I love to laugh, but look for places where I can find comedy clean. Discovered a family-oriented channel on YouTube called Dry Bar Comedy. I enjoy countless comedians there who I don’t have to worry about dropping the f-bomb or telling off-color jokes… because the Lord has been taking me through a refining process. Convicting me of what I watch, listen to, read, etc. I’ve become more aware that I might be exposing my spirit to things, images, messages, sounds I probably shouldn’t. This is true for me, especially with music. I am swayed by music and I love certain bands, especially nu-metal bands, but the language, topics, veins, have come to the forefront. Holy Spirit is tapping me on the shoulder, saying, “maybe it’s time to clean this up.” It’s a bit painful, but I don’t want to leave any doors or windows open for the enemy to get a foot in or influence me in any way that is away from Jesus. Don’t want to saturate my spirit with anything but him and the renderings of people who also call him theirs (Christian metal bands, for instance). As I’ve scrutinized the things that I subject myself to, Dry Bar Comedy has made the cut.
But even on Dry Bar Comedy, I’ve noticed an awful lot of deprecating comparisons between men and women. Maybe this has always been a go-to spiel for a lot of comedians; I’ve just grown more sensitive to the contrasts which also feel like judgements. Bits on the male/female relational differences occur often, and they’re making me uncomfortable. They have me wondering why men and women even hook up if they so viciously misunderstand each other. Then I heard someone (not on Dry Bar) the other day say, “If men didn’t need sex, and didn’t find women so rrrr” (insert tongue-rolling purr), “I don’t think men would hang out with women.” My jaw dropped. I shook my head and was like: Did you really just say that?
I like motorcycles. They’re cool. I’ve ridden my own bikes; have maintained my endorsement since the 1990s. To be honest, though, I best enjoy riding in tandem. Haven’t in a long time, but that’s another story that will beg to be told one day. Anyway, I often have viewed riding in tandem, pillion, two-up, whichever term you prefer, as a light and lovely analogy of a male/female relationship. A dictionary term describes tandem as “two people or pieces of equipment that work together to achieve a result.” Here is where I envision the man's role as initiator, leader of church and family—and bikes (or trikes, which are way growing on me). A protector, provider, defender, driver. He’s a skilled rider, will assure safety to the best of his ability. And I see the woman’s role as supportive, affirming, responding. She’s a good passenger, balanced and upright. Wherever they go, the adventures they seek, the language (and prayer—spoken or unspoken) between the two, strives to be harmonious and kind, validating. To love and to cherish, to have and to hold. Together, they are on a mission to ride with purpose into the God-gifted horizon with the joy of freedom. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
The origin of the term tandem came from a two-seated carriage (1785) drawn by harnessed horses, one in front of the other, or alongside each other. Together, in partnership or conjunction. You hear of the occasional happy couple who have it all together; partners in conjunction who praise each other and are careful not to criticize. Kind of seems rarer these days.
Have women turned to criticizing men, even their own partners, because of disappointment or rejection? And have men done the same? Are we so hurt that we can’t speak of the opposite sex as anything but complex trash? Is it really for the sake of a laugh when a comic throws his/her spouse under the bus? I don’t know, but lately I’ve been feeling how harmful this is—especially when gender roles are in crisis. With women trying to be men, and men trying to be women, or either treating the other like a burden, nuisance, or object. Maybe we just haven’t learned each other’s love language?
When I flew back home to Washington State, where I grew up, to visit my sister, we had a lot of healing hikes and talks about ministry, life, and relationships. I love her so much; she’s my tribe—and hey, my tribe might be small, but it’s big in love and support. We all need that; we need at least one person who feeds into us encouraging words and vice versa. On a whim, for fun, she insisted I take a What is Your Love Language test that suggests what your most compatible/favorable expression/response is out of five possibilities. Turns out that my love language is Words of Affirmation. But of course it is! Word. I didn’t quite realize that about myself. *shrug* This helps, I guess, to understand some things in my life.
I believe that men and women are disparate… unlike but not opposed. This is how I believe God intended it: two distinct parts, yet counterparts, genuine partners. Men are to be men in strength and leadership, and women are to be women in support and contribution. In tandem. A team. An alignment with each other because you’re aligned with the One Who Sits on the Throne before you. A relationship that says, “I get you,” and “I got you,” to your person. Whether it’s through Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, or Receiving Gifts, as outlined in the 5-love-languages test. It’s respect and a desire to understand the other’s role, mutuality, and with a level of authenticity that you don’t have with anyone else. To pray for and with each other, too—sounds like bliss! To focus on the good things within each other. And if that’s not what you’ve experienced or are living and receiving (believe me, I know about this), trust God. He can make a way—somehow, someway, someday—where there is no way (Isaiah 43:19).
Live for the Lord, not for man. The world can do what it does at its best, the common tear-down, but that doesn’t mean you have to roll with it. Dare to roll on your very own in the name of Providence. Exhibit love, honor, respect, kind treatment, compassion one to the other, male or female, in our words and deeds. Work to say, “I get you,” and “I got you.” And if you don’t receive the same, or you truly don’t understand something, or no matter how hard you try, you remain severely incompatible, continue to seek the Lord, worship him, and pray unceasingly. Just this morning during my devotional time, a daily word from Prophet Russ reminded me of following the Lord through difficult circumstances, situations, or people: “Keep trusting. Stay sweet in your soul. Refuse to become bitter or contentious.” Not always easy, but possible.
Yeshua has got to be first in everything, the number one. He can heal and transform; he can and may also realign you with other people who are better suited teammates, helpers and supporters. Next time I watch Dry Bar Comedy, if a comic starts ragging their spouse or the typical men vs women gig (the historical definition of gig is “a light two-wheeled carriage pulled by one [lonely] horse.” Just sayin’), I’m turning it off and walking away. Listening to that negative material doesn’t do me any good.
My love language actually begins with Creator, the creator of man and woman—all of whom he loves. His words are nothing but affirming.
Living in tandem with the lover of my soul,