Mondays at lunch: we fast and pray for men to lead in relationships and in the body of Christ, for our hearts to be soft and open to where God is leading, and for current and future marriages to honor the Lord.
It was my sophomore year in college when my straight-to-the-point father laid his first piece of wisdom on me. I was relaying a story of playing basketball with a few guys, when my dad chimes in, “You shouldn’t be playing basketball with the guys because they won’t like it if you are better than them.” My retort went something like, “Well if I’m better than them at basketball, then I’m not interested in them anyway.” I’m 5’4”, let’s seriously think about this folks, it’s not like I can block a lot of shots.
Fast forward 15+ years; I had entered the world of home repairs when my dad threw down his next piece of advice. I was in the middle of a bathroom remodel and needed to remove some tile, so I asked my dad for the best way to accomplish the task. He hooked me up with an electric chisel, but added “You really shouldn’t learn how to use any more power tools, because a guy isn’t going to be interested in you if you can use more power tools than he can.” My dad is the wisest man I know and carries biceps that rival the circumference of my thighs, so not someone easily intimidated, but obviously he has concerns with me being too good in typically male dominated areas, like sports and power tool usage.
My mom, on the other hand, was less concerned about her girls being better than guys and more interested in us just bringing them around. Apparently she had strong doubts about my ability to wield my feminine wiles, because she asked me one time, “Do you know how to flirt?” I can’t remember my exact response but I can imagine it being something like, “Nah, I was sick that day in school.” What was she saying? I thought flirting was standard issue, came with the second X chromosome and all.
Here’s the deal… our parents’ marriage, beliefs, expectations, and advice impact us way more than we ever care to admit. Even though I have never heeded my dad’s advice to stop playing sports with boys or quit learning how to use power tools, his underlying message has affected me. Understanding how our parents have impacted and continue to impact our interactions with members of the opposite sex is important, both for the positive and negative influences. I would venture a guess that this is not just important to understand before marriage, but is something many couples spend years working through.
For my part, I know I’ve been incredibly blessed with godly parents that pray for me and want the best for me. I also know I need to continually surrender my life to God and allow Him to keep me grounded in biblical truth. The words and actions of our parents stick with us, so it’s important to balance the messages from our parents with the truth and wisdom from the bible. So as I unpack my interaction with guys to make sure I’m not too “this” or too “that” I’m going to reflect on the words of my dad circa 1994…
Bring on the power tools!