Valentine’s Day and the Alpha Female

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!

 

 

 

Katelyn

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7 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day and the Alpha Female

  1. I saw the Fox segment. Being really familiar with complementarian theology, I’ve been hearing the church preach this message dozens of times over. Men lead, women follow. Men make decisions, women submit. Men preach and teach, women listen and obey. What she’s saying is nothing new; in fact, it’s thousands of years old. Something about competent women just frightens guys who have been told their whole lives that he’s supposed to be the one in charge. One blogger talked about how guys are supposed to have greater spiritual knowledge and authority than their wives so that they’ll have something to teach them means that guys can never marry a girl at a higher spiritual level than himself. Churches preach a little about equality in some ethereal sense; but when it comes down to application, submission is always one-sided, the submission of the wife to her husband.
    Why can’t a husband and wife be equal? Why can’t they be co-leaders who lead together? Why must one get to make the decisions, pay the bills, and make the calls and why must the other one just sit there quietly in the background? I’ve seen the idea taken to it’s extreme, where a wife would never, ever speak in church, her husband did that. When he was talking, there she was, standing quietly, looking down, trying to be invisible. She had made herself nothing so that her husband could be the ideal “everything.” That’s the flaw of complementarianism, one leads, the other follows – there’s no switching, no taking a break, nothing the other person can do to lighten their load. Because both them are halves of a single whole and neither half can function without the other. As a single person in a church that worships marriage, I’m a non-person given that I’m a half that’s never whole.

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    • I see what you are saying. I agree it has been preached that way, but that is the extreme and it is wrong. The bible talks about husbands and wives submittong to each other bit some churches have abused women and made them shut up and submit to everything even when it’s wrong. I dont believe that is right. I believe there is strength and power in being feminine as a woman. But some women are so scared of being stepped on that they just want to take over anything that men are good at to prove something to the world. Naturally men are good at some things and women are good at others. And there are things BOTH are good at. But just trying to step into everything your spouse does and take over is wrong. We need each other to function as a unit. My husband jokes that he doesn’t know how he survived as long as he did without knowing me. Lol and he calms me down when I get really anxious. We submit to each others strengths to carry us through life. But we don’t forcefully step into each others individual world and take charge just because we feel like we can do it too or we know better. When we make decisions we both pray about it and come together and most of the time agree or find good compromise. But if we dont agree, he will seek outside advice for us and then make a final decision and I’m okay with that. Because he has dreams in his heart that may not even happen if I’m not there to encourage him to do those things. So I trust him and I trust the Holy Spirit in him and I trust our friend’s that encourage him. I just know that no matter what, even if he makes a wrong decision, that he loves me and God loves me and God takes care of us. So I dont have to worry.

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      • You never know what you can do until you try. When I was visiting a retirement home, I was intrigued by the story of the widow who blew through her money like there was no tomorrow because her husband took care of that and without him, she had no idea how use it wisely. Same goes for the old widower who exclusively ate microwave t.v. dinners because he never learned how to cook his own meals – that’s what his wife did. In complementarian thought, these widows / widowers should re-marry so that they will have someone to lead them / someone to lead rather than live alone and learn how to manage on their own. I just don’t think there’s a one size fits all way for couples to live. Some husbands don’t have it in them to not abuse their authority, and other guys just don’t have a leadership gene in their bodies; but their wives do and they should be encouraged to use their strengths, not deny them.

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      • I dont think women should avoid using leadership skills. What Im saying is that both people cant lead all the time. There are some things that one must lead and one must follow. There are some things that both people are both good and and they work together. My husband is good at making decisions in some areas and I’m good at it with others. We challenge ourselves to learn from each other. But if he has always done well leading in a certain area then Im not going to use my new found skill to just step in and take over that. It’s something he is good at and he enjoys so I will let him have that. He does the same for me. If we could do everything on our own then the only thing we would marry for would be to have sex and have babies and that would be a sad and stressful life to live if we couldn’t enjoy letting each other be in the lead at times. My husband highly respects and honors my opinions and I feel the same about him. I dont believe it’s a one size fits all because we all have different strengths and personalities. But men and women’s brains are different. Together they are two parts of a whole. Women are not less than men, we complete the other half of the puzzle. There are some things that a usually predictable, like women are more nurturing and compassionate because of our emotional strength. This doesnt mean men aren’t these things, but we bring something beautiful to the table that they aren’t as strong in. Men’s ability to compartmentalize can be great thing for when they have to focus on something specfic without distractions. We can learn from each other without trying to be each other. I look at people like Lisa Bevere and Christine Caine who speak to women about being strong. But they honor and respect their husbands and don’t try to overshadow them just because they can.

