I saw a statement the other day that really burned me. One of those things you read and immediately find yourself formulating a rebuttal to unravel the assertion. It may or may not be something worth examining – but to me, it conjured an inner dialogue that’s lead to some pretty important revelations.
Ladies, don’t be a woman that needs a man. Be a woman a man needs.
Okay – hold on a freaking second. Seriously? This really pissed me off. Let me tell you why.
Any dummy could deduce that this statement wildly contradicts its command. I believe the underlying message is that women should be whole and complete, not needing a man to pick up their lack or fill some sick void. I get it, nobody likes a needy woman. Although, I’ve seen many situations where the man enthusiastically assumes the role of caretaker to his woman and the woman eagerly submits – stands by her man, if you will – and they look to be happier than pigs in shit. But I understand what this person was trying to say, wholeness is attractive. And really, we should be whole characters before we unite ourselves with someone else, because we all know they will never be able to reconcile our need for self actualization.
However, I was concerned when I read this because it hardly seemed fair. Why should the woman not need the man, but rather, be a woman the man needs? So it’s okay for a man to need a woman but not the other way around? Was I missing something here? Perhaps I could have benefited from a bit of clarification. I thought about what a woman could possibly have that a man could not live without. What is it that women, exclusively, bring to the table that makes it okay for a man to need her? I think my mind went too far. Because I immediately conjured a visual resembling a 1950’s kitchen appliance ad. Happy little housewife adorned in a ruffled apron, make-up neatly done, wielding a spatula with dinner on the table at 5:00pm sharp. I mean honestly, what more does a man really need from a women other than her skills in domestication and sex – and we can even argue those as being a luxury and non-necessity.
Despite my disdain for the remark, I was forced to examine my own motives and desire for marriage. What exactly was it I was hoping to glean from finally meeting the man of my dreams? What could he offer me and likewise, what could I offer him?
I had to think about the history of my relationships with men, the dymamics, and what ulitmately caused the breakdown in all of them. Yes, its true, they all broke down because I am presently single. I wondered what from each of them was satisfying and on the flip, what was not. Sadly, I came to a sobering conclusion. At risk of outing myself as not being perfect I’ll go ahead and say it – I’m pretty sure I’ve been correlating my value to the degree in which these men expressed their desire for me. Fail.
I recently went through an epic breakup. I met the person totally happenstance and it took off like a shot. One of those sort of relationships where you spend the first week staring at each other, drooling and then counting the ways, over and over and over again. It was amazing. I thought to myself, “wow, this is what it’s supposed to be like.” I really thought I’d arrived – and even tricked myself into its validity by comparing it to a sad cliche related to turning 30 and having everything fall into place. Yes, I had just turned 30 and thought this was the prize. I’d made it 30 years, overcome much, and now God was blessing me with the cherry on top.
The thing that made this feel so amazingly epic were the non- stop affirmations this person offered me – even going so far as to bring God into it – “God showed me this about you…”, “When I look at you I see God”, “You are a gem”. Not saying these are bad things to say or hear, but I’m pretty sure it did something for me that wasn’t necessarily in balance. It was almost as though while hearing these things I was thinking to myself, “Really? Wow. Okay, yea. It must be true.” That was the problem. Did I not already know those things? I thought I did. But the events that followed have proven to me that sadly, I did not.
Through a bizarre twist of events, my “God sent” relationship unravelled instantly for seemingly no reason at all. There was no fight, no blowout, not even a conversation indicating things were failing. Everything just stopped. And all at once, I was paralyzed.
Now it’s easy to understand that anyone would probably be confused and hurt by the situation. But I feel my reaction transcended the realm of “healthy”. Outwardly, I demonstrated the normal behaviors that might accompany a situation like this. But my inner struggle was far worse than what I have been able to admit until now. I’ll just say it, I actually wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. How could this happen? What was wrong with me? How could someone say all those things then disappear? None of what he said was true. Or was it?
Therein lies the dilemma. I let this person tell me how valuable I was. No – I let him define my value – and that is very hard for me to admit. But I’ve accepted it.
I’ve traveled a long road of pain and healing. I’ve worked through more than most people would in a lifetime. I’ve come out on the other side pretty together – and I thank God daily for my life and where I am going. Along the way I’ve developed a healthy confidence and respect for myself. I really believed I had a handle on things. But the one thing I’ve realized I haven’t quite gotten a hold of is this:
My value is not contigent upon anything other than who God says I am. No man, job, or circumstance can ever add to or subtract from who God has created me to be and what He calls me.
Yes, I know, DUHS!! Yea-yea. I get it. Elementary stuff. But it’s where I am at – realizing I really haven’t gotten a hold of this truth. God help me. Because THAT can never happen again. I can’t let another man tell me who I am. I just can’t.
So yes, I understand that I cannot be a woman that needs a man. But I’d challenge that statement, altering it to say:
We cannot be a people that need ANYONE other than God.
I think that about covers it. Any maybe now I’ll stop eating so many cookies. Because I know what I really need.