“God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” – Genesis 1:27
A couple months ago, power tools in one hand and a tape measure in the other, I attempted to install curtains in my house. I found rods that matched the theme of the living room and curtains that would keep the heat in and the cold out.
Home Depot, with its orange industrial tough-guy-but-oh-so-organized floor plan is one of my favorite places. I was there three times the week I hung those curtains–a feat many women dread.
Curtains, screws, rods and a drill, here we go, I thought. I stood in the living room ready to prove that I too could take care of my own (minor) remodeling efforts. A few unnecessary holes later–I mismeasured one by nearly a half inch and unsuccessfully tried to screw in to drywall without an anchor–the curtains went up!
Why do I tell this story? It is certainly not some kind of “Hire Me” plea so I can install curtains in your house. You would likely end up with a bunch of unnecessary holes too. Nor is it to show you how “tough” I am. Rather, I want to suggest, perhaps in a very non-politically-correct statement, that there are just some things men are better at than women (and vice versa).
Without question, any one of my male friends–most of whom are engineers or computer people–would have installed those curtains with precise measurement. Plus, quite assuredly, they would have it done in a quarter of the time. I think it is safe to say there would not be any extra holes either.
Around the same time as the curtain fiasco, I joined an Endow (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) study at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center in Boulder, CO where I am working on my master’s degree. The source document for that Endow study was Blessed John Paul II’s Letter to Women.
Referring to a previous Apostolic letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, JPII states that the Church \”desires to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the \’mystery of woman\’ and for every woman-for all that constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity, for the \’great works of God\’, which throughout human history have been accomplished in and through her.\”
The study continued from that point to talk about the joys and the challenges of being a woman.
Once we read JPII’s letter and discussed it at length, one of the young women asked why there was not a similar letter for men. We quickly agreed that a letter to men would be of great service to men given today’s societal expectations and pressures. Such a letter could affirm masculinity and give thanks for the many gifts they bring to the world precisely because of their male-ness. A letter like that, like JPII’s “Letter to Women,” could address the joys and challenges of being a male nowadays.
As silly as it sounds, it was exactly this idea that crossed my mind as I put up the curtains. At one point I even exclaimed, “I need a guy [to help me]!” and I was instantly reminded of how thankful I am for the men in my life.
Sure, they help with a number of practical things–cars, computers and doorknobs immediately come to mind. But beyond that, the men in my life help me learn what to desire in a future spouse. They are protective. They take the lead in romantic relationships. They are committed to their families and friends. They are passionate about faith and about continuing to grow in their relationship with God. They want to provide for their families.
They affirm my femininity each time they affirm their own masculinity.
I am ever more aware of the role they serve in perfect complementarity of my role as a female. In being the men God created them to be, I am more able to be the woman God created me to be.
Men need women to value, appreciate and request their assistance in those things they were created to do–protect, lead, build, provide, etc.–and as women, I believe strongly that it is our responsibility to affirm these very characteristics.
Perhaps the next time I hang curtains or take on some kind of building project I will reach out to one of the guys, not to demonstrate a weakness of my own, but to show greater appreciation for their willingness to help. I will still go to Home Depot and I will still be right there next to them, but I will let them lead. I am quite certain, by working together, we will accomplish far more than we would individually.
“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” – Genesis 2:18