By Donna M. Williams
ACT LIKE A LADY! THINK LIKE A MAN!
It’s trendy quotes, books and movies that make women so lost and confused when we are seeking refuge. They teach us how to manipulate others with tactics that are much like a board game.
The hype surrounding comedian/actor Steve Harvey’s book propelled women (and some men) to rush into bookstores to grab their copy of the book purported to be a tell-all that would finally equip them (the ladies) to decode that convoluted complexity of a relationship known as dating (or whatever it’s called today). The movie, a blockbuster as well, has delighted women (and some men), gaining rave reviews all around.
I, on the other hand, have judiciously done my best not to have anything to do with the book, or the movie. I am not a big fan of men telling women how they should be or what they should do when it comes to pain, heartache, disillusion, and male-female interaction. “You may be able to identify the problem, Mr. Man, but you will never walk even one inch in my five-inch heels so how I ‘feel’ in any situation is still an unknown to you.” That’s my view and I’m sticking to it. However, because I did want to do a radio show on all the chatter swirling around Mr. Harvey’s pithy tome and the movie, I went to see Think Like A Man (still haven’t read the book).
I must confess that I did enjoy the movie, which was made all the more enjoyable by the comedic antics of Kevin Hart. Still, when I left the movie, and even after the radio program where my sister girlfriends and I discussed not just the book/movie, but male-female relationships in general, I was still left to wonder, “Why is this book so appealing to women? What do they really hope to learn?”
Let us brainstorm.
I can appreciate Mr. Harvey’s sincerity in text and the excited response to that sincerity, but I want to suggest that before Mr. Harvey even put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), most of us already had the answer to our lovelorn issues; we just did not comprehend that the word was closer than we realized. Is it possible that when the male figure/father figure bows out of a daughter’s life, that girl-child spends the rest of her life looking for that one man who will clue her in on how to “act like a lady and think like a man?” Voila! Enter Mr. Harvey, a man who actually says to the confused little girl who resides in too many adult women, “I care enough to give you the truth about how men think and why they think the way they think.” It does not matter that Mr. Harvey has no personal vested interest in the life of that female reader. The reader is absolutely sure that he cares about her because he is, after all, teaching her the real rules and once she knows those rules she will be able to successfully navigate those too often murky relationship waters. She will successfully manage the next relationship without too much heartburn or heartache. Women can now have the upper hand because we now know the rules and it was a man who gave them to us!
Most women understand the following even if many of them did not experience these things as a little girl:
1) The first person to say to that little girl “I love you,” should be her Daddy.
2) The first man to say to that little girl, “You are beautiful,” should be her Daddy
3) The first man to say to that little girl, “I will always be here for you,” should be
4) The first man to say to that little girl, “I will always provide for you,” should be
5) The first man to teach that little girl about men should be her Daddy.
Not Steve Harvey, but her Daddy!
Okay, so let’s say that these are the rules that build self-confidence in any little girl. The first man in her life speaks love and joy and wisdom, and she grows up trusting the voice of her Daddy (and as a result, her own voice) to find that one man who will not only compliment her but will also complement her. But what happens to that little girl if Daddy did not hang around long enough to shower her with affirmations? It is those Daddy affirmations that provide her with that definition for love. Daddy does not tell her, “This is what love is.” Instead, he shows her what love does through those affirmations and the actions that back them up. Unfortunately, too many men have an agenda that does not exactly match a woman’s expectations, but because they are male (just like Daddy), they know that the affirmations will work, especially with those little girls/adult women who never knew Daddy and never were affirmed.
Allow me this rather abrupt segue, please.
Some years ago, I attended a national women’s conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One of the soloists for the conference shared a short a cappella worship song after her big number. I have remembered the lyrics to that simple song these many years later:
“I love you, I love you,” that’s what Calvary said,
“I love you, I love you, I love you,” written in red.
God’s love, amazing and incomprehensible. God’s love, absolute and unconditional.
When the little girl in that now adult woman wants to know “Do you love me?” Abba Father will respond with an unequivocal “Yes,” as he points to a cross on a skull shaped hill.
When the little girl in that now adult woman asks, “Am I pretty?” God will say, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made, created in my image.”
When the little girl in that now adult woman asks, “Will you take care of me?” God will answer, “My name is Jehovah Jireh. I am the Lord your provider. My name is El Shaddai, your sufficiency, but you can call me Father.”
“I love you,” that’s what Calvary said!
What is the point I am trying to prove with my abrupt segue? Women, for whom Daddy was the invisible man, never present but his non-presence always a factor in their lives, will make plenty of relationship mistakes. They will look for love in all the wrong places. They will kiss a lot of frogs and hang around with a lot of turkeys, and even if she should accidentally find that princely male who truly wants to love, protect and provide for her, even he will not be able to fill the Daddy hole in her heart. Only Abba Father can restore her to that original unbroken state of trust and faith.
It will not be easy for this woman, for she will automatically assign a negative connotation to “Father.” It may take some time for her to truly understand that this Father will never leave her or forsake her, even in her unlovely and unlovable moments. But, as she learns to trust God and to expect God, she will one day realize that the little girl has grown into an adult woman who will declare to all, especially those women who wrestle with the same abandonment issues, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1 ESV). And so we are!! Who could ask for anything more?
“Love lifted me; love lifted me; when nothing else could help, love lifted me” (James Rowe/Howard Smith 1912)
Donna M. Williams
Contributing Writer, B.L.O.G. Magazine
A pastor’s wife of twenty years (now a pastor’s widow), Donna wants to encourage all women of faith to integrate Ephesians 4:1 into their everyday lives as well as to always remember that “A woman’s place is in the will of God.” Donna is the radio host of the weekly talk show “Issues After Dark: Ladies Night” (www.RMGradio.org), a show that takes a frank look at the challenges women face each day as well as the perks and pain of being the pastor’s wife. She maintains a blog, “Off the Air” (www.donnanotdiva.wordpress.com) and is also a contributor to the Religazine Media Group Website (www.Religazine.com) and the Hinterland Gazette (www.hingerlandgazette.com). She is a contributing author in the 2012 devotional Zoe Life Inspired, and is the author of a novel, The First Lady Chronicles: Quiet Desperation.