Women’s magazines often have these quizzes to help women determine if their man is a good fit for them or what type of man would be good for them. Men’s magazines have articles on getting chiseled abs or how to be more confident.
And that explains some issues in relationships. Men are different from women and this is true with how we view relationships. Men tend to see relationships like we see our vehicles. As long as it’s running, everything is fine. Women tend to see relationships as constantly needing work.
“Yup, we got ourselves a really powerful motor and no rust, what a beauty!” One man might say to another man. He could be talking about his car or his wife. In either case, he’s not going to start repairing something that already works.
I think this has to do with expectations. I expect that when I drive my truck it will get me to where I want to go. If something breaks down, I fix it. My expectation is that as long as I maintain the truck, check the oil, replace the tires, etc., it will be smooth driving. When that doesn’t happen, I am surprised and a little annoyed.
In my relationship with Stella, my lovely wife who puts up with me, I am prone to have similar expectations. We’re happy, we have food, we laugh and work together. No need to look under the hood and wiggle those wires or replace the motor. Because of this, men are the butt of many jokes about how simple we are. Yet the truth is God made us to think differently about things.
Men value love and relationships just as much as women. We just go about them differently. In the modern culture, we are taught it is wrong to be a traditional man. Hunting, fishing, and protecting the family seem to be not as valuable as they once were. Media, much of which is anti-God, claims that men and women are the same. Women get to be aggressive and are favored for many jobs over men. Men are told to be more women-like. We are told be more sensitive. Some sensitivity is a good thing but not at the cost of the way God made men.
It is good to be sensitive to the needs of our wives and our families. It is not good to be offended when someone looks at us strangely because we did something stupid. Being a man involves finding that balance of love and strength. This is a hard balancing act at the best of times and more so with the modern expectations that men be, well, unmanly.
We are raising a lost generation of boys who will be so feminized by the time they are men that their children will not be able to differentiate between the mom and the dad. And while men are being feminized, women are being taught to be more masculine. The result will only be that neither men nor women will realize their full potential as people.
We are created as two genders. Equal in God’s eyes yet different in appearance, gifts, and roles. The expectation that a man loves a woman is a great expectation. The same is true that a woman love a man. The problem we have now is that the old expectations don’t matter. God intended men to be men and women to be women. When we follow his lead, fantastic things happen.
Expectations become clear when we are in these roles. I am not saying that women stay home and have babies. Far from it! I am saying that women ought not be afraid to be women. God says the true beauty of a woman is her inner beauty. It must be hard to let your inner beauty show when you are trying to outperform men. And men, we are called to be protectors and provide a loving home for our wives. This is hard to do if we are busy trying to stuff our inner man into some hidden place.
Our expectations in relationships ought to be based on how God created us. This is true in all relationships. Do not be afraid to be the man and the woman God created you to be. You will be amazed at how less muddied your expectations are.
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon). He and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministries which offers love, hope, and encouragement to one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods, North Central Regina. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca