Rocks and Water – A Rebuttal about Relationships

A solid defense is always needed

What is an apology?  Is it something that necessitates forgiveness? Is it something that one must do if they are in the wrong?  No, of course not (not with what I am going for).  The true definition is something far more powerful. An apology is a defense of something you believe in strongly.  It is written  in “The Apology” that Socrates gave his defense of what he believed.  It is also written in John 18:37 that Christ gave his reason, his apology: “To testify for the Truth”.

So what am I “apologizing” about? Let me defend what I wrote a while ago.  In that post I shared some of my story and the ideal woman I am questing for.  As of this moment God is working on making me the man I ought to be for her.  Patience with roommates is one thing, a spouse is something completely different. Loving your neighbor is very difficult, but loving your wife/family day in and day out, in sickness and health, in riches and poverty is much more challenging.  I will not give a point by point explanation and justification of every facet of what I wrote but I will do one better.  I will give my underlying philosophy.

First Foundation: When one sex is attacked the other falls

“A given man may make a very bad husband; you cannot mend matters by trying to reverse the roles. He may make a bad male partner in a dance. The cure for that is that men should more diligently attend dancing classes; not that the ballroom should henceforward ignore distinctions of sex and treat all dancers as neuter.” – (C.S. Lewis in Priestesses in the Church?)

For a long sad part of history women were not given the right to vote, to speak, or be considered equal to men.  What happened? Men fell and became oppressive brutes.  Not all of them, but enough to posit a fair generalization.  Men saw themselves as superior and became ungrateful of the beauty, noble dignity and strength of women.

Today the reverse is true.  Women now see themselves as superior and men are attacked into being passive, to seek pleasure (be hedonists – good post and funny video) or to not be in the leadership role that they ought. Men are slandered at every level.  Women post tablets on their fridge that state ‘Men are like fine wine; they start as grapes and it is the woman’s job to stomp on them until they are something you would like at dinner’ and others post a bumper sticker on their car that loudly proclaims ‘All men are animals, some just make better pets’ and what has happened?  Women have fallen.  Divorce rates have climbed, there is an epidemic of fatherless children, premarital sex has destroyed many lives both physically and emotionally among a plethora of other social ills caused by this attack against men.

“Our society affirms the statement of Gloria Steinem that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. That message has been sent to fathers in a thousand different ways by academic writers, entertainers, and government programs, which subsidize illegitimacy and discount the role of fatherhood. No amount of “The More You Know” public service announcements can stem that tide without confronting the forces that like a corrosive acid eat away at the institution of fatherhood. Of course, I’m not bashing single mothers, but I refuse to allow political correctness to claim that one plus zero equals two. No how matter how great mom is, she’s not dad. She cannot take his place in their child’s heart no matter how hard she tries.” (No Father? No Chance. by Adam Graham)

“Every credible sociological study on record demonstrates without ambiguity that if there is a single sure indicator for success in adulthood, it is the presence of a father in a child’s life from the time he or she is old enough to negotiate a path through the world beyond her doorstep. If there is a sure indicator of failure – dropping out, drugs, promiscuity, crime – it is not poverty, it is fatherlessness in later childhood and adolescence.” (Who’s oppressing who? by Barbara Kay)

By destroying the roles men should be in there are few men left who will defend the future generations and the true beauty of women.  What then is the true beauty of a woman?  It is that she is created in the image of God.

Genesis 1:26 states “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”.

The very first transgression violated sex-specific role responsibilities.  In short, Eve failed to recognize Adam’s headship and the be the woman God created her to be, while Adam failed to provide spiritual leadership and to be the man God created him to be. Because of the interconnectedness of man and woman, each is affected by the judgment on the other. Nevertheless, the differences remain. God created male and the female differently.  He gave them different responsibilities and pronounced different consequences on their sin. When the male-female relationship functions according to God’s design, it illustrates inherent truths about God. That’s why it’s so important that we honor His design.  It is very apparent to see the damage that is done when we do not honor that design.

On the other hand when one sex is honored, the other is as well.

