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There is no such thing as a “feminine side” #
Men don’t have a feminine side until they get married.
Our wife is our feminine side.
“But men have feminine qualities. Men can be gentle and nurturing, for instance.”
No, you are misunderstanding.
Gentleness and nurturing are not uniquely feminine qualities. They are human qualities that are often especially associated with women—just as strength and courage are often especially associated with men. Indeed, a woman who is not gentle and nurturing is failing as a woman, and a man who is not strong and courageous is failing as a man. The converse is not true.
Women can and should be strong and courageous. “She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong” (Proverbs 31:17). “You have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear” (1 Peter 3:6).
Likewise, men can and should be gentle and nurturing. “An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money” (1 Timothy 3:2–3). “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
For a woman to be strong and courageous is not to be masculine. She is not butch if she has these virtues, because she manifests them according to her female nature. They will not look the same in a woman as in a man, because a woman’s nature is not manly. She doesn’t grab a baseball bat to check out that bump in the night. But she faces down the pain of childbirth and the hardships of raising children.
Similarly, for a man to be gentle and nurturing is not to be feminine. He is not effeminate if he has these virtues, because he manifests them according to his male nature. They will not look the same in him as in his wife, because his nature is not womanly. He doesn’t rock his children to sleep as they suckle at the breast, or cuddle them when they hurt themselves. But he feeds them on the Word of God, and tempers his discipline to refine them without making them brittle and broken.
Men don’t have a feminine side. They manifest “feminine” virtues in a masculine way.
Women don’t have a masculine side. They manifest “masculine” virtues in a feminine way.
The virtue of quietness in men and women #
An excellent example of how virtues manifest in masculine and feminine ways is the virtue of quietness.
Normally, we would think of this as a feminine virtue. But quietness manifests as a virtue in men, too—and, therefore, in a masculine way.
Scripture uses “quiet” and “loud” as a way to describe someone’s character.
Being “quiet” is a way to describe emotional control and restraint. It is a key attribute of a wise man:
If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet… A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:9, 11)
The loud man lacks self-control. He rages one moment, and laughs the next. He is a slave to his emotions and impulses. Pressure builds up in him, and he has to let it out. He is a fool. Hence, Proverbs 9:13 says, “The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.”
This is not all there is to being quiet. It is also associated with being focused on your work, and content with your place in the world, as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:11: “…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.”
Similarly, 2 Thessalonians 3:12 gives the same instruction. “Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
This is a repeated theme in Paul’s writings, as he also instructs Timothy, “Pray…for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2).
The quiet man aspires to a quiet life, which is a peaceful life of minding your own affairs in the place and station that God has put you.
Being loud is the opposite. The loud man meddles in the affairs of others and isn’t content with his position.
Loudness in men tends to manifest in belligerence and fisticuffs. Hence Paul’s instruction to Timothy that elders must not be pugnacious or brawlers. And he also connects this to being addicted to wine. The stereotype of the man who goes to a bar to get drunk, gets into barfights, then comes home and beats his wife, is not without basis. Such is the loud man.
But women can be loud too. Whereas in men it tends toward aggressiveness and violence, in women this vice takes a softer and more social tone. Proverbs 7:11 says, “She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home.” And Paul describes a similar kind of woman in 1 Timothy 5:13:
…they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.
The loud woman, like the loud man, lacks self-control over her tongue. But she manifests this lack in a feminine way. She is all over town, gossiping and says things she ought not. She isn’t focused on her own household, but meddles in the homes of others. Today, this behavior is expedited by social media.
Paul contrasts such women with godly widows, who manifest the virtue of quietness:
Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Timothy 5:9–10)
Note her homeward focus. This is reiterated in his counsel to younger widows:
So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. (1 Timothy 5:14–15)
It is good for both men and women to be quiet. But there is something especially important about quietness in women, because of the intersexual hierarchy. In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, we read:
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
This isn’t about silence per se. It is about joyful commitment to, and contentment with, your station in life. The quiet woman is happy with the way God has ordered things. She can control her tongue. She has no desire to usurp the natural hierarchy, but rather gives herself to the work that God gave her to accomplish.
Both men and women can be loud or quiet in this sense. But Scripture especially applies this to the character of a woman. Peter instructs women to “…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4).
There are few things as beautiful as a quiet woman. She is a woman of restraint and focus, given to the work of her own household. Hence, Proverbs 31:27–29 says:
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.’
