Man for the field and woman for the hearth:
Man for the sword and for the needle she:
Man with the head and woman with the heart:
Man to command and woman to obey;
All else confusion.
— Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Princess
It’s dualistic and a pretty good description of the relationship men impose upon women in pagan countries.
In my short time among Reformed Christians, I have heard similar sentiments. Real men, smart and strong, are supposed to drink and smoke and talk about lofty manly things away from their womenfolk, who go about their lowly womanly business in the kitchen exchanging recipes and caring for the children.
Why, oh, why?
Not that I don’t want the recipes … but y’know, sometimes after a long, hard day, some girls need a smoke and a drink and a good ol’ discussion about theology, or something transcendant, eternal!
Where does this need to constantly assert authority come from? It looks like so much male insecurity to me.
Over the years, a good deal of the things I’ve heard about masculinity are reminiscent of prepubescent boys I knew who ripped the sleeves off their shirts and walked around trying to flex their bony little arms.
“Asserting masculinity isn’t masculine. A man who is a man can safely forget that fact.” — Ben Zedek
Masculine men marry warrior women, which is the kind of woman Proverbs 31 was talking about; “virtuous” is a mistranslation. Their masculinity is obvious and needs no defending or defensiveness.
It takes a wise woman to keep her priorities straight. She must submit to God first, then her husband. Depending on the situation, her disobedience and deception can save him (e.g. Rebekah, Rachel, Tamar, Esther, etc.).
A wife who is a submissive doormat, who does not sharpen her husband, who sits back while he makes mistakes or is sinful is not only doing him a great disservice, she is sinning herself. (Read Mr. Arterburn’s helpful book on marriage.)
There are so many things in this world I do not understand. Why are there women who choose giggling and ignorance? Why do they let their “manly” men to stomp on them? Why do not not care about the Word and words?
It’s been about 5 years since I moved to America. Although I haven’t owned a TV the entire time I’ve been here and have never seen Martha Stewart’s show or read her magazines, I’ve learned enough about American culture to have a general idea what kind of person she is.
Now, whenever women say “Martha this” or “Martha that” as if they know her, I chuckle on the inside … especially in light of this passage.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus did not condemn Martha, but he commended Mary’s priorities.
Women! Be Mary! Seek Truth! Seek Transcendence! Sit at His feet!