Being created in the image of the Creator is a sign of the preeminence of mankind in God’s creation. It is also a sign of what God wanted for the relationship between men and women. God designed men and women to complement each other. Are you complimentary or competing in your relationships as a man and woman?
Repeating what has already been stated, man is made in God’s Image. He is designed for work and activity. His testosterone design is primarily about being Separate & Powerful, and he tends to need Significance and Respect.
The woman is also made in God’s Image. She is designed for relationships and helping – and remember, helper is a word used primarily of God; it is not a demeaning, derogatory word. Her estrogen-progesterone design is primarily about Belonging & Relational, and she tends to need Safety and Security.
Those two designs, therefore, fit the roles that God created for men and women.
- Men are to WORK – Provide, Protect, and Preserve.
- Women are designed to RELATE – Help, Nurture, and Support.
But these designs are seldom complimentary now. So, what happened?
Think about the sin in the Garden of Eden (this will be covered in detail later). Both Adam and Eve made the mistake to operate outside of their designs. Eve chose to be Separate & Powerful (risk-taking, assertive, doing, leading), and Adam chose to be Belonging & Relational (responsive, relational, being, following). AND the consequences have created pain and suffering that continues today.
Is this role-switching happening now? Absolutely! Adam and Eve were only the first to step away from the way God designed them.
The role switch occurs because of a trap set by Satan. He wants women to be more like a man. In fact, the women’s movement will continue to hurt women unless it recognizes the design differences and stops trying to make a woman into a “better man.”
And Satan wants something similar for men, to be more like a woman. Too many men give in to pressure to be responsive, relational, being, and following because the world wants men to be more like a woman.
But Satan confuses the situation even further. Actually, he pushes two simultaneous messages that distort the image of God in both men and women. He wants men and women operating at the extremes of their designs or in the opposite design. He wants men and women to ignore God’s perfect design for men and women.
So, Satan’s message for men is “be relational and safe more like a woman” AND “be powerful and assertive taking advantage of women.” Men naturally respond to the powerful, macho, kick__ type of man more than the safe man because men are designed to be powerful more than relational. Ultimately, it is easier to be a powerful man unless the man’s development was inside a relational family system or other relational structure. Even in those structures, man still has his design, which is actually the easier path for a man.
On the other hand, it is more difficult to see how the “be relational and safe” message also hurts women. Following that “be safe” approach, a man takes advantage of women by abdicating leadership and protection, which is his God-assigned role. That abdication creates a structure where a woman is left to take care of herself and, often, take care of an irresponsible man. Later you will see how this behavior from a man perfectly fits the judgment for women (chapter 4).
Satan does not care which option he chooses because both damage him as well as create relationship and marriage problems.
And Satan follows the opposite pattern to confuse women. The message has a similar structure, but the focus is opposite to the one for man. “Be powerful and aggressive like a man” AND “be relational, sexy, alluring in order to take advantage of men.” Of course, women tend toward the sexy and alluring (pulling men to them), because of their relational design.
Women are encouraged and even taught to act like a man, abdicating motherhood to work and pursue careers, giving in to pressure to be aggressive, assertive, and powerful. There is no doubt that women can be powerful, just like a man can be relational, but those are not the designs of either. In business especially, women are taught to be more assertive and powerful, which does have some benefits and is appropriate for some situations. More often, though, it hurts a woman because she is not designed to be powerful. Therefore, her behavior is or seen as overbearing and malicious, which results in the “B” word being used to describe her.
Again, Satan does not care which option she chooses because both damage her as well as create relationship and marriage problems.
Strengths and designs do matter in both men and women, but Satan wants to confuse everyone so that men and women do not become complementary companions like God designed. Satan wants conflict and making everything about ME.
And then we wonder why relationships do not work. Men and women are not focused on their strengths!