Second Foundation: Men and women not being equal but complementary

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church […] However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5: 28 -29, 33)

“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.  For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” (I Corinthians 11: 11-12)

I know this is a hard concept for many of you but hear me out. Equality has become the untouchable concept as of late, but it is wrong. In mathematics there is a term known as equivalency.  It is not the same as equality.  This term says that 2+3=4+1.  However 2 is not equal to 4, nor is 3 equal to 1.  In the same way women and men are equivalent but not equal.  Men are not merely clones of women who repress their emotions nor are woman clones of men.  Men and women have the same inherent value, the same incredible God-given creativity, and one is never more important than the other. Women and men however are different.

The problem with the equality is that instead of giving what it promises –  it takes away to make everyone the same (Shades of Harrison Bergeron anyone?).  This is the nature of true equality (in this trailer for an adaptation of the aforementioned terrifying short story):

On the other hand by celebrating the God-given differences we have we are worshiping the Creator – not only that, we are embracing equivalence and recognizing the value of the other.

The basic premise is that equality takes away to make equal; equivalence recognizes the differences and adds value because it praises those wonderful differences.

“Masculinity and femininity find their place and are exemplified and celebrated. Men protect women from physical danger and take their positions of leadership seriously, without trepidation or fear that they will be seen as power mongers. And women support this. Women take up their positions of nurturing and supporting the emotional well-being of the world. And men support it. No role distinction is seen as inferior because  both are seen as essential and of equal importance. […] The true spirit of complementarianism is that God has intentionally created men and women with differences and we are to celebrate this in every way. The true spirit of complementarianism is never domineering (that is a sinful corruption). The true spirit of complementarianism provides no shame only freedom. The true spirit of complementarianism speaks to God in appreciation.” (What Complementarianism is All About by C. Michael Patton)

I got into a wonderful argument online a few weeks ago where I strongly refuted the idea that a men have a feminine side.  Men, and women for that matter, do not have a half of their nature that they repress – the sexes are not androgynous except for social conditioning.

That is the folly of equality: it diminishes the strength of each sex and forces both to become something they are not. On the other hand equivalency celebrates the differences by valuing them. Men are not only called to be strong, firm and steadfast but also kind, compassionate, and romantic but they do those in a distinctly masculine way – not by accessing a special feminine side of their being.  Women, likewise, are called to be kind, compassionate and romantic but also strong, firm, and steadfast but they do so in a distinctly feminine way also not by accessing a special masculine side of their being.

Third Foundation: Men should be rocks

Rocks are known for their strength

“You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. You cannot fight without something to fight for. To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all; it is lust.” (G.K. Chesterton)

Looking at the natural world, nothing is stronger than stones developed by heat, time, and pressure.  I wrote previously what men should be like but in general a man must fight – he must defend.  You see a man, like a rock, becomes strong due to the pressures put upon him.  That strength is continually being used to stand firm against the elements. That strength is also used as shelter by others from the same elements.  Rocks piled together by skillful hands becomes a bulwark – a fortress that protects many. In the same way men ought to defend others; to be strength.

A rock by itself not fighting is just a stumbling stone chasing after lust, but a rock placed with others serving a honorable purpose is a strong foundation.  It is a foundation that the world needs, now more than ever. In any relationship men ought to be the steady rock.

The art of manliness blog states this about manhood:

“Be a haven of safety. Sometimes a woman wants to cry on your shoulder. When she does, you don’t look at her strangely and say, “Geez, what’s the matter with you?” You don’t tell her you’ll cuddle after you’re done with that level on the video game. You’re immediately available to hold her and comfort her. You should be a bastion of calmness, strength, and understanding. When she’s in your arms, she should feel totally safe, like nothing in the world can harm or hurt her. Let your woman know that letting out her feelings is okay and give her your undivided attention. The same goes for your kids; when they’re hurt and they need you, you’re immediately available.

Unravel the problem. Oftentimes a woman feels overwhelmed because of a problem she’s having. Her feelings are knotted up in a great ball. Your job is to slowly take the problem apart. Don’t give an off the cuff solution at first. Instead, ask her questions about exactly why she’s feeling down or overwhelmed. Be interested and attentive to what she has to say. She really wants someone to talk through the problem with and vent to. Ask follow-up questions and have her explain her concerns.

Formulate a plan….or not.It’s become a popular cliché to say that when a woman vents her problems to you, you shouldn’t offer a solution. And sometimes that assumption is correct, but certainly not always.

It’s true that you shouldn’t offer a solution right off the bat; as I mentioned, you want to unravel the problem first and allow your wife or girlfriend to talk through everything that is bothering her. At that point you should ask her directly, “Is this is a problem that you want help solving? Or do you just want to vent?”

