Men need women and women need men. Right? Everyone understands how men need women to complete them. Only a woman can take an immature, selfish beer-drinking bachelor and make him a selfless hard-working father who looks out for his family. But what about the statement that women need men? When I asked a group of young women the question if they needed men to fulfill them they thought this was some sort of sexist remark. Realizing the need to fully communicate this teaching, I will systematically prove why women need men. In doing this we’ll simultaneously overthrow the popular idea floating around the pop culture that women should break free of any dependency on men and that women should venture into areas that men typically occupy.
There endures an idea in the modern culture that there is some war of the sexes in which women need to rise up and prove they are better than men. And if there exists a clash between the sexes, then the sexes will not see how their opposing natures are, in fact, beneficial to each other and rely on each other. In short, if there is a battle of the sexes to see who is better, people are less likely to embrace the teaching that ultimate fulfillment occurs when man and woman unite their different character traits and roles together, or in the Biblical sense where”the two become one” in marriage (Genesis 2:24, Mark 10: 8).
In Catholic theology, the basis of the many differences in men and women is positive because when these distinctions are combined together they help complete what the other is lacking and, consequently, fulfill one another. For example, men and women have different bodies with different reproductive organs. And when their distinct bodies join together in the sexual act they complement one another and produce a positive effect – a new life. Therefore, given the fact that life originates from the combination of man and woman’s distinct bodies illuminate the larger point that human fulfillment itself is finalized when men and women unite their differing nature’s together. However, the idea of “sexism” attempts to take down the idea that men and women need to unite to: 1. Complete the human fulfillment and 2. Create life. In these two fundamental steps, the Church outlines that marriage is meant to be unitive and procreative.
Also, because of the differences between men and women, the modern culture naively assumes that one of the sexes must be better than the other and thus, the other sex needs to do what the opposite sex typically does so they can show they are just as good as them. Here, is where the term “sexism” comes in. However, the word “sexism” is merely a superficial reading because people incorrectly assume that having gender differences implies that there is a competition in which one has to be better than the other. Under this view, since sex difference exists, then inequality exists, and inequality is treated as a bad word. However, why must a difference in genders suggest that there is competition in which you have to decide one is better than the other? God didn’t create differences in genders to make them compete against one another. He purposely made the genders different and incomplete on their own so they will become complete when they use their differences in a way that complements one another. Therefore, God’s plan is when opposite and diverse natures attract to each to serve one another much like the Eastern philosophy of yin and yang. No sane parents would see the differences of their children as some sort of signal that they need to have a competition to see who is better.
What is also going on is a huge misunderstanding of what the word “equality” means. People tend to think equality means the “exact same.” Therefore, if there exists a difference, then sameness (a.k.a. equality) is removed. However, this again suggests a bland reading on what a word means. Equality does not mean the exact same. With equality, there exists a likeness, not a sameness. Theology reads the word “equality” as when diverse natures come together to produce an effect in which both natures complement each other.
The importance of equality is that both elements play a necessarily even role to produce an intended effect. Sameness cannot produce anything new. The color yellow joining with the color yellow produces nothing new just like a woman “joining” to another woman produces nothing new. However, when yellow unites with a different color, green, both of these differing colors of yellow and green produce a new color – blue. Therefore, equality is built on the idea that diverse components come together to create a new object or once combined these diverse aspects complete one another. To get life there needs to be a man and a woman. Without a woman, no life is possible, and without a man, no life can exist. So, man and woman are equal in that both are necessarily needed to get life. Moreover, to become fully human in our thinking and acting capacity, the male nature (truth-seeking) needs to combine to the female nature (relationship-seeking) and vice versa. However, when the male nature and the female nature refuse to unite their differences in a partnership, a breakdown will naturally ensue.
In short, the word “equal” is when two different entities come together to help the other’s weaknesses with their strength. Therefore, with equality, a difference must necessarily exist. These differences don’t fight with one another to prove they can do what the other does, they simply acknowledge their differences and accept them as such. A simple analogy of this is a spaghetti dinner. Spaghetti dinner is when noodles combine with sauce to form a new nature – spaghetti. Observe that if the same ingredients come together (sauce/sauce or noodle/noddle), this new entity of spaghetti is not created.
Therefore, the noodles and sauce are equal in that both are needed to create spaghetti. If one was removed, the concept of spaghetti would be impossible. Notice that in this analogy the noodles and sauce are not the same, however, their differences combine to create something new. Also, notice that the noodles and sauce unite to fulfill each other’s weakness. The strength of the noodles is it has structure but lacks a fluid element to give it taste. The strength of sauce is it is fluid and has taste, but has no structure in which people can enjoy its taste. Observe how the noodles’ strength completes the sauce’s weakness and the sauce’s strength completes the noodles’ weakness. Notice also a major problem would arise if the sauce attempted to take on characteristics of the noodle and the noodle tried to act like the sauce. So it is with the opposite character traits of men and women.
Therefore, equality necessarily needs different elements to bond together in which both complete the other’s weakness with their respected strengths. Another simple example will help clarify this.
A quarterback is not complete on his own. A quarterback needs a wide receiver in order to complete him. Similarly, a wide receiver is not complete on his own. A wide receiver needs a quarterback to satisfy him. Moreover, for a quarterback to do his job (complete passes) he needs a wide receiver to do his job – to have the ability to get open and catch the ball. Conversely, for a wide receiver to do his job (catch passes) he needs the quarterback to do his job – throw the ball accurately to him. Notice that the quarterback’s strength is throwing the ball, but his weakness would be catching the ball. Notice also that the wide-receiver’s strength is catching the ball, but his weakness would be in throwing the ball. Do we observe how the quarterback and wide-receiver when combined complete what the other is lacking?