The quiet woman both knows and dominates her place in the world.
Intersexual communication is a dance #
Think of women as circular, and men as linear. This is a general spiritual truth that is imaged in our physical bodies.
The female body is more curvy. The male body is more angular.
The female bones are more rounded. The male bones have harder edges.
The female sways her hips when she walks. The male hips stay stationary when he walks.
The female hormonal state is cyclical. The male hormonal state is more constant.
There is a flowing grace to feminine women that causes poets to repeatedly associate them with the created realm.
This general circular, flowing, and swaying approach can also be observed in the seemingly indirect way women often communicate. We have observed this to be a singular point of frustration and conflict in marriages, as men do not naturally communicate this way. They don’t understand why their wives seem so incapable of getting to the point. Why is everything so indirect with them?
But it’s not indirect to them.
Communication for women often involves a broader contextual approach. Things which seem disconnected to the male mind are connected in the female mind, because they are part of the context that surrounds the topic at hand.
In other words, women’s communication is just as direct as men’s—it is simply focused on a different goal. Women are heading directly for their goal in communication. That goal is just not the same as ours.
As women circle around the topic, they create a contextual picture meant to communicate through not a single thread, but an entire tapestry. Their communication is context-driven because they want to create a deeper shared relational knowledge of one another.
Men tends towards a much more linear process. A flowing, indirect conversation is frustrating to them, because their communication is more content-driven. They are wired to take action towards accomplishing mission objectives. Hence, circular communication with the goal of relational enrichment can feel as if it is inefficient, or even manipulative. And if you have a goal-oriented expectation, it often is inefficient.
The man or woman can try to change the other through sheer force of will. They can try—but it will not take. As Cicero says, “Never can custom conquer nature, for she is ever unconquered.”
The correct approach is to treat intersexual communication as a dance. The man learns how to lead and direct the woman. The woman learns how to follow and move with the man.
Their moves are different, but they move together.
Submission requires a mission #
Although it is a folk etymology, thinking of submission as being “under” a mission is a useful paradigm.
Although the real test of submission is disagreement, the relationship in which submission takes place actually begins with agreement. Two or more parties must agree to enter into a shared mission. They must make mutual vows that define their relationship and common purpose.
This is the reason we have contracts and covenants. In order for submission to work, there has to be some kind of mutually-agreed rule-structure in place to support the work of all parties toward the common cause.
The strength of the commitment to this cause, and the quality of the relationship, is tested by disagreement.
Is the superior and/or inferior acting in line with the agreed upon mission?
Are they obeying the rules that they agreed to?
The rebel is the one not keeping their vow. They are the one who has abandoned the previous stated purpose of their relationship, and/or their particular role in fulfilling it.
Not all mission/vow deviations are equal. Always go out of your way to keep your vows and correct deviations…even if you aren’t the source of the deviation.
In the modern day, because of the hierarchy-hating defiance of feminism, we automatically think of this in terms of marriage. Submission there is controversial and frequently difficult. But in fact, what we are saying is a general principle that applies to any kind of mission. It applies in a business, in an army, in a government, in a church, or any other institution that is devoted to a common missio.
That said, for most men, the most urgent application of this principle is in their own marriages. To delve deeper into this, check out our podcast episode where Bnonn and his wife zero in on Understanding and applying mission, submission, and rulership in marriage »
If we criticize women, women say, “But what about men?”
If we criticize men, men say, “But what about women?”
Diversion tactics are prevalent among both sexes.
The mature individual, irrespective of their sex, hears a criticism and asks themselves, “Is this true of me?”
New content this week: #
- Bnonn talks about biblical womanhood, head coverings, glory, and submission on the Right Response Ministries podcast. And here’s the article the podcast is discussing: Head coverings #1: the logic of glory and veiling ⋆ Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent). This isn’t a doctrine on which we take a firm united position at It’s Good To Be A Man, but if you are committed to veiling, or you are considering it, you will find this helpful for articulating the rationale behind the scriptural command in the present day.
- Stop Finding Your Identity in Christ - American Reformer
- On Guarding Your Heart | Doug Wilson - YouTube
- Female Thor Keeps Picking Up Wrench Instead Of Hammer And Asking ‘Is This It?’ | The Babylon Bee
Talk again next week,
Bnonn & Michael