|Being Christian in a Post-Christian Society
Basic Christian Evidences
|Dr. Ray Bohlin:|
|The Privileged Planet and Intelligent Design
Evidence for the Existence of God
The Reliability of the Bible
|Thinking Clearly About Sexual Confusion
Helping Teens Understand Homosexuality
Raising Gender-Secure Children
|Ray and Sue:|
|Guys are From Mars, Girls Are From Venus|
“Culture in Conflict” Conference MP3s
“Help Me Figure Out Why My Relationship Hurts!”
I checked out the article where you and that guy were making comparisons between Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and the Bible. That discussion really interested me because I am reading Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, and I began thinking as I was reading it and I developed a theory… First I thought about older people (ages 55 and up). I have seen so many of those older couples still holding hands and being very loving together. I found my self asking what is so different in relationships today and relationships in the fifties and earlier? Why do so many relationships fail today and not in those yester years? I came to the conclusion that Christianity must have been the key. Not only does the Bible provide instruction for healthy relationships, it also provides people (believers) with a feeling of fulfillment. Never before have I ever really understood the real reason for the verse “Do not be unequally yoked.” It causes a real strain on relationships, and I have been through many unmeaningful and heartbreaking relationships. I was wondering since you have read the whole book Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus if you could help me with my most recent relationship problem.
I have a great boyfriend–he is very beautiful on the outside and inside, he is considerate in fulfilling my needs, buying me gifts, and taking on his fair share of the cooking and cleaning responsibilities. I really love him for that. I know that he likes me or else he wouldn’t be with me and he says that when I ask him how he feels about me. Actually he says you know how I feel about you why else would I be with you, and if I say how I feel about you too much it won’t mean as much. How should I go about telling him that it means the world to me every time I hear (which is totally not enough and I feel unfulfilled because of it) him say how much he cares about me and I really need some reassurance right now about his feelings or I will have to leave him because I am very fragile right now and every day I grow more and more insecure in how I feel as to where I am in our relationship. I am even starting to question if he really wants me to go with him when he asks me if I would like to go out with him and a friend for lunch. Then he gets mad and says I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t want you to come. I constantly wish he would just give me some reassurance, any kind, because I feel myself hurting soooo much, and I know he is hurting too because he doesn’t like to see me sad. I think that he has a really hard time expressing how he feels towards me because he has been single for 30 years now (he has had long relationships that end badly) and like MAFMWAFV says that men start to love people and they pull away so they can find their own self because they are afraid they will lose their sense of independence. Do you think that he is really struggling with something like that or what do you think I should do to solve my problem? I really sincerely love him and I don’t want him to slip away because I don’t understand or know something that I should. When I am done my formatted and fully (to the best of my knowledge and understanding) completed correlation between the Bible and MAFMWAFV I will send you a copy. I know you probably get about a million emails a day so if you can’t answer mine I want you to know that I feel a little better just having gotten all of this off of my chest. Thank You Sue!
Wow, sounds like you have your emotional plate full. Question: are you living with your boyfriend? (Otherwise, why would you mention “his fair share of the cooking and cleaning responsibilities”?) If you are, no wonder you’re so insecure! Tell me, what are you getting out of this relationship? It sounds like you’re giving him the benefits of having a wife without requiring that he give you the commitment of a husband.
That’s a big reason why God wants us to be married before setting up house. It sets us up for major pain to give ourselves away without a foundation of trust.
Trust is everything, and trust is closely tied to commitment. If I were you, I would pull waaaaaay back and stop giving yourself away without a commitment. If he loves you, he will pursue you and marry you. If he’s just “enjoying the milk without buying the cow,” (to use an old expression), then if you leave and he doesn’t pursue you then you will know he is using you. Even if he’s fond of you, he’s using you. With your permission. (Ouch!) Which is not a way to demonstrate self-respect.
I would also suggest that you read Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages,” and ask him to read it or listen to it on tape. Sounds like your love language is verbal affirmation, and he needs to know that you need to HEAR verbal appreciation and affirmations of love to feel loved. I cannot tell you how disrespectful it sounds to hear the excuse “If I tell you all the time how I feel about you it won’t mean as much.” Ask him why he eats all the time instead of only at Thanksgiving. I mean, eating all the time diminishes the meaning of eating, right? Wrong! It nourishes his body, just as hearing “I love you and I appreciate you” nourishes your heart and your relationship.
I hope these observations help. I am concerned for you because it sounds like you’re the one paying emotionally in this relationship, and you’re treating yourself poorly. I like what psychologist Dr. Phil says: “We teach people how to treat us.” Sounds to me like you’re teaching your boyfriend that it’s OK to get what he wants from you without any reciprocal commitment on his part. Doesn’t sound fair—or healthy—to me! And for SURE it isn’t what God commands in scripture, which is a way to protect and provide for women’s fragility and need for security.
You might also want to read Dr. Laura’s (Schlessinger) The 10 Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives. It’s a good read because it is consistent with biblical values. . . such as the value of marriage and purity and commitment and servant leadership.
I hope this helps!
“What About Us Women Not From Venus?”
This question is sent in response to the article “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” Are all women relationally oriented? What about the introverts out there? What about the goal-oriented women?
Being an introvert myself, I have had to work at caring for other people and reaching out, as God commands. I naturally want to do things by myself and for myself. When I get stressed out or upset, I withdraw from people into my “cave.”
I am also goal-oriented. I cannot multi-task. I can only focus on one thing at a time. My motivation is achieving the goal. I strongly dislike group projects.
My fiancé is the opposite of me. He is very relational, loves to be around people, talks a lot, and is not as goal-oriented.
In my experience, there are many people like us. How can this be explained? If God designed woman to be relational, then why am I (and many others) not wired that way?
I do think that at our core, women are relationally-oriented, which you will probably see once you have children and the concept of “family” becomes much more important to you. Particularly in American culture which has been so steeped in feminism, women’s mindsets have been shaped to be more male-like, and there are more and more women saying the same thing as you.
When Ray and I give our “Mars/Venus” lecture, we run into couples like you and your fiancé from time to time, where it looks like somebody switched the labels. <smile> But the interesting thing is, you guys still find each other! There is still a beautiful complementarity to the male-female relationship where each person’s strengths and weaknesses are balanced by the other person’s strengths and weaknesses.
Sometimes people become independent and self-reliant not because of their gender but because of their family dynamics. That doesn’t change what it means to be a woman at the core of your being, though. Your experience of being independent and self-reliant is going to be different from a man’s experience. And honestly, they are both a challenge to living as God wants us to—depending fully on HIM instead of on ourselves. Being fiercely independent can be a curse; it’s a way of digging our own cisterns (Jer. 2:13) instead of going to the source of Living Water in complete dependence and neediness. But you didn’t ask that question, so I’ll get off my soapbox now! <grin>
I’d be interested in having this discussion with you a few years down the road after you’re married and hopefully have children. I wonder if you would still see yourself as not being relational anymore. If you think of it, pop back in and let me know, OK?