Additionally, notice how both are not satisfied on their own, and both of their roles are reliant on each other. Given these two points, when the quarterback and wide receiver join their differences together within a partnership approach, they are both complete and fulfilled. If they are to be happy and the team to be successful, the quarterback and wide-receiver need to be on the same page and do their respected job without stepping on each other. In both analogies the bonding and uniting of opposite elements is what we see in the human sphere with a marriage of man and woman – when their unique characteristics are combined to create life and complete one another all is good.
However, suppose an entity approached the wide receiver and continuously put messages in his head that because he is “subordinate” to the quarterback, the quarterback is oppressing him. Suppose this entity repeatedly instructs the wide receiver that the quarterback is holding him back and that he needs to prove he is better than the quarterback is. Imagine this mysterious entity continuously suggested that the wide receiver “break free” from his wide-receiver role and instead should do the job of the quarterback to prove that he is just as good as the quarterback. In this sense, this “entity” has broken the original bond and unity of the quarterback and wide receiver. If he were successful at having the wide receiver resent the quarterback and convince the wide receiver to stop embracing his position of wide receiver, and instead play more of a quarterback role, than he would have ruptured the contingent bonding process of quarterback and wide receiver. Notice that this entity is trying to breakdown the necessary and unique differences of the quarterback and wide receiver. If he was successful in doing this, the team itself would deteriorate. Here, they are no longer teammates who fully embrace their differences and unite them in a dependent manner. They now become pitted rivals against each other attempting to prove which is better. In applying this analogy today, the modern culture is pitting women against men in trying to convince women to enter into the male domain so she can break “free” of her dependency on him.
Of course, this idea would be as faulty as the notion that the wide receiver does not need the quarterback or the sauce does not need the noodle and that they would be best served to become independent of them. Also, what would happen if the sauce thought it should play the role of the noodle or the wide-receiver should play the quarterback position to “prove” they are just as good as them? Then, spaghetti would never occur and the football team would never win. In a similar vein, the pop culture is attempting to convince women to dawn more of a masculine role and cut themselves off from the very resource that completes her.
The focus of the relationship between men and women coming together to help each other by exchanging their respected strengths and weaknesses experiences a major problem when the focus shifts to, “Who is better” or “I can do the things you do.” This would be akin to someone coming up to a parent of two children and plant the false idea in his mind that he needs to decide, “which child is better.” In this scenario, the family would collapse. So it is with the human family.
It’s also important to realize that the role of a woman being subordinate to a man (see 1 Timothy 2:11-14) does not devalue the woman, but rather enhances her nature as well as completes what is lacking in the man’s nature. Many skeptics use a tactic in which they insert emotionally charged words into their reasoning to influence the audience’s thinking. Words such as “tradition,” “subordination,” and “hierarchy” are neutral words that the skeptic has cunningly changed into negative words so as to manipulate the audience’s thinking. For example, the word “subordination” in its original context follows the conjunction of “sub” and “order.” To “sub” is to follow after or behind another. Consequently, the word “subordinate” in the proper context of a cause and effect dependent relationship means “in the order behind.” This does not denote inferiority in any way it merely states that one comes after the other. The order in a recipe does not mean that one ingredient is better than the other. All it suggests is that there is a correct order to follow in which two ingredients depend on each other in a cause and effect fashion to produce a new “flesh.”
For example, in the recipe of a pizza to say that sauce comes after kneading the dough does not make sauce inferior to the dough especially if in the pizza formula, the dough needs the sauce and the sauce needs the dough to complete the pizza (i.e. one flesh). In this analogy, the dough represents the male, and the sauce represents the female in that to produce the end product the order is necessary. Therefore, the sauce is subordinate (follows in the order after) to the dough. In fact, in the creation account of Genesis the fact that God made the woman after the man, and Adam’s response to meeting the woman communicates how both need each other to fulfill them. In this sense, the woman stands in position of the icing on the cake – the second ingredient that comes later in which to harmonize and fulfill the production of the full cake.
Clearly, there is no inferior concept of the ingredients in the pizza or cake analogy. For the pizza and cake to exist requires both, not one over the other. Similarly, the order of gender roles in which the male nature of truth-seeking through an analytical approach comes first followed by the women’s nature of relationship-seeking through an emotional connection comes second to complete the fulfillment of the human person (I’ll provide scientific evidence that shows men are truth-seekers and women are relationship-seekers in the articles to follow).
Every person craves the truth and every person craves relationship. Moreover, the human race represents rational beings that think (masculine nature) and emotional beings that need relationships (feminine nature). Therefore, the male and female nature combine in the correct order to fulfill the totality of the human person.
The difference between the sexes in their complementary fashion communicates the message of God – that both use their nature to serve the other. That the strength of one covers for the weakness of the other and vice versa (see 1 Cor. 7:14). This, by the way, is what love is. The reason why one gender needs to serve the other gender is that God designed the sexes to help replace what the other gender is lacking so as to complete their roles – much like a screw and a nut together fulfill their job. Therefore, there is a reciprocal giving and receiving formula embedded in God’s creation within corresponding aspects of gender differences. If people remove complementarity distinctions, they simultaneously remove God’s message of using the self to serve the other and cheapens the experience to a reversal – to use the other to serve the self.
With this gender neutrality idea, the pop culture is attempting to take away the beautifully unique differences of men and women to serve one another and create a bland environment in which everything is the same. Here, the differences of the colors black and white have been reduced to a boring gray.
The series of articles that will follow will provide concrete evidence of how men and women are different from each other. What is crucial from this fact is we’ll then show how the joining of their different natures completes and fulfills one another. This joining does not focus on “who is better,” rather it concentrates on how both serve each other so the “two become one” in marriage.
To be continued….