If it’s the former, then here is where you as a man can really shine. Come up with a specific action plan to help your wife tackle the problem. When appropriate, put her mind at ease and take on some of the responsibility for making things right. For example, let’s say your girlfriend comes to you in tears because she has a big research paper due but a hundred other things she needs to take care of as well. You would say, “Okay, here’s what we’ll do. I’ll take your dog to the vet, take those packages to the post office, and change your oil. All you need to worry about it working on that paper. You focus on that; I’ll take care of the rest.”

When your wife is suffering some kind of ailment, research all about it online and come up with some remedies she can try. If she’s having trouble making a decision, sit with her and come up with a pro and con chart.

Never say: “Don’t worry about it.” She’s already worried about it, and so to her it is something worth worrying about. Telling her not to worry only dismisses her feelings as invalid and thus is prone to make her angry. Instead, always say, “I’ll take care of it.”

Delay your grief. When something tragic happens that affects your family, be a pillar of strength during the crisis. Take care of the business that needs taking care of. If your wife or girlfriend doesn’t feel like getting out of bed and cooking or cleaning or talking to people and returning phone calls, you do it for her.

Now, I know that some are going to say that keeping your feelings in is unhealthy. But the idea is not to suppress them indefinitely. Instead, you follow the ancient code of manhood: women and children first. You let them do their grieving during the initial shock of things. Then, when they’re feeling better, it is your turn to grieve.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t grieve initially too. You should take time to be by yourself and vent to other family members and friends. And it’s good to grieve and cry with your partner sometimes as well. She wants to know that the loss has affected you too. But in situations where she needs you to be strong, then you man up and face the world while she heals.

Express your emotions in a mature and healthy way. Being the rock doesn’t mean being stoic and suppressing your emotions. Keeping your feelings bottled up might seem to make you more of ”the rock,” but instead of adding stability to a relationship, it will create subtle cracks that will eventually open into real rifts.

A woman has many fears about having a relationship with a man. Will he be abusive? Will he be faithful? Will he provide for the family? Will he regress into a boy-man who spurns responsibility? Instead of placating these fears, keeping your feelings from your wife or girlfriend will only exacerbate them. So being the rock really means expressing your emotions and concerns in a healthy and mature way. Doing so will actually solidfy and strengthen your relationship.

This is especially important to remember when you and your partner are dealing with problems in the relationship. At such times it’s tempting to shut down and engage in  stonewalling (not the right kind of rock to be). But an argument is the most vulnerable time in a relationship, and therefore it’s the best time to show her that she has nothing to fear from you. You can take whatever she throws out you without losing control or threatening to leave her. You can let her know your feelings like a man, not a boy.

Take care of business. Being the rock is not just something we should do when a woman is venting to us; you should be working to solidfy your partner’s confidence in you each and every day. I often find it much easier to rise to the occasion when a big crisis hits then when following through on the mundane, everyday tasks that my wife expects of me. But a woman wants to know she can count on you in the big things and the small things. It’s by doing the small things that she knows she can trust you when the big things come around.

Taking care of business means doing all the things that help inspire confidence in your partner. Being ambitious at work, keeping a budget, staying on top of appointments and “honey-do’s,” staying physically healthy, and so on. It means being absolutely reliable; if you say you will do it, you do it. You can always be counted on to follow-through.”

(With apologies for such a large citation from Being the rock by Brett & Kate McKay)

Even when not in a relationship men ought to be rocks. Men do not magically become strong defenders because they walk down the aisle to say their vows or by sleeping with a women.  It is something that is built over a life-time, it is a process and something that is intentional. It takes effort, but it is something all men are called to be.

It is very unfortunate that many men refuse to gird up for battle (to defend others) and rather spend their days being grown-up Peter Pans flirting from one distraction to another – serving only themselves.  It is even more unfortunate that most lost women are attracted to those grown up Pans.

Women, if you want a child do not have a relationship with one! If you want a project – take up a craft not a man-boy!

