Since people tend not to want to read super long posts on a blog site, I saved the hard hitter for a new post.
So, just in case you are new to this blog, go ahead and catch up here.
Let’s revisit the topic of a woman’s self-sufficiency. Most people would agree that women are taught conflicting messages about who they should grow up to be. Last post -for those who decided not to look back- I talked about a woman’s strength as a weakness. Being unable to ask for financial help was a very superficial example, just a little taste of what I wanted to get into.
Back to the topic of a woman’s strength. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can damn sure speak for me. To be clear, being a strong woman doesn’t lend itself to a singular, succinct definition, but more a collection of actions that I’ve seen or heard about over the years. It means getting up every morning to go to a job you hate to make sure you have food on the table for your family. It means skimping on your meals to make sure you everyone else enough. It means being able to dig inside yourself and make the impossible possible.
Go back and re-read that last line.
On the surface, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Each of us comes into the world alone and leaves it alone, so self-reliance should be valued by each of us…but some of us overvalue it.
When I say some of us, I am talking about women. I know I just lost someone with that…but bear with me.
Every woman should embody strength. Each. And. Every. Woman. We should value our ability to be able to go out and stand on our own two, while realizing that for a woman to be successful in a relationship, there has to be some give and take. I’m not telling any woman out there to rollover for a man, but I am asking every woman reading this to realize that there has to be a compromise to that virtue when it comes to being in and maintaining a successful relationship.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I know many women -self included- who feel like they have to have something of substance to bring to a relationship. Beauty fades, and that same spark/passion that can be a driving force at the beginning of a relationship has to be replaced by something stronger as we go along. A lot of times, men and woman don’t exactly see eye to eye about what that means.
The Bible tells us that a good wife “submits to her husband”. Merriam-Webster tells us that to submit means “to yield to governance or authority; to defer to or to consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another”. With that definition, I understand why it can be hard for a woman to even CONSIDER submitting to a man. Here’s the thing: we don’t live in the days of old. Men aren’t the only breadwinners. Women should both value and demand the collegial respect of her partner, while understanding that to receive it, she has to be willing to give as good as she gets. Submission does not have to be absolute, nor should any woman submit to a man who is not worthy in her eyes.
I can’t offer a hard and fast way to decide if a man is worthy. I think it goes without saying (even though I am going to say it anyway) that every man is not worthy. That is a decision that every woman has to make about the man she is with. What I can say is that there is undeniable strength in being able to make that leap to submit to a man. There are countless examples throughout our history: Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, even Michelle Obama. All three women were married to men who accomplished amazing things by putting themselves in a place that was dangerous to themselves and their families. While I don’t doubt that these woman had heated discussions with their men about the decisions they made, I’d also argue that none of these men could have been as great if not for the support of their women, women who were willing to let their men take their places in history, despite their own doubts and fears.
Chopping a man off at the knees, making him wonder what could have been, asking him to conform when a 9-5 stifles his dreams isn’t compromise. Compromise might mean allowing him to take a gamble when the possibility of his failure is more daunting than the spoils of his success. It might mean altering your life plan to allow him to have a chance at that success…but as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
In my last post, I said that compromise was arguably more important than communication in the ultimate well-being of a relationship. I take it back. Compromise is key.