Since the Women’s Rights movement, there’s been major advancements in what women are able to do. We can go to prestigious schools, we can get all kinds of jobs, and there’s support systems out there that still enable us to nurture our kids. However, these advancing gender roles in society have caused a lot of confusion in people’s homes.
In previous generations, women were dependant on men for provision and protection, and man were dependent on women for children and nurturing. In 21st century relationships, these gender role designations are no longer as clear.
In many households, women have higher incomes than their husbands, they may have come to the marriage with material possessions: homes, cars, or even businesses, and they get into relationships for reasons that weren’t historically relevant.
As a result, many households deal with insecurities and arguments stemming from gender confusion, so what do we do to solve this?
How To Identify Gender Confusion
Unlike many other clinically diagnosed psychological or emotional disorders, gender confusion in male-female relationships is under represented, although it’s a big deal in the 21st century. This is the first century where people no longer look to relationships for traditional purposes like protection, provision, or nurturing, and instead, look to relationships solely for emotional reasons like companionship and emotional stability.
As a result, there’s so many ways the confusion backfires in families like:
Domination and control
The man wants to prove himself as the man, and the woman wants to prove she’s equal. The man is blaming the woman when provisions aren’t made and the woman is blaming the man when the kids aren’t nurtured.
There’s a strong sense of self-reliance and constant threats to abandon one another because the interdependance isn’t as significant as traditional marriages were.
There’s no appreciation for how each person compliments the other because there’s no distinguished roles so they both continue colliding, and not maximizing the progress they innately are capable of.
If you’ve dealt with any of these, or if you ever find yourself questioning, “Isn’t that what a man is supposed to do?” or “Isn’t that what a woman is supposed to do?”, you could be living with gender confusion, and not maximizing your effectiveness as a result.
The Woman’s Role
In a previous post on the Woman’s Role, I referenced the book The Purpose and Power of Woman by Dr. Myles Munroe. In his book, he discussed how the woman’s God-given role is to be an incubator.
As an incubator, the woman doesn’t create or cultivate material, but instead, she depends on someone else to bring material, and she transforms it into something else. As a biological example, the man brings sperm to the woman, and her body incubates it into a baby.
Similarly, in spiritual circumstances, a woman who walks in her God-given purpose knows how to incubate destiny thru her words, her encouragement, her attitude, and her actions. She can be given ideas and form them into destiny. She can be given money and form it into satisfied needs and wants.
The Man’s Role
While the woman’s role may sound powerful, she doesn’t get the material from nowhere. God’s first creation was man. He was given the command to work and cultivate the ground.
As a cultivator, the man takes fruitless and barren materials and makes them fruitful, enhanced, and capable of reaching their highest perfection. When fathers are in the home, children are cultivated, pruned, and given a sound foundation for a fruitful life. Similarly, when men are in a workplace, they cultivate, provide directions and vision, and transform fruitless missions into fruitful ones.
While the Bible does show examples of women with prestigious work (like Deborah or the Proverbs 31 woman), the responsibility to provide for the family was historically given to the man. Even before the curse, Genesis 2 shows God instructed Adam to work and cultivate the land. The yield from the cultivated land would be shared with his family, and the family would honor him because of the provisions he made for them.
By way of the man’s structure, the woman is normally physically weaker. When danger would come in the direction of the woman or children, historically, it was the man that would defend them. As a result of his protection, the family would honor and appreciate him.
Man and Woman Together
Neither man or woman was designed to be alone. They’re partnership is a reflection of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: equal but complimentary parts. In ideal circumstances where they each know and walk in their purposes, man will focus his attention on cultivating, protecting, and providing for the woman, the children, and the community, and the woman will focus her attention on incubating what he’s cultivated.
As a result, there can be a beautiful interdependant relationship where they both understand the shortcomings of the other, and compliment them rather than competing. They will understand that even in circumstances where they may alternate responsibilities, they have primary roles that sometimes will require returning to.
Often, the conflicts arise in modern households when the woman (whose lived a professional life thus far) becomes a mother or needs to care for a family member. In these circumstances, her responsibility as a nurturer and incubator pulls heavily on her, but her family may have become accustom to the lifestyle her professional capabilities have afforded them.
Alternatively, there are men and women who are misaligned with their purposes who underestimate the importance of the woman’s role, and they may also underestimate their own roles as providers and protectors. Their misalignment may come as a result of social norms like divorce, single parent households, parents who are not emotionally or physically present, abandonment, or some other form of brokenness in the home.
Rather than assuming responsibility of their roles, they prefer to deflect responsibility and enforce that the other carry the Provider role and the Nurturer role, which is very heavy in combination.
Ways to Solve Confusion about Gender Roles in Society
Although these are very common topics that cause turmoil in households, there are some very proven solutions that have worked for centuries. Dr. Munroe said, “Where purpose is not understood, abuse is inevitable”, so here’s a few ways we can encourage more people to intersect with biblical gender roles:
1. Study the Bible on God’s Design for Man and Woman
The Bible shows examples and instructions for how to live as a woman and man. The woman is instructed to be different than the man; not less than but complimentary. Studying the Bible makes us more familiar with God’s desire for us, and therefore, makes it easier for us to understand and act.
2. Network with People Who are Aspiring to God’s Design for their Lives
It’s also refreshing to be around other people who are aspiring to live life as a godly man or woman. Sometimes, simple obstacles like running out of recipes or increasing in patience can make it easier to be a good mom, wife, father, or husband, but it’s hard to learn these things without an example.
Networking around other people who are relateable but aspiring can help to create a milestone. Of course, Jesus is our utmost example, so we don’t want to imitate others too much, but we can glean from others methods for overcoming common obstacles we might be having.
3. Communicate Where You Notice Improvement is Necessary
At times, making these changes to align with your God-given purpose can be quite challenging. Going back to the example of the professional woman who decides to become a homemaker, aligning with her calling could be financially uncomfortable, and even socially uncomfortable.
It’s important to communicate about the effect of the changes on your relationships with loved ones. It’s important to address conflicts that could make a wedge in your relationships as a result of your transition.
4. Continue Revisiting the Topic For Continued Progress
You may find that you transition quite a bit to achieve everything you feel called to do. You may not always fit the “traditional woman” mold, and you may not always fit the “traditional man” mold. The most important mold to fit into is God’s purpose for your life. You want to continue revisiting how your gender role can effectively fulfill God’s purpose, and follow the direction God leads you.
5. Encourage others to Walk in their Godly Roles
Sometimes, life can become so distracting that before we know it, we’re not catering to ourselves as women or men. We may stop pampering and have fallen esteems just because we aren’t nurturing God’s calling for our lives.
As a Nurturer or Cultivator, be mindful of how people get distracted or lost, and navigate away from maximizing their purpose as women or men. You can encourage by gifts like spa days (for women), sports outtings or tactical outlets (for men), or Bible study (for man or woman).
Final words on Gender Roles in Society
The goal of this article was to show how to resolve gender roles in society. There’s quite a few quarrels that stem from gender role confusion, and I’m hoping this article can help soothe some of the confusion out there.
Share this with any others you think could be helped by it. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section. I’d love to help you out!
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
Have gender roles in society caused confusion in your workplace or family life? How do you think its effected you? What solutions would you add to resolve it?