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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Has God to Do with Gender War


A recent Facebook discussion about women's place in marriage, leadership, and religion struck me as extremely relevant to our subject, Gender War. Jesus was born into a strong patriarchal culture and yet in his three years of ministry he did wonders in setting women free without distracting people from his message of redemption. That was huge.

Women who believe the Bible must be interpreted literally sometimes struggle with accepting their own God given leadership talents. Men who insist on control miss the joy and maturity of learning from women's wisdom and special gifts. For those people I highly recommend Patricia Gundry's book, "Women Be Free--The Clear Message of Scripture". Years ago when my first book, "How to Keep the Family That Prays Together from Falling Apart" was published, I could hardly wait for my pastor to read it. He never did. His wife read my books. President Carter's brother was quoted as saying, "I never read a book written by a woman." What a shame!

In my counseling practice I have seen terrible "Christian" and "Muslim" marriages in which dominance has become abusive. I am absolutely convinced that soul mate relationship can never be achieved in a relationship where partners need to control each other. I love the advice given by long time soul mates, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder. Their advice to having a great marriage is to learn each other's rhythms and how to read them (see past post). The Lauders agreed they were hardly ever on the same emotional wave length, but they were smart in taking turns between willfulness and acquiescence.

Most of us believe that God is neither male or female. He is Spirit beyond anything we can comprehend. We use the male "he" because we have no pronoun to describe God. Hopefully, we come to know God better through a soul mate who loves and accepts us for who we are and not because of what we do or do not do. GOD IS Love!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift


Don't forget. Valentine's Day is just 15 days away. A perfect gift would be a book about love you can share together, maybe two pages at a time. The Search for Intimacy, the title of the first chapter of Becoming Soul Mates defines intimacy, tells you what keeps people apart, identifies barriers, challenges you to risk, and then describes the rich rewards as your relationship evolves into a soul mate relationship. Click on our website to find more information.

If not this book, here are more excellent relationship books. The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall; All-in-One Marriage Prep compiled by Susanne M. Alexander; The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.; Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky,M.D.; Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson; What About Me by Dr. Jane Greer; To Understand Each Other by Dr. Paul Tournier. Reading a book together, two pages at a time can help you create valuable talking and listening skills as well as learning more about each other.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Men, Women, and Money


I heard a financial adviser say, "Women should start setting aside money for retirement when they are in their teens and have their first job. She continued, "Not only do women live longer than men, they must realize they can no longer count on their marriages lasting 40 or 50 years like women in the past."

I found that interesting. Should women go into marriage believing it may only be temporary? Are men more astute and better money managers? Is it still possible for a woman to meet a man who is willing to work at being a lifetime partner? If a woman loses her mate through death or divorce, is she less able to take care of herself than a man is?

Interesting questions. Both men and women need to be frugal and wise with their money, but men are no longer the sole provider. Nothing is a bigger trigger of conflict in gender war than the management of money and roles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"The Neutering of the American Male"


The book "The Neutering of the American Male" makes this suggestion. "In a journal or tablet write your thoughts, views and beliefs on masculinity and femininity as you understand them at this moment and from where/who did you get these beliefs." The purpose of such an exercise is to identify and clarify your own thoughts and beliefs.

My husband and I like to watch old movies. Movies from the 40's and 50's show how drastically beliefs and expectations about gender can change in a relatively short time. No matter how much couples love each other sex is forbidden until after they marry. Some movies focus on the conflict desperate lovers have trying to find a minister or judge who can marry them. The husband is the authority figure, much like a father to a loved child. The wife may even adopt childlike behavior to please him. In some movies the man will turn his naughty wife over his knee and spank her. Most viewers in those days seemed to see nothing wrong with that.

In working with couples for more than 30 years, I found that for a marriage to evolve into a soul mate relationship it must be adult to adult. No parent child relationship can be satisfying for lovers.

As a young man, author Jim Wysong, struggled to understand himself and what it means to be masculine. He shares what he has learned during the last thirty years. To have successful long-term relationships you must be open to learning and understanding yourself and your lover. This book is another resource that may help you do that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gender War -- 2


Currently, a debate in the state of California revolves around which sex is more needy. Today's Sacramento Bee editorial discussed Governor Brown's proposal to eliminate the California Commission on the Status of Women.  The Bee's position seems to be that while there is official concern about the status of women, the status of men in this state needs attention as well. "After all," the editorial says, "men in California are more likely to be victims of violent crime--and perpetrators of it--than women. They are more likely to be in prison or homeless or to commit suicide. Men are also less likely to graduate high school or go to college." And they die at younger ages.

In the same newspaper an article headlined "Assaults, obstacles still stymie Egyptian women" described horrendous assaults on Egyptian women. This gender war has been going on for thousands of years.

Until you open up to learning and understanding the opposite sex, you have little chance of becoming soul mates. A man can never know what it is like to be a woman unless he learns to know and understand the woman he loves. A woman can never know what it is like to be a man unless she learns to know and understand the man she loves. The challenge adds to the excitement of a long term relationship.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gender War


From the beginning of time the differences between men and women have created conflict, misunderstanding, power struggle and even gender war. Over the next few weeks we will talk about how these perceived differences have created obstacles in the struggle to understand and accept differences as assets on our road to soul mate relationship.

For example, instead of learning one's style of communication and how to communicate effectively, some people justify failure by generalizing about gender.
-----------------All women are bitches
-----------------Who could ever understand a woman
-----------------Men never talk about feelings
-----------------Women expect you to know how they're feeling
-----------------You can never trust a man
-----------------Women cry about anything
-----------------Women don't understand what it is like to be a man
-----------------Men are insensitive and crude
-----------------Women take you for everything you've got
-----------------Men use women/Women use men
-----------------You can never please a woman
-----------------Women are never satisfied

Can you add to this list? I welcome any comments or observations you would like to share on this subject. Look forward to more about gender war!

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