Paradoxical Preference

Posted: May 28, 2009 in Uncategorized
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In following my last post, I thought I would include some more suggestions for things you can do to encourage male leadership and service.

First, if a guy offers to do something for you, and you are able to let him, PLEASE let him do it! You may think you’re preferring him by sacrificing comfort. We appreciate that. But often you can unknowingly do him a disservice by declining his offer to prefer you. For example, say you walk up to a table where your group is eating, and there are no chairs left anywhere. A guy offers you his chair. You may feel guilty taking it and decline, and you may truly feel okay standing. But most guys (I dare say any guy) would feel 10 times more comfortable sitting on concrete on their knees than dealing with the mental discomfort of watching a girl stand. He’ll be distracted the whole time with that thought and probably won’t be able to enjoy his meal (not to mention, others may look at him condescendingly because they don’t know that he’s offered the favor. All they see is him sitting and you standing). Same goes for holding a door, opening your car door, offering you his jacket if it’s cold, walking you to your car (unless he’s creepy), running an errand, paying for your meal etc. So next time you’re tempted to decline a favor thinking you’re preferring him, please remember the joy that it brings him to prefer you. It’s not that we want to feed some macho-man ego or anything like that, there’s just a natural, God-given bent to find more happiness in your comfort than our own.

Also, as I mentioned in my previous post, encourage guys to make the final decision in choices that are not unanimous. If you hear a lot of “I don’t know, whatever you want to do,” simply say, “I want you to decide.”

Affirm a guy’s upward steps in leadership. If a guy who used to be hesitant and indecisive has made a quick, confident, decisive choice, tell him you respected that. It’s not weird. Conversely, if a guy who is usually controlling asks for input and suggestions, reaffirm that. Anything to point out that he is learning and becoming more of a man is helpful.


To my fellow young men, please join me in learning to prefer the women in our lives above ourselves in the small things. Let’s hold doors for them, give up our seats for them, walk them to their cars, etc. We’ve lost a lot of that in our generation…Let’s reclaim it. In these things we can show we care. Let’s be more decisive so they don’t have to take the lead.

1 Cor. 16:13-14: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

Ladies, please comment with any additional suggestions of small or big things guys have done for you that have showed care. We want to learn from them and emulate their example.

  1. mom says:

    As your biggest fan, here are more comments.

    First, you’re hilarious (” But most guys (I dare say any guy) would feel 10 times more comfortable sitting on concrete on their knees than dealing with the mental discomfort of watching a girl stand.”)

    Let’s see, big or small things that show care. They are almost always small, but oft-repeated, courtesies. In no particular order:

    1) Hold her chair at a restaurant. Get to the chair first so she knows you’re going to hold it. Otherwise you may pull it back too far and have to catch her as she falls to the floor. Not good. Chair holding makes a woman feel like a queen in public. That’s what we like: not just to be with a knight but to be seen with him.
    2) Always carry the most and the heaviest when there’s stuff to carry.
    3) Never let her walk alone at night. Ever.
    4) When you’re married or engaged, tell her often she’s pretty, especially when you sense she feels otherwise. We never get tired of hearing it. In fact, most of us doubt it all the time and are always comparing our looks to other women. Don’t tell a girl this before you’re serious about her, though. It’s a compliment with extreme mileage.
    5) Learn how to cook. This is big, not small, but I can tell you it is very attractive to me. Your dad blesses me every time he cooks, regardless the simplicity, but because eating is so integral to life, learning to enjoy cooking so that you and your future can do it together will be a lifelong pleasure. I have never found it attractive that a guy can’t tell a cheese grater from a pasta ladel.
    6) Don’t bring up the cost of everything, big or small. It’s really annoying.
    7) Chew with your mouth closed.Don’t slurp or burp.
    8) Laugh at her jokes. Even the corny ones. If that’s all she’s got, laugh anyway.
    9) If she asks what’s on your mind, tell her. We honestly want to know, even if it seems trivial. Trivial can be really funny.
    10) When there’s work to be done, do it. Especially in group settings, I can tell you I always notice the men who are stacking chairs, carrying boxes, putting away tables, wrapping up cords, etc. They are far more attractive than the ones standing around making phone calls or chewing the fat with other ppl.
    11) Take her flowers. I can’t overstate enough. Find out her favorite, but
    if you don’t know, buy daisies or carnations. They last a long time and she’ll feel loved every time she sees them. Save roses for THE girl of your dreams. They spell love.
    12) Know a bit about auto maintenance. No girl wants to be stranded with a guy who’s clueless about what’s under the hood.
    13) Help stranded people on the highway whenever you can. Use wisdom and caution, of course. While it’s not a direct service to me, I melt whenever I see it.

