Dude (Not) Perfect
By Jim Mitchell and Janel Breitenstein
Janel: In this bookstore, I saw socks my Ruth Bader Ginsberg-lovin’ sisters would love. When you put the soles together, they read “I dissent!”
But another of her quotes volleyed through my head like a beach ball: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”
Scripturally, men and women fully portray God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
But I also know in many situations in the Church, women won’t be there.
But I can’t help but wonder if, for example, some decisions would carry more emotional complexity if women were present. Not as elders, per se, but just giving input.
Jim: Good thought. I don’t know what you’re like away from your husband, but without my wife I can descend into basic “dude-ness” faster than a two-minute drill: Frozen pizzas, stretchy pants, losing stuff in the couch cushions, and Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd booming like a theme song.
And I see that trend in my decision-making, too.
My brain’s default “guy” mode makes total sense to me. Unfortunately, it’s incomplete. Something’s missing. And no amount of other wise guys surrounding me will fully balance that.
My wife’s feminine viewpoint as co-heir of the grace of life and fellow image-bearer just makes me healthier and smarter (1 Peter 3:7). She sees things I miss. She’s attuned to things I don’t pick up on.
Janel: Exactly. And vice versa. That’s one way marriage, this intimate form of community, affects the community at large. The health of my marriage reverberates into the larger community in which we live and serve.
Jim: Conversely, when I grow comfortable diminishing women in my own life and home, I hamstring my church and rob the culture of its clearest picture of God’s beautiful design for gender—my marriage.
From the very origins of creation God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” And made a counterpart “fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).
To the extent my male brain and behavior isolates me from a female perspective—whether in pursuit of sin or in serving God—I’m disobeying His design.
The Good Stuff: Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8)
Action points: For both genders:
- In what areas of life do you tend to approach life without your spouse’s perspective and insight in mind?
- What strengths does your spouse consistently bring to the table, which when applied, could make your decisions wiser and more well-rounded? Verbalize this to your spouse.
- This week, bring them into a thought process you might have otherwise left them out of—but not for the better.
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