Mama A's here this morning to talk to the big girls. The grown up girls. The girls who've got a few years of life and lovin' under their belts this morning. The girls who've probably got a stretch mark or 600. The girls who've been in a serious relationship for a while. The girls who are married to their lerve.
But, Little Single Girls, this doesn't mean that this post doesn't apply to you. I wish somehow had sat me down and said this stuff to me when I was a Little Single A as well.
I have spent some time the past month really taking a step back and looking at the men folk we surround ourselves with.
No, I haven't been checking them out.
I got a man thankyouverymuch.
I've had the pleasure of listening to the recordings from the Focus On event our church had two weekends ago with Cam and Sarah Huxford. I had to listen to the recordings because we've had lots and lots of visitors and I couldn't be a bad hostess or one of those mommies who invites those friends to church. This is one time I think Jesus would understand.
But, my lerve, Christacular, was kind enough to snag the recordings so we could listen to them together on the way to my work retreat at the beach. I've also been drawn to some marriage books when I was meandering through the library. I particularly liked this Gary Thomas book.
And then yesterday, through a interesting set of circumstances, I found myself alone in a church multipurpose room full of men at the Men's Retreat at Macedonia Church in Wililamston (Well, my homegirl Kim and another lady were there for 4.7 minutes as they sang their heavenly guts out and then bailed on me once they expelled said guts. The lady population tripled while they were there).
However, it was an honor to be part of such a special event for the men in our church community. Our praise team from Christ's Church was asked to lead worship for the event and Dave Stone was the event speaker.
You want to talk about a chilling moment? A moment that will cut you to the core? As worship leaders, we all love those moments in a service when we're singing and we can hear the congregation lifting the song louder and louder. When we hear them above the band and we hear the hearts of the people in song. When it takes our words out of our mouths and we are reminded the enormous significance of our jobs--and that significance has NOTHING to do with us.
Imagine hearing a multipurpose room filled with men's voices. Men's voices singing in earnest and in vocal parts and with purpose and conviction. Men's voices filling the entire room with a heavenly sound.
Mama A got a little teary. Surprise, surprise, I know, I know. . .
Ladies, don't we just love men?
Sure they frustrate us to no end, but don't we just love them? We love them because they are strong. We love them because they are steady. We love them because they protect us. We love them because they are so incredibly different from us. We love their lower voices. We love their communication often doesn't involve words.
But, interestingly enough, we don't let them be men.
We try to make them into little ladies like us.
Or even worse, we treat them like our children.
Girls, I'm about to step on some toes. And it's ok, because mine are already mashed.
Stop treating your man like a child or as one of your girlfriends. He's a man. A dude. A guy. I'm so sick of seeing men completely controlled by their wives and girlfriends. A man so whipped that he
probably pees sitting down can't stand on his own two feet. A man with no voice because his wife does all the talking in the house.
It's ridiculous and it's SAD.
Let him be a MAN!
Now, I am all about girl power and independent ladies. I'm high five-ing you as I type. But, I am also aware of the fine line that exists between strong lady and dictator.
So, because I like lists and an orderly way of doing things, I've compiled some ways that you ladies can help your man be a man. However, since I'm obviously not swimming in the testosterone pool, I gladly welcome any man readers (I know you're out there!) to add to the list in the comments below*.
1. Stop making your man carry your purse. Really ladies, you can't carry your own purse? If your purse is too heavy, you need to a. get a smaller purse, b. clean it out, or c. start going to the gym. The only acceptable times a man can carry a purse would be immediately following surgery and he's being a hero and helping you into the car. Or, if said purse is actually the diaper bag and he's being Super Dad and dropping his baby girl or baby boy off in the nursery. And even that's pushing it. How about you compromise on the diaper bag so he's not carrying a pastel bag that reads "Mommy's Little Angel" to the nursery?
If you've already purchased a diaper bag I'm not suggesting you go out and buy a new one.
My dear in-laws purchased a nice, black Vera Bradley diaper bag. I thought I was doing Chris a favor because it wasn't pink. And it looked very much like a regular bag and not a diaper bag. But, this morning he reminded me that he got several compliments on his purse.
2. Stop bossing him around. There is nothing worse than a guy that has a woman in charge of him. You know, the woman who walks with purpose and her fists clenched and the poor man is walking three steps behind her and is mute and expressionless. It's like a sad puppet show.
Which leads me directly to. . .
3. Stop treating him like a child. If you want your man to act like a man, then stop picking out his clothes, telling him what he should and should not eat, and giving him a to-do list everyday. Now, I'm all about helping him avoid things like stripes and polkadots and plaids in the same outfit and encouraging him to eat better for health purposes. But, if you're constantly nagging him or expecting him to follow directions like your kids, there is something wrong with you. He is not your kid.
4. Your man is a waffle. You are a plate of spaghetti. It's true, I read the book.
Men, like the squares of a waffle, compartmentalize every aspect of their life. They think about one thing at a time. And, they even have empty blocks in which they really think about nothing.
I didn't believe it either at first, but it's true!
And I'll also let you figure out what their other blocks are for. It's not rocket science.
Women are like a big plate of spaghetti--we're twisting and intertwining and multitasking and coming back to where we started in our conversations. We can think and talk about a lot of topics all at the same time. Our minds can think about multiple things all at once.
And it can be so frustrating to us, but that's the way they're wired. But, we love the focus and attention they give to a project. We love the way they can be a voice of reason when we're so panicky and a jumble of nerves.
But, stop expecting him to be more spaghetti. Stop fussing at him when he only can handle one conversation topic and can't jump 5 times to the next one or the one you started with. Stop yelling at him when he tells you nothing is on his mind--it's probably true.
5. Let him lead. Let him figure out what he wants to do on your next date night. Let him know he has the final word in your household discussions. This can be a hard pill to swallow. I know it is for me--I know many of my girlfriend's have a hard time swallowing the whole Ephesians 5 submission discussion at church.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I like to be the boss. I love to be in charge. I tend to be very driven and type A. The Good Lord created in me a hands on the hips, sassy faced, neck rollin', southern girl. And sometimes it's hard to switch her off.
But, I'm married to a good man. And there are a lot of you that are married to good men. ("Like Scott or Mark" adds Christacular). And as much as I want to, there are times I need to put the duck tape on my mouth and think, "Yes, dear." I need to remember that if I'm married to a man good enough to lay his life down for me, then I need to respect that man and treat him well. I need to stop trying to tell him what to do.
Ladies, if you were drowning and a lifeguard jumped in to save you--would you criticize his breast stroke? Would you interrupt his CPR and say, "You're supposed to count to 5!" No! You'd let him be in charge, you'd let him lead, you'd let him help, you'd let him save you. And then he'd be your hero for the rest of your life.
Let your man be your hero. Cue Enrique.
*Any man that answers will receive a prize (a hole punch on your Man Card) and you will be helping other men out there as well.