“Babe, let me be a man.”
That’s one of the many jokes my husband, Steve, and I playfully throw around in our day-to-day relating to one another. We find playful banter to be an absolute must in our life together. Anyway, he says this in a couple of different scenarios.
The first scenario involves his attempt to be a “manly man.” I grew up with a dad who did it all. Work on the cars, build our homes, fix anything and everything … you name it, my dad does it. It’s a quality I always admired in my dad and quite honestly anticipated in a husband. Well, times aren’t quite what they were back in my dad’s days of young growing up in rural, Central Pennsylvania. So, for Steve, a California, city boy of generation X, “Mr. Fix-It” wasn’t an assumed duty as a husband.
While I of course have to pick on my husband from time to time about his non-traditional (according to me) role as my at-home repair man, it’s not for a lack of ability. In fact, my husband is more than capable of doing quite a few handy-man duties when needed. The problem comes when I sometimes get concerned about his approach to tackling various in-home projects. I’m quite handy myself from watching my dad through the years, so I tend to want to “assist” him. This is when he lovingly and jokingly lets me know that he’s on the job with his line, “Babe, let me be a man.”
The second scenario involves my independence. I’ve always had a tendency toward being self-reliant, but living in opposite corners of the country from my family for college followed by a move across the country for grad school, I learned to be very independent. Often times there really wasn’t anyone else to take care of things, so I was forced into managing on my own.
From the time Steve and I connected, he always wanted to help out. From carrying my over packed luggage to asserting his manly muscles to take on tasks he thought I shouldn’t have to, it was odd for me to allow him to do those things. I had become so accustomed to doing them on my own, so he would once again lovingly and jokingly say, “Babe, let me be a man.”
More Than a Joke
Although Steve is kidding around with me, there’s a definite truth that I have gained from his jest, and that is the need to let him be a man. Sounds simple enough, but in this day and age, women tend to allow themselves to engage in a power struggle with men. While I believe this is largely attributed to the feminist movement gone overboard in combination with Adam and Eve’s original sin and ensuing consequences, it’s something that is destroying marriages everywhere.
Men and women, instead of embracing our God-given roles, are combatting them. Men are taking on more passive roles as husbands and fathers rather than assuming their appointed leadership. Women are seizing control and dominating their husbands and homes rather than acting as a helpmate. The result is a lot of bitterness, resentment, and chaos in marriages and families.
Obviously every person is unique with their own abilities and skill set, but there are some basic, fundamental truths that coincide with our genders. And of course, each relationship functions differently. My husband, for example, loves cooking and helps with that on the weekends. I’m pretty handy, so I sometimes tackle a project around the house. Every marriage operates differently, as does each individual, so please know that I am not drawing hard and fast rules without consideration that all things fall on a continuum.
Allowances made, it’s a shame that we act as though our gender-related strengths are bondage rather than the blessings that they are. You see, God created men and women with very different yet very complimentary skill sets that, when brought together, work beautifully. Marriage is a God thing. He designed marriage with us in mind, knowing that we would need one another. Literally he handcrafted men and women as perfect helpers for each other (Genesis 2:18). He intended for two very different but very complimentary people to come together as one powerful unit that relies on one another to accomplish His purpose for their lives (Genesis 2:24).
So, Let Me Be a Man
Let me speak to just the ladies for a moment. Your man was built for leadership (Ephesians 6:23), and while his leading may entail a much different approach than yours, you need to let him be a man. Trust me, when you step back and allow your husband to lead, everyone wins – you, your husband, your marriage, your kids, and your family as a whole. That doesn’t mean you become an indifferent bystander who acts as a doormat or allows harmful decisions to be made. What it does mean is that you allow and encourage your husband to be the captain of your ship. You are the co-captain acting as his support and navigator. Your voice and role are still absolutely and undeniably essential but not undermining the strengths and abilities of your husband as the God-appointed leader of your home.
Believe me, I understand how difficult this can be. There was one time my husband was assembling a piece of furniture that we had bought, and it was driving me crazy how difficult he was making it and how slowly he was going about it. I just wanted to hop in there and whip it into shape in no time. But, I knew that in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t about efficiency, it was about allowing Steve to be the man. So, I graciously excused myself (to avoid the temptation to micromanage), and you know what? He got it all put together just fine.
By moving aside from time to time, we not only create space for our husband to lead, but we establish the need for him to. It alleviates stress and work from our already ridiculously hectic lives, and it strengthens our husband’s leadership muscles. Plus, we are submitting ourselves to the will of God and His design for marriage, which is always a recipe for success.
Ladies, we want to cultivate and celebrate our husband’s masculinity. We want to help him in developing himself as a man of God. One who chooses to cherish, adore, and love his wife instead of ogle scantily clad women or enter into some fantasy world that will steal his soul. A man who seeks God’s leadership and will for His family instead of passively allowing his home to fall apart. A man that actually fathers his children rather than leaving them to wander through life without guidance. A man who engages with his family rather than disengages. A man who embodies what it means to be a husband, father, and follower of Christ.
If that’s what you are looking for in your husband, then you need to be a part of the equation. You need to learn how to cease taking control and allow your husband to. Affirm him. Celebrate him. Respect and encourage him. Support him. Love him, and let him know that you will follow his lead. Let him be a man.
(c)Foundation Restoration. This article was reprinted with permission. The original article can be viewed here.
– Let Me Be A Man – http://foundationrestoration.org/2011/12/let-me-be-a-man/