  2. Joel Rishel says:

    Steve, great thoughts. Thank you for thinking through some of the practical aspects of masculinity and femininity. As men pursue masculinity and as women pursue femininity, we are imaging forth the glory of God … even in the very small things.

  3. Kristi says:

    Sorry I didn’t let you take the back of the van 😦 I will make sure I let you next time!

  4. Steve says:

    Oh, Kristi, don’t worry about that! :). Please don’t feel bad about that at all. I appreciate your sacrifice.

  5. Karen says:

    Very well thought out and put. I appreciate your insight and thoughts on this ever present issue. I am forwarding a link to this post on to Ronan. 😉

  6. Laurie Lynn says:

    In light of your two most current posts I first want to tell you I appreciate your honesty on this topic. It seems to be a topic that is way more clearly taught about in scripture than men or women want to practice! I’m not too amazed that the same battle that we saw in the Garden of Eden still plagues us today!
    Women want to usurp and men tend to submit!
    Yes, I know there are men who want to dominate in unreasonably harsh, controlling and sometimes cruel ways, but the tendency seems to be among Christians, that men too often submit as women usurp! Seems women AND men have been so swayed that:
    1. It’s difficult for men to lead without feeling apologetic.
    2. It is difficult for women to submit, respect, trust and honor men.
    Feelings aside, however, a Biblically thinking and convicted Christian will recognize this and seek the truth of scripture. Men will lead in confident gentleness and women will submit in respect! It needs to be intentional since it doesn’t come naturally!
    1 Peter 3:1-9
    1 Cor. 11:3
    Eph. 5:22-30
    Gen. 1 & 2! (Some of these are about marriage, but the principles still apply!)
    I appreciate your thoughts concerning this struggle. I think that you men have it difficult with so many mixed messages given by women or the world’s blab as well as many chruch fellowship’s embracing the philosophy of the world and helping to keep the confusion alive!
    I say: Lead! Remember on one hand we as women WANT you to lead and on the other hand want to usurp that leading. So when a male and female are faced with a decision and she wants you to decide and says, “whatever you want to do.” She REALLY IS saying “I want you to decide.” However sometimes for women, the old desire to usurp rears up! Oh, may we, women submit respectfully and joyfully! And may men, lead lovingly, confidently and unapologetically and in a word, Biblically, and under the headship of Christ! (No small order!)

    I don’t mean to be unspecific here! It just seems to always come down more to Scriptural principle than practice!

    A small thing (that really isn’t so small) that my husband does is to pray. Sometimes he will say, Should we pray about this? (A submissive woman will say “Okay. Yes, let’s pray!” A rebellious woman will say, “Like this is a good time! I’m really busy at the moment!” ) (Sometimes we women can be very rebellious and disrespectful! But we NEED our men to lead despite our bad selves; partly for accountability and partly to be as Christ.) Also my husband will say, “I’m going to be praying for you today.”
    It’s a blessing to have a man who submits to God, not to woman!

  7. Laurie Lynn says:

    Okay, may I edit a piece of my comment that didn’t quite convey my thought very well? Maybe none of it was conveyed very well, but when I said “It just seems to always come down more to Scriptural principle than practice!” I meant that if we had the principle in our heads and hearts, it would be much easier (maybe even a joy) to practice, protect and love the principles, specifically of our God ordained roles as male and female!
    Am I as clear as mud now?

  8. Steve says:

    Mrs. Laurie,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and Scripture references! They’ve been incredibly helpful

  9. […] guys) to read it. He did a great post recently on how to encourage male leadership. You can read it here. […]

  10. Maggie says:

    I like it how you put very plainly that a guy would feel ten times more comfortable sitting on a concrete floor on his knees than dealing with that mental discomfort… I’ve read this before, but that sentence was a good reminder 🙂 thanx!!!

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