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      • That’s not what she’s saying – there’s an underlying assumption of gender going on, men are the Alpha, positive force, bull, leader – women are the Beta, negative force, cow, follower. Women shouldn’t lead because that’s quite naturally the male’s gender role – she’s not talking about “in some things” or “in certain areas”. She’s talking about in general, guys lead women follow – no exceptions. Only women trying to be men (gender confused persons) try to usurp the role of leadership from men is the conclusion this teaching quite naturally leads to.

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      • She actually specifies that it isn’t about gender “roles” (I think in her second segment about it), but that men enjoy leading and out of love we can let them do that. Women like being taken care of. That’s not a “role”. That is something we enjoy and feel love through. We need to show love how the person recieves love, not how we think they should recieve it.
        There is a difference between leading and dominating. Good men like to lead, abusers like to dominate. She talks about how strong women, such as herself, can step on their husbands when they try to control everything. Likewise, men can abuse their leadership if they aren’t taking their wife’s opinions into account. But we can’t let the fear of things going wrong make us overcompensate by trying to control our husbands. The writer is a woman who is successful, strong, and has a happy marriage. So she clearly has a balance in her life and probably wouldn’t be able to do half of what she does for a living if she submitted to the stricter views you are talking about. The facts are that women are not men and men are not women. We should be treated equal and all shown respect. But we cannot always do everything the other can do. There are always specific things each gender does better naturally, and everything else will vary by each person. The example you gave of the widow is sad. But that is an example of women not trying to learn about what the man is doing to lead. Men make this mistake too when they dont want to help with raising the children. That is an old way of thinking and it is the more extreme way the church used to teach it. She didn’t think about how she may need the skill outside of the marriage so she didnt learn it. Wisdom would’ve been her learning how to manage money even if it wasn’t necessary for her to apply it until he passed away. She couldve respected his wishes to let him take care of it without forfeiting her ability to gain a skill. Fear makes people think “I won’t ever let that happen to me” and then they go so far in the other direction that they miss out on enjoying a loving relationship. Marriage is about not being perfect but still choosing each other for life. And if you’ve got a good man and he is trustworthy, wise, and smart, then there is nothing to worry about if he leads. There’s nothing to prove and what others think doesn’t matter. Many of the people who criticize this idea are either single, divorced, or in an abusive or unhappy relationship. Ive never seen a couple who applied this in a healthy way be miserable or divorce. There is freedom when it is done the right way. Done right, it doesn’t take away from women’s strength and ability, it adds to us. It frees us up to do enjoy life and pursue great things without stress of needing to be in control.

        I appreciate your comments by the way! I think it is important that all sides get to have a say.

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      • If it weren’t about gender, she could have written the book about “beta” men and learning how to be happy follower; but instead she told “alpha” women that the reason why they are unhappy in their relationships is that they’re trying to take the lead – she seems to think that it’s not in men to follow. The problem is that no two people, no two men, no two women are alike. Telling natural leaders not to do what comes naturally doesn’t work, telling natural followers not to do what naturally doesn’t work. Leadership is a skill that can be learned by anyone, but will always be easier for natural leaders. Natural leaders can be men or women. A woman who is naturally a leader shouldn’t be criticized for using her talents and gifts or told to find her inner femininity by denying her leadership abilities. A man who is naturally a follower shouldn’t be criticized for being lazy or un-masculine and pushed into leadership – particularly when he’s not good at it and doesn’t care for it.

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