Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strong and Weak

Are men strong and women weak?
Do men desire to marry strong women?
Do women desire to marry strong men?

What does 'strong' even mean? Is there ever to be allowance for weakness in the opposite gender?

I've been a part of some interesting discussion lately regarding this topic. It's kind of become this fascinating thing to me that I haven't given much thought to previously. I'm still wrestling through a lot of conflicts that these questions inevitably bring up.

Lots of single women I know (notice I said lots and not all) want to be seen as 'strong'. I think, for us, it means independent, capable, adventurous (willing to try new things).... just an all around ability to function in the world on our own. We don't need others to get by, certainly not guys.

It seems that these traits can be valued in a woman, if not taken to the extreme. Guys seem to appreciate a woman who can take care of herself, who isn't needy and dependent and whiny. He pursues, they get hitched... and then truth is revealed.

We aren't so strong after all.

We may continue to be for a while, but eventually something will happen and the man will see weakness in his wife. Maybe she'll get injured, maybe she'll cry a lot, maybe she'll scare easily, maybe she'll want to curl up in her pajamas and watch movies because she had a bad day. The glass shatters... his wife has weaknesses.

Quite oppositely, I think women want their men to be strong. They want them to take care of them, to be there to lean on, to comfort them, to hold them, provide for them. There's no room for illness or slacking off. But, eventually the glass shatters here, too. He cannot be strong all the time.

I guess, ultimately, regardless of your definition of 'strong' ('cause we all have a different one that we're operating on and holding others to)... it would seem that the best thing we can do is acknowledge that expectations are not always going to be met. We all have moments of weakness, and it seems in loving each other through weakness is where love grows stronger.

I get that weakness isn't this desirable trait...
I personally don't want to appear weak or that I can't handle hard things or that I am a push over or too dependent or... whatever else can convey that. I personally don't want to marry a man who is soft spoken or who lets me walk all over him or that I can literally physically beat up. I want him to be strong. I want him to see me as strong.

But, it's unrealistic to believe that he will always be strong... just as it's unrealistic for him to think that I will always be. Sometimes I need to cry on his shoulder, sometimes I need him to make a decision for us, sometimes I need to depend on him. Sometimes he'll get sick, sometimes he'll make a bad decision, sometimes he'll cry, sometimes he won't be able to pick up that really heavy thing for me.

Will we let that be okay?
Instead of disappointment and rejection setting in when we glimpse others weaknesses, I wonder what it might look like if we took on the Lord's perspective of weakness. What if... when they were weak... we stepped in and were strong?

What if there was give and take?
What if we could be both strong and weak?

And what if, in the end, we're all just weak and in need of saving?
What if all the 'strength' we are witnessing is just an illusion?

What if.

Whether your a male or a female...
Let's let people be people. Human. Imperfect. Weak.

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