Fourth Foundation: Women should be water

Water is known for bringing life

“Your feminine heart has been created with the greatest of all possible dignities- as a reflection of God’s own heart. We clearly haven’t learned the lessons from Eve – for if we had, men would treat women much much differently, and women would view themselves in a far better light.” (Stacy Eldridge in Captivating)

On this earth there could be no life at all without water.  It would be a baron sphere devoid of any creatures, plants, or people.  I also wrote previously on this topic and in general said the the power of a women is one that changes hearts.  Women, like water, bring life to the world.  I don’t just mean in reproduction but in a deeper sense as well.  Women have the power to change hearts.  That is a power that men do not have – that is a power far beyond that of a rock.  Water has the power to cleanse, to heal, to shape the face of the earth. Let’s look at the Creation story: Eve is the crown jewel of all creation.

“Adam steps forth, the image of God. Nothing in creation even comes close. Picture Michelangelo’s David. He is… magnificent. Truly the masterpiece seems complete. And yet, the Master says that something is not good, not right. Something in missing… and that something is Eve. She is the crescendo, the final astonishing work of God. Woman. In one least flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch… His piece de resistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill.” (Stacy Eldridge in Captivating)

Eve is someone that not only astounded Adam but she was something all of creation was holding its breath for.  Woman are beautiful and powerful. Nothing is more awe inspiring than the vastness of the wide blue ocean.  Nothing is more unstoppable than a flood.  Nothing is more peaceful than a mountain stream. Nothing is more longed for than rain in a desert.  In the same way a true woman is powerful, she affects those she comes into contact with for the better, and changes hearts.  As I have said before: history is filled with women who have transformed the face of the earth forever: Mother Teresa, Harriet Tubman, Fanny Crosby, and Abigail Adams are just a scant representation of the power of women.

It is very unfortunate that many women refuse to serve others and would rather spend their days escaping into personal pleasure and end up only serving themselves.  They let their great gift decay at the alter of selfishness. It is even more unfortunate that most lost men are attracted to those pitiable women.

“This is a truism, but maybe it needs to be said: Men who are serious about marrying women who will make good wives and mothers need to look for and date women with those qualities and practice the self-restraint that such women require of them.” (This quotation was taken from the last comment on the previous link)

Men, if you follow the fallacious advice to “Date bad girls but marry nice ones?” you will end up with as an empty shell realizing you were chasing broken dolls of your own creation rather than a true woman.

Who wants just a nice woman anyway – give me a warrior maiden for Christ!

Relationship advice from a single guy (Building from the foundations to share with you)

William Lane Craig (arguably one of the greatest modern apologists) said this in a presentation about marriage:

“And you young men, I would encourage you, if you marry, to find a gal who shares your vision, not some independent vision, but who is interested in aligning herself with you, and pursuing together a common vision and goal that will draw you [together], so that you will avoid the growing separateness that so often creeps into marriages.”

The first question to ask oneself is not who should I marry?, but should I be married? Am I ready for that great and honorable commitment and battle?  This thought is not about assimilating the woman into the man’s plans but looking for a woman who will serve God.  There needs to be a common goal and vision that will draw the two together… even after they are married.  Warm fuzzies do not last, outward looks do not last, physical strength does not last, but a commitment to God is eternal.  This is advice toward single men (though it can also be applied to single women as well) to be on the lookout for someone who shares your vision for serving the kingdom and to avoid those who only want to serve themselves – as that will only lead to separateness.

– Just because someone is married, it does not mean that the courtship should end; in fact that is the beginning.  To those who are married: you are far from done – keep courting your spouse. To those who are single (like me): do not look at married couples with eyes of envy but learn from them – learn from their struggles, their successes, the damage that a passive man brings, the damage that a escapist woman brings, and the glory that is brought to God when both the husband and wife follow His commands.

-No one needs a translator for the opposite sex (even though we may want one).

Instead just take time to listen, help, and always be ready to sacrifice what you desire to help the other.

-Women, let the man do things even if you can do them better.  I know it is hard, but it means the world to a man if you let him open the jar of pickles, open a door for you, or allow him to be chivalrous… even in every day activities (but don’t forget to praise him).  On the other side of the coin – men, be always ready to love her.  If that means scrubbing the toilet, killing a spider, cleaning up messes, or taking care of the children after a grueling 10 hour work day so be it (and don’t do it to get praised, do it for her).  In both cases it is a sacrifice, a sacrifice that consists of pure unselfish love.

-Men stop looking for approval from women and women stop trying to mother men or make them into a project. Instead see each other as something that should be cherished and protected.

-Women and men stop looking at a relationship as only a way to get pleasure.  I have seen many hearts and lives destroyed because pleasure was the only goal.  Do not be fooled thinking a kiss, a ring, or sex will end all of your loneliness and/or pain.

– Do not think that a spouse will be God – they can never be that. Do not think that a relationship can replace God.

– This is some sage advice from ‘Wintery Knight‘ for men:

“The only way to test a woman for marriage and parenting is to… test a woman for marriage and parenting. And physical attraction is not a good way to test a woman for the roles of wife and mother. As always, I think the default position for men in this society, given where things stand legally and financially, is not to marry at all. The only women you should even think of marrying are women who are actively opposing socialism, feminism, Darwinism, atheism, and any other -isms that are hostile to authentic Christian living. You will probably be miserable and wretched, but at least you can be miserable and wretched together – and you won’t have to worry about her stabbing you in the back and undermining your enterprises.”

– Chivalry is not dead!  Men do not give up your chase and chastity just because you are tired of waiting, and don’t lessen your standards. What would your future wife say if you said “I gave up my standards for you”?  She should rightly slap you in the face! Women, do not forget that you are worth fighting for!  Don’t settle for a child-man or retreat into escape (especially if you are married).

– Marriage is the second most important decision one will face in their life (or so I’ve been told), so choose Biblically and wisely.  Do not be envious or intimidated by those who have not been wise.  If a husband finds a hamster in his soup (as a commenter claimed would happen to me), he choose poorly.

– Married people, do not neglect your single friends.  You may feel as though the world has left you and cannot connect, but be there for those who may need a helping hand (or a slap of reality) in the relational world. Not only that some of your single friends may also encourage you in your great voyage.

– Men, keep this in mind (not only is it good advice, it’s funny):

– Above all else God should be first and foremost in your life.  He should be first and foremost when you are single, He should be first and foremost when you are dating,  He should be first and foremost when you are married.  If marriage is a representative symbol of Christ and the church (which it is) then that is our goal and our duty- to be a reflection of that great love.

And now some small refutation

A good defense is a strong offense, the best defense is a loving offense.

Imagine my unpleasant surprise when an college-dropout acquaintance of mine wrote about that blog post I linked to at the top of this article (warning: go to her blog at your own peril).  So here is my response to her: Megsie, don’t be too flattered about this response as I was writing this article long before you posted yours.  What I have written above clearly states my position so let me say just a few extra things:

1. Snark is not an argument.  Arguments consist of facts backed up by evidence leading to a conclusion.  Snark is just an attempt to belittle someone else to make the speaker feel better about themselves. If you want to argue with me argue with me – don’t just setup straw-men then knock them down congratulating yourself on a job well done.

2. You seem to feel that where a belief starts invalidates that belief.  For example, by stating that chivalry began as a way to “objectify women in a testosterone fueled conquest” you seem to fall into another fallacy: the genetic fallacy.  Even if chivalry started in that way (which it did not) it would not invalidate the concept of chivalry. This is true of your other ‘genetic’ claims as well.

3. You miss my whole point on escapism.  Let me try it in a way that may make more sense to you.  If a man escapes into beer, sports, video-games, books or anything else to run away from his life or responsibilities it is wrong.  It is obviously wrong for a man to neglect his wife for those distractions. Should a women be held to a lower standard?  Of course not!  It is not the object of the escape, it is the escape itself that is wrong.  Are horses, food, wine, pets, spending money, beer, video-games, books, and/or sports inherently wrong? It would be absurd if they were.  However, if they become an idol, then they are grievously wrong.  They will destroy any relationship: between a husband and a wife and also between an individual and God.

4.  I’m going to blow your mind here.  Are you ready? Sex is not a solve-all. If it was then the Lysistrata principle would have been proven right – all that is needed for world peace is for men to have sex (if they are not) or keeping men from sex (if they are).  That’s just an absurd notion, just as absurd as you saying that having sex will make me a better man.  I will be overjoyed to tell my future wife that I remained pure for her and that I was, am, and will continue to be hers and hers alone – that’s being a true man! She will expect no less from me (and I from her).

5. Last but not least, I am praying for you and for healing (Thanks Lisa from Pen and Parchment for that amazing post!) from whatever self-inflicted wounds you have – as we all have some.

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