Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and he let me believe all day long that I wasn’t getting anything from him. He never directly said that, but it was implied through his actions. It would have been perfectly fine if he had not gotten me anything. But there is that little part of every woman that wants to feel special every day, especially Valentine’s Day. So it felt great when he came home with cupcakes, a balloon, and a handwritten letter, all for me. The letter was especially perfect because he may think something in his head but putting it into words or on paper takes a lot more time and effort.
I’m not the kind of person who needs gifts all the time. But one of my parents has the “gifts” love language, so it is one of the ways I enjoy receiving love sometimes since that is what I was brought up around. Honestly though, my husband could have picked me a flower from our backyard and watched a movie with me and I still would have been happy. This leads me to what I really wanted to talk about today.
This Valentine’s Day really got me thinking about women and our need to feel special in some way. Even if it is small, it is common to expect kind gestures from our men. What we don’t always think about is how they might expect it from us, too.
I was watching Fox News a couple of days ago. There was a lady named Suzanne Venker on the morning show talking about her book “The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage” (there is a video and an article she wrote about it on the Fox News website HERE). It didn’t seem unusual at first, until I realized this was the second time in a week they were having her on the show. Apparently, after her first time on the show, women were outraged over the topic, claiming it was taking us back in time to an era where women were walked on by their husbands and couldn’t have an opinion or any significance in the world. Fox decided to have her on the show a second time to let her try to explain her book better. The second time seemed to make it worse considering even the female host was making confused looks and asking backwards questions to try to prove Mrs. Venker wrong.
I have not read it, but the book is supposed to be about the different personality types of women, which she describes as Alphas and Betas, and how these women should interact with men to have a happy life and marriage. She explains that an Alpha is dominant and a Beta is relaxed. The whole point of the book was to show women that men are born Alphas in many ways. Life circumstance might change some of that, but generally speaking, they are born leaders when it comes to relationships with women and that women should sometimes step back, relax, and serve their husbands.
I think that is where some women started shutting down and didn’t want to hear anything else Mrs. Venker had to say. All they heard was that women are not equal to men. Men are leaders and women are not. Men make the decisions and women do not. Women cannot be Alphas and still have successful marriages.
And that is simply not an accurate explanation.
If they would listen to the rest of what she says and REALLY hear her, she goes on to explain that her own mother was an Alpha female, and she is also an Alpha. She said that her parent’s marriage had difficulties at times because of how hard and unmoving her mother’s personality could be. Mrs. Venker’s own marriage was struggling at one time because she was doing some of the same things her mother did. She saw that something had to change because having an Alpha male and an Alpha female was like two bulls butting heads and it was not going to work. She says that it is rare for a man to become a Beta and let the woman run everything because it’s not in their nature. She found a way to be that boss and leader in the areas where it was necessary, like at her job and with taking care of her children. But she learned that she could be softer, more patient, and serving when dealing directly with her husband, leaving the work mindset behind. The response she got made more love grow between them because they were both allowed to be who they were in the right contexts of life. Her husband responded positively to her and wanted to do more for her. She learned to lead by serving and it took the burdens of life off her shoulders.
She gave the example of how two batteries connect. The positive and the negative ends must touch. You cannot have two negative ends together and you cannot have two positive ends together. The power will not flow through them unless there is a positive end and a negative end together.
I can see where the feminists of the world would be scared off by some of this. Not because it is inaccurate, but because women have fought so hard for equality in the past, and sometimes even today, that they are scared this would set them back. They are scared that this idea of a woman serving her husband is too one-sided and could lead to women not being treated with respect for the work they do.
But don’t women expect to be served? Isn’t it women who expect gifts and attention on Valentine’s Day? Isn’t it women who expect a man to have a good job and pay to go on dates? Isn’t it women who expect the man to buy them an engagement ring? We put all the expectations on men to serve us, so why can’t we be okay with serving them sometimes, too? There is nothing wrong with serving. Serving is a way of showing love. Mrs. Venker even mentioned how people are willing to go out and serve in their communities, at their church, or even at a shelter, but they cringe at the idea of serving their spouse.
I believe that true equality starts by having a servant’s heart and respecting others. It is not about a man doing half of the work and a woman doing the other half. It is not about a woman doing a man’s job or a man doing a woman’s job. Equality is a man doing his best to give 100% to each other and a woman doing the same, and them both getting treated with love and respect for what they do without measuring who does more inside of the relationship. Recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses and get involved even when the other person is leading. A man or woman is not giving everything they have until they learn how to serve their spouse, and men and women like to be served in different ways.
You are only responsible for the good you do on your end. You can’t control how the other person will respond to your service. It is your job to love them in every way you possibly can.
This Valentine’s Day showed me how beautiful it can be to have this balance. My husband and I have stuck by each other during some of the toughest times of each of our lives. When he was down, I was there with him and did more than I had to for him to pick him back up. He has done the same for me when I was at low points. We do our best to show how much we appreciate each other through serving one another. We don’t get it right every time, but when we do it is wonderful. Both people can’t always operate at 100%, but we have to try to recognize each other’s needs and meet those needs if we can. Learning to serve each other and knowing when to step up or step down is what builds trust and keeps the love flowing through those two batteries at all times.
Check out the link to the article and let me know your thoughts on this!
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