My parents taught me to be a gentleman and open doors for ladies and all that kind of stuff. But I once had a girlfriend (shocking I know!), who didn’t like me to open doors for her because “she could do it herself”. So in order to be true to my upbringing and my girlfriend’s wishes I would run ahead of her and open the door and then let it close just before she got there.
She appreciated that.
Service is an act of love. I’ve learned that in serving you come to more fully love those that you serve. So, any opportunity to serve one another is a great way to strengthen your relationship.
Maybe opening doors for her is not appreciated, but there are other ways that both people can help each other out. Look for those opportunities to serve.
I learned the hard way that women still want you to protect them even if they don’t want you to open the door for them. During college, I went on a trip to Las Vegas with some friends. It was late and we were walking around Vegas looking for something interesting to do. Somehow, I ended up getting pulled into some shady looking nightclub with 3 of the girls who wanted to go dancing.
Well, one of the girls got asked to dance quite quickly and the rest of us stood off to the side. This was all new territory for me and I wasn’t really sure what to expect or what to do. Did my friends bring me along because one of them was interested in me? Was I supposed to ask someone to dance?
I learned later, that I was brought along for protection. And of course, the guy dancing with my friend was a jerk and she wanted to get away from him, but he wanted to keep dancing. Unfortunately, I was oblivious to the signals she was giving. And after we got out of there, all 3 of the girls were mad at me because I was supposed to have stepped in or “cut in” to get her away from that jerk. I wish somebody had told me beforehand.
Now, I was the jerk. And that was pretty much the last time any of those girls ever spoke to me again.
I’ve replayed this in my mind a million times, and wish so much that I had stepped in and rescued her and become the hero. Since then, I have been much more aware in these kinds of situations, but I still regret how oblivious I was on that Vegas trip.
7. Unexpected Gifts
Women love gifts. They love receiving them and they love giving them to others. They have a way of seeing something and knowing exactly who would appreciate it. Most of us guys have a hard time remembering to buy gifts on Christmas and birthdays. After you enter a relationship this gets twice as hard because you now are expected to give gifts on Valentine’s Day and your anniversary as well (which I’ve discovered isn’t printed on most calendars).
That is the bare minimum.
Buying presents on those days does nothing more than keep you out of the dog house. It just keeps you at zero. The real trick is to give her something on a regular old Wednesday or “Just because”. Women like to be reminded constantly that you love them, and giving her something that she likes is better than just repeating “Yes, I still love you” every time she asks.
But what to give? We often think of “love tokens” as useless or temporary trinkets like teddy bears, chocolate, and dying flowers.
But gifts can be much more than this. And if you pay attention, women constantly give clues to things they like. My favorites are things that you both like and can enjoy together (events, meals, cool shirts, a good book or movie, or some other memento to remember the occasion together).
And not all gifts have to cost money either. Something you make or do (singing a song, fixing her car, cooking for her) or even just your presence at an important moment can express your love stronger than something from a store.
It takes some work to treat a woman right, but I can’t think of a better investment. Your efforts will be remembered for years to come (along with your mistakes). But like a garden that has been treated right, she will blossom and grow in beauty and worth. ‘The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.’ And I believe he loves his daughters just as much as he loves his sons. In fact, we are each here to compliment the other and cherish those relationships.
“For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God”
– 1 Corinthians 11:12
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