Do I See A Double Standard?

I’m going to toss this out there and see what happens. The longer I look at it, the more I see a problem. I’m curious what women will think about it.

Do I See A Double Standard?

I tell men how women think and communicate and encourage them to learn to speak to their wife in a way that she can hear. I see it as both loving and wise to do this. I also suggest that women should learn to speak to their husband in a way that he can hear. Goose, gander, no difference.

However, I see a lot of women who seem to think it’s their husband’s job to learn to communicate like a woman, but she has no obligation to try to understand how men talk, share, hear, or think. The unspoken message is that female communication is superior and he should try to bring himself to her level. She, on the other hand, shouldn’t try to lower herself to his level.

So, is it just me, or is this a common double standard?

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m trying to be bilingual!

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64 Comments on “Do I See A Double Standard?

  1. Perhaps there is a double standard, but not in my household. Hubby has learned not just woman, but Libl. I have learned hubby, BUT I also found I speak and think more like a man, lately. More logically. When I take life like a man, I find I am happier. But, I am not sure it is do much “like a man,” as it is overall maturity.

    People used to be taught how to speak, debate, hold conversations, and consider issues adults face. That is being lost in a wave of emotions and “what about me’s.”

    Right now, I have more male friends than female that I talk with on a regular basis. I can’t have the conversations I want to have with women. They are too emotional and stubborn-minded, or just don’t bother with the deep thought and logic required. They prefer surface small talk with big, fake smiles to try to put others at ease. Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable. When I talk with the men, they actually challenge me to think even more deeply and logically, and they love talking with me because they can get a female perspective without the stone-walling, arguing, emotional tirades, and illogical feelings-based opinions.

    I don’t think that is ingrained female-speak. I think it is what society has taught us over the years of stupid tv series, soap operas, female talk shows, and now social media. My grandmother thinks and speaks differently than the women of today.

    • @Libl – If you had brain scans done I would bet there are some places where your mind leans towards the male side. My wife is the same way, and I lean a bit more towards the female than most men. It’s just how we are, and it’s right for us.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Debt Is NOT The Reason For The $eason!My Profile

  2. I think that first you need to define “communicate like a woman” vs. “communicate like a man”.

    • Yeah, this. Without a definition, I’m just guessing at what is meant here. If it means “speak clearly about your feelings,” then, honestly, I’m going to come down on the woman side just because of the mind games from trying to guess what someone else is thinking (especially if they’re not interested in figuring it out themselves and just react). Or if it results in stonewalling. I get that men aren’t comfortable thinking about their feelings, but there has to be a way to work with that.

      • @closertotheheart @sunny-dee
        I didn’t want to pollute the question with my view of how men and women talk.

        On mind games and guessing, men will tell you women do a whole lot of this. And this is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Women use subtle cues that most other women get loud and clear while most men miss them. A woman expecting a man to learn to understand her subtle cues is putting up a barrier to communication.

        As for feelings, I agree most men need to be more in touch with their feelings. But most men will never do that to the degree women do, and honestly, I don’t think that’s wrong. Yes, we need to go further, but not all the way to where women are.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Debt Is NOT The Reason For The $eason!My Profile

        • I didn’t say men should read subtle cues or that men should be as emotional as women. I said, “clearly communicate their emotions.”

          Sitting in silence is not communicating. Leaving the house and just standing in the yard is not communicating. Throwing a tantrum or acting angry, saying “it’s not about you,” and then continuing to act angry without ever explaining why or just controlling your actions is not communicating. Barking out a single word and expecting to be obeyed is — again — not communicating.

          In all of these cases, men are magically expecting women to read their minds and respond in whatever way the man wants — without ever articulating it to the woman (or, possibly, even to himself).

          When counselors say, “you need to work on communication,” it’s almost always because the man was completely shut down. Even Gottman said that the stonewalling problem is most commonly male.

  3. It’s good to remember that there is a spectrum of “maleness” and “femaleness.” High estrogen women are chatty, relational, and “smiley,” as Libl described. High testosterone men lean to the far end of “stereotypical” male conversation. But, there are those who are more “bridge brained,” spanning the gap between the two.

    I never ever thought that learning Dave’s communication style was lowering myself to his standard. It was actually lifting us both up into a new level of marital understanding and communication. Neither male nor female communication style is superior to the other. However, it might be that female is perceived as superior because a female, oftentimes (not all the time), processes conversation and words more quickly than men.

    I agree with you that it is in a marriage’s best interest to for each mate to learn the other. It’s a reciprocal education and should not be one sided. One of the best things I ever did was to study male communication patterns. It helped me tremendously in communicating better with my husband, Dave.
    Bonny Logsdon Burns recently posted…Courage After Sexual Harassment: What To Do After #metooMy Profile

    • @Bonny Logsdon Burns – Great points – thanks.

      I agree women, in general, are better at communication. You should be, more of your brain is devoted to it. But sometimes simple is better. Here’s my oft-used example of this:

      A man walks into a hardware store and speaks to a male employee:
      Customer: Eyebolts
      Employee: Isle 10, left side near the end.

      A woman walks into a hardware store and speaks to a male employee:
      Customer: I need an eye bolt. Something big enough to hold the bird feeder my son made for me for my birthday. He put a lot of time and effort into it, and it’s very well done. I want a nice looking eyebolt so it doesn’t detract from the feeder. Can you please show me where your eyebolts are?
      Employee: Follow me.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Debt Is NOT The Reason For The $eason!My Profile

  4. We’ve all been told by the media that if a marriage is in trouble better communication is the answer. Talk about your feelings. Sit down together and get it all out in the open.
    These are all female style sharing tactics and they simply don’t work with most men.
    I’ve discovered that my husband prefers action instead of talking and sharing feelings. For example, he would prefer to make love and then talk about the issue while cuddling afterward. Lovemaking is the key that unlocks his willingness to tenderly work out an issue.
    But we ladies would rather settle the issue first, then make love. Very different indeed.

    • This is where I struggle. You nailed this on the head in regards to my marriage.

    • @W. – Great point!

      Men also talk better while doing something. Working together, taking a walk, even driving in the car are generally better for a man than talking face to face with nothing else going on. Talking in the dark is also a good choice for many men.

      As for sex, that can be a great way to open conversation. Trying to have a difficult talk when he’s “hard up” is asking for trouble. Beyond that, sex makes a man feel close and intimate, and that makes conversation easier and better.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Debt Is NOT The Reason For The $eason!My Profile

  5. Society’s paradigm is that “the woman is always right”. This permeates into expectations on both sides. Churches drive me absolutely crazy with this, telling men to man up and just take care of her and do what she wants. If I was a single guy I can guarantee you’d not see me in the building again. Even occasionally here is “if you had sex before marriage it must be that he pushed her into it”, nonsense.

    • Different perspective: I grew up learning women and their words are somehow inferior and man is always right because he is logical and fact-base, not emotional like women. If women would just shut up, do as they are told, and give him all the sex he wanted and not bother him with anything menial and womanly, then marriages would work out just fine.

      As you can see in my first post, that bias still exists in my thinking.

      • I don’t agree with the women are subservient nonsense either. I still remember when I was in HS, the message from the SBC was “Wives, Submit to Your Husbands”. What a gigantic pile of crap, that’s the best thing you could figure out for all your affiliated churches to focus on for the year. Men are just as emotional as women are, it just manifests differently. The dumb advice you were told is the reason we have the problem we do now, the pendulum was pushed too far in one direction, and then there is an equal and opposite reaction the other way.

    • @Andrew – No, PART of society’s paradigm is that the woman is always right. There are those who think women are always wrong.
      As for church, not all of them are this way. I don’t even know it’s the majority. And yes, we are certainly getting the pendulum effect on all of this. From one wrong extreme to the other and back again.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Debt Is NOT The Reason For The $eason!My Profile

    • Dude. Just find a better church. Seriously.

      We never get any of these messages you keep saying “the church” purportedly espouses. Neither does my sister at hers. We hear y’all are sinners saved by grace. We’re all in this together. Life is hard; but Jesus.

      So go find a church that’s less concerned with culture and more concerned with the gospel. And that practices church discipline.

  6. With the rise of feminism today, there is a war on men in our society. Masculinity is seen as something wicked and perverted and disgusting. Men are encouraged to be more feminine and be more like women. The mistake feminism made was thinking that the idea that the sexes were different meant that one was superior. It doesn’t. If you want to see how men are today, watch most any sitcom with a husband and wife. The wife is the smart one who is in charge and the voice of sanity and the man is a great big idiot and walking hormone.
    Nick Peters recently posted…Book Plunge: Remnant: Rescue of the ElectMy Profile

  7. Forget communication, I think its true with everything. Communication, feelings, how to spend money, sex, raising children, church/worship,etc. Women want men to not only understand the women’s view on this, but understand that its the RIGHT view, and that men had better get with the program.

    • What is really funny with this, is that at some point in the single world the tables seem to turn. Our friends who are male and single suddenly are the desired ones in their 30s and get to set the rules, and the older women are stuck in “a man is supposed to pursue me” paradigm and stay single, getting more and more annoyed about it. Why on earth would the guy get married and cede that power back to her.

      • For one thing there shouldn’t be power struggles. If you wouldn’t want to cede your sense of self to a woman, why do you think she would want to cede that to you? We women are already the weaker vessel who have a lot to lose should a man exercise his control over us. I don’t think men realise the tremendous amount of faith we have to put in them just to have a relationship with them. It has only been in recent decades that a woman in the western world is able to support herself and her children should a man abandon her.

        One punch from my husband could kill me.

        He can easily overpower me physically, sexually, and emotionally.

        I feel like all I can do in return is annoy him.

        I feel like all I can do to him is bruise his ego, but all it would take is another woman to make it all well again.

        Again, it shouldn’t be about superior vs inferior. It shouldn’t be a power struggle. It shouldn’t be baiting and luring.

      • As someone who has done his share of writing about the Church and its bad teaching on masculinity, and as a librarian, please let me share some resources I found earlier this year.

        Someone in this thread mentioned the book Why Men Hate To Go To Church. That book was written by David Murrow, and Murrow has an excellent website entitled Church for Men (

        Some asked what would a man-friendly church look like, and there are a couple of videos on his vimeo channel about just such a church. At the time, the pastor was a woman, Jennifer Wilson, and after reading Murrow’s book, set out to change the culture of their church. Here are the urls for the videos:

        Amazing grace UMC –
        Follow-up video –

        Rev. Wilson has moved to a new church in the interim, and I discovered that she has been appointed the United Methodist Men’s Ministry Board of Directors. I have emailed her, and she is more than approachable, if someone wants to pick her brain.
        CSL recently posted…Addressing the Man-O-Sphere: The Last WordMy Profile

  8. As a whole the “psychological industry” (and I don’t apologize for using that term) is feminine. It is all about emotions, and the standards have been feminized. The ramifications of this are huge, and they affect all of society and marriage included. Oh, they pay, lip-service to male-ness, but principally men are supposed to be female light–less emotional, but essentially the same. We are not the same, and the difference is both God-ordained and substantial. BOTH husband and wife need to learn the characteristics of the other gender and their mate in particular, because harmony and true intimacy demand it.

    • I do hear men. I hear them asking about their lost masculinity. I hear and I want to listen and understand.

      How would it look if it were set right in the world? In the church?

      How would church services differ from today’s “Jesus is my boyfriend” sentiments?

      How would the family differ?

      How would your masculinity be expressed in your marriage?

  9. There is a book I plan to get sometime called Why Men Hate Going To Church.

    I can understand it. Church services are always about how you feel and your personal relationship with Jesus. Sorry, but I love theology and apologetics and what I do, but if this is going on, I’m more thinking about what I want to watch on TV when I get home.
    Nick Peters recently posted…What Is The Foundation?My Profile

  10. I definitely think BOTH husbands and wives ought to try to understand and communicate with their spouse as the other does. My husband and I try to do this. (He’s fantastic at it, by the way!) However, part of the conflict you have explained above may have something to do with the sterotype that men often DO NOT communicate. Like, at all. :) Unless they are asked a question, and then, their answer is plain, and straightforward, without any frills or “below-the-surface” meaning. Perhaps many women feel as if there is nothing to learn? I’m not saying that is a correct viewpoint, but I’m wondering if this is part of the picture.
    Amanda recently posted…Marriage Humor: When Cracking Jokes Becomes Waving WeaponsMy Profile

    • It may also be due to the “face-to-face” vs. “shoulder-to-shoulder” communication differences between men and women. More than one writer has noted that women prefer face-to-face communication while men communicate better when shoulder-to-shoulder facing a common “foe”.
      CSL recently posted…“Salvation Is Of The Jews” [link]My Profile

  11. Actually, I think that men are encouraged to learn womanspeak because it’s usually the most productive way to identify and solve problems within a relationship.

    An analogy – then the M16 was introduced into inventory and deployed in Viet Nam, reports came back from the field to the effect of “This things jams all the time!” and “What a plastic POS!”

    It’s useful in identifying the fact that there IS a problem, but not so much to the engineers who had to fix it. They needed engineer-speak, since the problem seemed to be deployment-specific. Problem was, there were not a lot of riflemen who knew the lingo.

    The problem was largely twofold, and both causes related directly to the theatre in which the rifle was employed.

    First, the cartridge cases were subject to corrosion around the rebated rim, and could be weakened to the degree that the ejector claws would rip the rim off, leaving the rest of the empty brass firmly ensconced in the firing chamber. The field solution was to tape a cleaning rod to the bottom of the barrel, to clear it. The permanent solution was to redesign the case, both its alloys and its dimensions.

    Second, the hot and humid environment caused the cases to swell just enough so that they would not seat in the tight-tolerance bore (even with the use of the bolt forward assist), and could not be manually removed by working the charging handle. The fix was to loosen the tolerances a bit.

    The point of this lengthy digression is that both sides had to be talking the same language to get the job done quickly, and that language HAD to be more specific and suited for the process.

    So learn to think and talk like a woman. No one’s going to cut off your cojones for it, and a lot of dudes will secretly emulate you.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 404 – Precious MomentsMy Profile

    • @Andrew Budek-Schmeisser – I agree a common language is needed. I would expect that to look different for every couple.
      One of the issues some men have with women is they seem to want information that is unnecessary. Of course, to her it is important. The question is does he really need to hear those things from her or share such things with her for them to identify and fix the problem.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Debt Is NOT The Reason For The $eason!My Profile

  12. When I first read this I said yes, there is a double standard but then I started to think. Maybe there is a double standard because women for so long have had to conform to men. Through history women haven’t had a lot of choices. They have had to accept how men are. I may be wrong and out of topic but I see this in the Latin culture that my wife is from. From what my wife tells me women are expected to accept men as they are. Men will cheat, come home and not help with anything and etc. And women should just accept it. Of course not all women accept everything but thy are expected to just excuse and forgive he man if he has cheated but not leave him because a “man is a man”. There are no expectations for a man to change. When my wife was cheated on by her last boyfriend there were people in her family(mostly older people) who said that she should just forgive him, “his a good man” even if the dude practically was selling himself to other women. And almost every woman in her family has had their husband cheating on them. Now this are extreme situations but I think that this has been the norm practically everywhere. Men are the way they are and women have to accept it. Now with the rise of feminism and more awareness about equality and a new way to view masculinity and femininity women don’t have to accept this behavior. There is more pressure on men to actually change. Women don’t hear any longer that they have to do whatever the husband says or accept anything the man does. So men have to change. They need to start to act and speak in a way that touches a woman’s heart and I think that’s beautiful. But at the same time I do think it can go to far. I sometimes feel like a man has to do a lot of changes too but the woman doesn’t have to do it. I may speak from my own experience where I sometimes feel that my wife expects me to change more than her. Or at least that’s what I have felt. I think love is the key. A love that is ready to sacrifice and compromise and wants to learn how to love their spouse the best they can.

    • Any imbalance in power creates friction. Misogyny in other cultures, and fifty years ago in the US is absolutely a contributing factor to this. Women should never be subservient second class citizens to men. Neither side is “right”

  13. I guess I haven’t seen this double standard, but perhaps it’s because I work in publishing? There are many marriage books that seek to explain gender differences yet our demographics show that it’s nearly all women buying these books and very few men will read them. And perhaps because I’m still in a denomination that leans toward a very toxic version of patriarchy, I feel mostly told to keep quiet, or that the only way to be heard is to communicate like a man and not let all those pesky feelings fog things up.

    So maybe it’s not a double standard as much as it’s both genders feeling their way is right and being uninterested in bending, with different demographics leaning in favor of different genders?

    That said, in my own marriage, empathy comes easier for me than my hubby and I am more aware of what is going on in my heart than he is in his own, so it comes more naturally to try to translate my needs into manspeak than I think it would for him to try to figure out womanspeak. But perhaps that’s our upbringing…

    • @Kay “I’m still in a denomination that leans toward a very toxic version of patriarchy”

      Care to share which denomination? So many denominations are embracing feminism that it is getting harder to find the ones that teach biblical non-toxic patriarchy. Or do you believe there is no such thing as non-toxic patriarch?

    • Or maybe the books have so much on what men are doing wrong, without a similar concentration on women.

      I’m thinking of Ken Nair’s “Discovering the Mind of a Woman”

      The TL;DR summary is, if your wife is behaving badly, what did you do to make her behave that way. If she has an affair and leaves, you didn’t take care of her. If she is ill, you are making her ill, stressed, etc.

      Maybe the reason men don’t read such books in the same numbers is they are not about to walk into a one-sided ambush.

  14. Personally I find it limiting to not learn how men communicate. It isn’t that hard if you just accept that they are different in some ways. But then again I was raised by my dad. I actually had to learn how to do “girl talk” when I joined the working world.

  15. I will say that overall I agree with the comments about psychology and counseling being more female talk. During our marriage counseling there was a lot of talk about feelings which my husband didn’t like. That said, he didn’t like to hear my feelings because they were the result of how he had treated me and hurt me. It convicted him and brought up feeling of guilt and shame. He loves to talk/debate ideas, history, the latest news, etc. That’s all great and I talk about things like that, but there are times I would like to talk about relationship stuff. I think we (my marriage and society in general) need to come together and meet in the middle. Both give a little or a lot and speak each other’s language or at least try to interpret it. While TV and much of society portray men and inept and incompetent but in my marriage I know my husband is completely able to do much more than work. For me the double standard comes the other way, he’s always right and doesn’t want to hear what I have to say.

    • @Tiffany – I think most men, and their marriages, would be far better off if they dealt more with their emotions. Just because we bury and deny them doesn’t mean they stop affecting us. But it does mean we lose the power to make changes because we refuse to deal with the feelings that are driving our behaviour.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Debt Is NOT The Reason For The $eason!My Profile

  16. The double standard exists as an artifact of 50 years of feminism in the west. This is a combination of three things: (1) The curse on Eve in Genesis 3:16 which put a desire to control her husband in her heart (New Living Translation). (2) Changes in technology, like the automobile, birth control, home appliances, and workplace technology that made it possible for women to leave the home and enter the workplace and allowed women to pursue sexual relationships without fear of pregnancy, and (3) historic misogyny that has existed throughout the world since the Garden of Eden and still exists in most cultures in the world.

    This double standard is wrong but understandable because Americans have a very heightened awareness of correcting injustices while at the same time an obtuseness about the dangers of going too far in correcting injustices. Feminism started off trying to correct an injustice but now has become a force for creating a lot of new injustices.

    And while it would be nice to see this as a pendulum that will balance itself out, the trends do not indicate this. What is actually happening is the withdrawal from human relations and the retreat into social media, video games, pornography, and coming to an internet catalog near you:sexbots.

    The destruction of marriage is the end game here, and it is well on its way to becoming a realization.

    • It wasn’t about Eve desiring to control her husband!!! Almost all women I know Christian and non do NOT want to go all Jezebel on her husband. She desires him to love and cherish her and be partners in life.

      The curse is more likely about men usurping women as we have seen since Adam passed the buck on Eve. Good gracious! We only got the right to vote 100 years ago!


        @Libl: “She desires him to love and cherish her and be partners in life.”

        It’s nice to know that other than increasing pain in childbirth, the fall made Eve a better person. And since she has no sin nature other than when an evil man puts her up to it, then maybe she doesn’t really require the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

      • @Libl – The whole “rule over your husband” idea is actually very recent. Fifty years ago no one would have said it was valid, now it’s the common answer. The change came from an article written by a woman who was opposed to feminism, so it’s reactionary theology at it’s worst. (See for more on that.)

        There is a VERY good case to be made for the passage being about sexual desire. But for some reason, no one wants to hear that.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Blessed Are The Meek HusbandsMy Profile

        • “Reactionary theology at its worst”

          Solid exegesis at its best and most intellectually sound, actually:

          Wayne Grudem (Editor, ESV Study Bible)
          John Piper (
          John MacArthur (
          Denny Burk (

          Who is this Rachel Miller you are taking instruction from? A degree in Medieval History from Texas A&M. That’s your authority?


          • @Mitt – You have not refuted what I said. You gave examples from after the change I mentioned that support what I said. Show me something 100 years old or older that says the same thing.

            I find it interesting that two of the articles you pointed to make no mention of Song of Songs 7:10. This is one of only three places the word translated as desire appears in the Bible, and it very clearly is about sexual desire. Not mentioning one of three uses of the word seems odd to me. The third article mentions is, in passing, at the very end when Burk says he agrees with Susan Foh. At least he admits Foh helped shape his understanding.

            And rather than asking who is the Miller who questions Foh, let’s ask who Foh is. As far as I can tell, her degrees are in English. Did Foh build on the work of others, or was this a radical new idea? Everything I can find indicates her idea was a new one. That doesn’t make it wrong, but if it flies in the face of 2000 years of interpretation is needs to be studied very carefully!

            Foh starts with “The current issue of feminism in the church has provoked the reexamination of the scriptural passages that deal with the relationship of the man and the woman.” Seems to me she is saying she’s looking for a new understanding to deal with a new problem. I’d call that reactionary theology.
            Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Men With Smarter Wives Have Better MarriagesMy Profile

        • Physical or sexual, the implication is also that that desire is unrequited. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a curse.

          • But it is not physical or sexual. And it is not a positive desire and it would actually be good if the husband were not to requite it. But in a sense he does because his rule is not benevolent. Read the links and you will understand what the whole debate is about. It has to do with how we understand the word “desire” and what our doctrine of the Fall is and how the fall affected relations between husband and wife, men and women. Failure to get this doctrine right has massive implications for human nature and the necessity of Christ’s substitutionary atonement. To make this out to be a positive desire is to minimize the affect of the fall on Eve and to suggest only Adam’s rule was affected. If Eve’s “curse” was to have a positive desire for her husband only to be slapped down by his mean rule, then the fall made Adam worse and Eve better.

            I’m sure the female chauvinists would love that interpretation. Wow! Eve was cursed to be a loving and submissive wife only to have Adam be mean and dictatorial. But in what sense does that even implicate Eve in original sin? Is she a lesser sinner? But then the lesser sinner must then receive less of Christ’s atonement.

            So as we assert the rightful belief that women are equal to men in value to God, we must also accept the corollary truth that they are also equal in their sinfulness. And it is one thing to agree in principle with the notion that they are, but in practice it is not working out that way in many churches today. And whatever anecdotal horror stories some may point to for churches that push oppressive forms of patriarchy (leading to the question of whether they think any form of patriarchy might NOT be oppressive), I can point to the massive number of churches that have completely thrown in with feminism. It simply isn’t even close anymore.

            • @Mitt “Failure to get this doctrine right has massive implications for human nature and the necessity of Christ’s substitutionary atonement.”
              If Foh is right, we had this wrong for 98% of history since it was written.

              “I’m sure the female chauvinists would love that interpretation.”
              What the female chauvinists love is the idea that women are all trying to usurp male control. It justifies all kinds of limiting, controlling, and abuse.
              Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Men With Smarter Wives Have Better MarriagesMy Profile

              • I am interested in hearing how this was interpreted by the rabbis. I have no problem in believing that the Church has gotten things wrong for centuries and even millennia. After all, I am a former Catholic and I can take you on a tour of church heresy to rival a trip to Madame Toussad’s.

                But knowing how this verse was interpreted and understood in Jesus’ time might be corrective.
                CSL recently posted…Addressing the Man-O-Sphere: The Last WordMy Profile

            • Two sexes get two curses each:

              Wife gets pain in childbirth and unloving husband
              Husband gets painful toil under the sun and a rebellious wife

              Their sin and resulting separation from God yields brokenness in the most important realm of authority for each sex and yields brokenness in their relationship. Both, actually, are statements of fact. Calling them curses does have the implication that God is zapping them with bad stuff because of their disobedience. But actually God is just informing Adam and Eve of the innate consequences of their disobedience. God built a moral order within his creation that reflects his power and glory. Violation of that moral order carries within it the seeds of destruction. No extra creative power by God was necessary to curse them. They were already cursed the moment they disobeyed. Eve was cursed first because she sinned first.

  17. The fall is the transformation of the human condition from life to death, sinlessness to sinfulness, wholeness to brokenness, communion with God to separation from God. To minimize the extent of the brokenness is to minimize the significance and scope of the grace of the cross. We can never fully grasp the depths of his grace until we grasp the depths of our own sin. The only reason there is still love in us is because of his special grace for the elect and common grace for everyone else.

    In what sense is any of this a “stretch”? This is pretty mainstream evangelical/reformed doctrine. I can understand disagreement based on other doctrines or faith traditions, but I guess then that’s where we have to agree to disagree. I have my church and you have yours. Viva la difference.

  18. Adam’s pre-fall love for Eve was corrupted by sin, and, therefore, unloving. Less loving. An inferior state of love which requires the grace of God to restore. My ability to love my wife is diminished by sin which seeks to destroy my love for my wife. The Holy Spirit, however, gives me the strength to do that which my sinful flesh makes impossible. I guess you think the fall just left Adam and Eve’s relationship alone? Adam still treated Eve with Christ-like love? I guess I am at a loss to know where the obtuseness about this comes from.

    What is so magical about 1974? Lemme guess. The accusation is that political motivations are behind some theologians selectively interpreting Genesis based on a desire to thwart the impending corruption of the church by feminism. So a bunch of male chauvinists like John Piper and John MacArthur hatched their evil plan to change the meaning of scripture to give them a leg up on fighting feminism in the church.

    But if all had been left alone, the church would have been ushered into the glorious new age of feminist Christianity and egalitarians would have taken over evangelical and reformed churches the way they have done in mainline and liberal denominations. John MacArthur would now be grooming his female replacement just like Bill Hybels has done, although, technically, Heather Larson will be executive lead pastor of Willow Creek and Steve Carter will take over the pulpit. I guess half a loaf is still better than none.

    • @Mitt – I claimed this interpretation didn’t exist before 1975, and I showed you what I think is its inception. That article pretty much says it was necessary to come up with a new understanding to defeat feminism.
      I’ve thrice asked you to prove me wrong by showing me this teaching before 1975. You have not done so. Seems this is going nowhere.

      BTW, for the record, I’m a complementarian, not an egalitarian.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Wanting Sex Makes Men Vulnerable And DependantMy Profile

      • Paul,
        That statement, “I am a complimentarian” is misleading. You do not believe what the vast majority of complementarians believe. If you were to put you on a complementarian curve/scale you’d be at the very, very far “left” end closest to egalitarian. In fact to most of us you are an egalitarian that’s how far “out there” you are. I do not know a single other complementarian that believes in women’s ordination- let alone whose wife is ordained. You are welcome to your beliefs but they color everything you say and they are in start contrast to what many of us believe- male and female alike. From our standpoint, you are either ignorantly, willfully or virtue signalling others into dangerous doctrine and harm’s way. There is a huge blind spot in your theology and view of women and the Lord. Respectfully.

        That said I believe you have some good things to say about being generous to one’s spouse, but when you get outside that you quickly frustrate me and many of your brothers and sisters.

        • @Bob – I have described myself as a soft complementarian. I see far more responsibility than rights for husbands. If Jesus is our example, traditional complementariness has some significant problems.

          I would also say I’m a complementarian in marriage but not in the church. I see some clear biblical lines drawn in marriage. I see people who make clear lines in the church, but I can’t find support for those in the Bible. I go where the Bible takes me, and I change if I find I was in error about that.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Don’t Make Moral Mountains Out of Preference MolehillsMy Profile

          • Paul,
            The rest of us own Bibles also. Many of us have studied theology for decades. We would also say that what we believe is based 100% in biblical accuracy. What my Bible says that husbands responsibilities are great but so is our authority. They are not on opposite ends of the same line. They can and do exist side by side- just as Jesus’ great grace, mercy and love exist side by side with the great authority he has in our lives and all of creation. I know will never agree on this but you speak as if you are the authority, when roughly at least 1/3 of modern christians would disagree with you on the right, 1/3 on the left of you and in the documented history of the church 85% would disagree with you on the right (right being what you are calling complementarian and left being egalitarian). You are welcome to say what you want, it is your blog, but please don’t represent it like your view is the settled interpretation not the fringe belief in the history of the Christian church. Each christian should go to the God’s Word and read it for themselves and come to their own conclusions. I think we’d both believe that the others beliefs are at a minimum semi-dangerous, right? I know it is easy for trolls to take over but there are indeed christians, who love God and their fellow man, including their wife (especially their wife) and are knowledgeable in scripture that think you are wrong. Really wrong on this. Thank you for being willing to post a dissenting view point. I respect that and won’t post again respecting your space and you as a christian brother.

            • @Bob – Yes there are many opinions, and most back their opinions with what they see as valid theology. Thirty-five years ago I would have agreed with you. But the more I dug into the Bible, the more I felt my beliefs didn’t match up with what God was saying. My change on this was personal, there was no one pushing me in the direction I went. If anything I was moving away from the beliefs of most of my friends on this one. I’ve spent the last three decades trying to separate the traditions of man from what God says. In some places that has meant going even further in the direction I was leaning, in others, it’s meant a new direction. Sometimes I really don’t like what I see, but I try to discern and obey. And yes, I know folks who do the same thing and end up with different conclusions.
              As for what most believe or what was believed historically, those are not irrelevant, but they can be wrong. There were times and places where the majority of Christians thought witch burnings or slavery were the will of God.

              With regards to where I stand on this issue, most complementarians see me as an egalitarian, while egalitarians usually see me as a complementarian. I suppose both sides see enough places where I don’t agree with them that I must be on the other side. More and more I’m thinking the whole thing is a false dichotomy with both sides having some truth and plenty of error. But the lines have been set and a lot of folks are too invested in protecting their side to consider other options.

              Thanks for the reasoned discussion – always a pleasure to debate with a sane brother in the Lord!
              Paul Byerly recently posted…HhhhhuuuuugggggMy Profile

  19. Some observations:

    We take our broken state of affairs in this fallen world as “normal” and then try to figure out how to deal with things. Start with the fact that we’re all sinners by nature and broken, and what we need first is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives, including marital communication.
    “Male” vs. “female” communication tendencies are part of that brokenness. I’m sure Adam and Eve before the fall communicated differently, because God made them to be complements of each other. The Fall took those God-designed differences and warped them out of all recognition. To try to make fallen men communicated like fallen women or vice versa is like saying, Don’t drink that poison. Drink this one instead.
    I find the double standard Paul mentioned in the original post. But I’m sure women also often see the reverse double standard. It’s how we perceive ourselves and each other. If I’m having communication issues with my wife, my selfish sin nature says, She needs to change. (“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” – My Fair Lady) But if I’m really following Christ and loving my wife sacrificially, I need to look at myself and see where I need to change. Remove the log in my own eye first.
    What’s the purpose of communication at it’s foundation? Is it to make my self known to someone else? Is it to help me understand others as they make themselves known to me? Actually, it’s both. Two-way street. We talk a lot about communication but don’t do so much actual communicating. Put theory into practice. Or put it into practice without fully understanding it. It seems to me that a lot of the “communicating about communicating” in many of the comments above is more about choosing sides and proving points than about actually doing something better.
    That brings me to the theological turn the conversation took. Now, I’m all for solid doctrine. In fact, I firmly believe that bad doctrine eventually leads to bad practice. But too often, even our good theology leads to nowhere in any practical way. There are many theories about how the Atonement works, but whatever the correct answer is, the fact remains that Christ’s Atonement does in fact save us. There are many ideas about what exactly happened at the Fall, but whichever is correct, the fact remains that we are broken, lost in sin, and every aspect of our lives is contaminated. By all means, go at it hammer and tongs over the theology. But don’t forget that there are real people in real marriages who are dealing with real communication problems. Only the real grace of Jesus Christ can change that.
    I love Paul’s comment about trying to be bilingual. As someone who loves languages, including the non-verbal language of music, I find that as I learn another language, it helps me understand my own. And I find that if you want to understand another culture, one of the keys is to understand its language. Maybe we of the male and female cultures need to do more cultural exchanges. It’s sometimes intimidating, but the rewards are great.

  20. I think there are many more double standards than most people realize.

    Everywhere we turn husbands are portrayed as bumbling buffoons. With very few exceptions, television portrays men in this manner. The wife is almost always the smart, strong half of the marriage, while her husband is nothing more than a dumb, weak child. The wife is the one who holds the home and family together, which often requires her to overcome her husband’s childish mishaps. Even the Cosby Show from the 80’s was like this. Claire was an strong, intelligent, sensible woman, whereas Cliff was a bumbling fool, despite being a doctor.

    The husband is also unable to manage money because he is too foolish, and he purchases items like an impulsive child. Husbands are are also portrayed as being weak prey to conniving salespeople, often forcing their wives to return their ridiculous purchases.

    This double standard also exists with parenting. The wife is usually portrayed as an intelligent, capable parent, while the husband is such an idiot that he can barely be trusted to be left alone with their children.

    It’s been acceptable for women to slap men on-screen for years if he has done something to hurt her feelings. It’s even funny in the right situation, but the mere thought of a man doing that is reprehensible. This isn’t just limited to entertainment either, because I’ve also witnessed this in real life.

    The wife often has to control her husband’s diet in order to keep him healthy because he’s unable to do so himself, but I’ve never seen a show where the husband has to do that for his wife. There have been many shows that laugh at the husband’s weight problem, but laughing at the wife’s weight problem would be viewed as body shaming.

    While not specifically limited to husbands, men’s penis size is also up for ridicule and laughter. This can lead to terrible inferiority complexes for men, but that’s never addressed in talk shows like body shaming women for their weight or breast size is. I’ve seen magazines at check out counters with “how to overcome your partner’s small penis and have great sex” on the cover, but I’ve never seen “how to have great sex despite your girlfriend’s/wife’s inability to engage in certain positions because of her weight.” No wonder some men are guilty of overcompensating, but then that too is up for jokes and ridicule.

    Impotency is also frequently laughed at, which is probably part of the reason why an entire industry of ineffective supplements exists, but a woman’s inability to have sex because of a physical condition is not laughed at, including conditions that could be corrected with pelvic floor exercises.

    It’s interesting that we laugh at men who “can’t get it up,” and we joke about them needing to “tape a popsicle stick to themselves,” but I’ve never heard a woman being ridiculed for her inability to become aroused.

    If a man struggles to last very long in bed he’s derogatorily referred to as a “minute man,” but no one ridicules a woman when it takes her an extremely long time to reach orgasm, and men are instructed to be understanding and do what it takes if she is so inclined, and not doing that is viewed as selfish.

    I’ve even seen shows where the husband’s sexual prowess is left in question and shown to be lacking in comparison to one of his wife’s ex-lovers. This is never seen in reverse, which is hypocritical, but it’s even more hypocritical when a husband’s insensitivity is responsible for shutting down his wife’s sex drive, but downright cruel joking about her husband’s sexual ability is acceptable and even something to be laughed at.

    By the way: I find it interesting that men are negatively compared to past lovers, but then they are also viewed negatively for being jealous and insecure over his wife’s past lovers.

    We are all aware of the sexual double standard where men are praised for being promiscuous, while women are labelled as s***s. There’s even a national movement to end shaming women for this because of how damaging and hurtful this is, but people never talk about how men are subjected to insensitive, cruel jokes and ridiculed regarding their sexual performance. I don’t think most people even realize this, which is perhaps the greatest double standard of all.

    Television also portrays husbands as insensitive, sex maniacs who don’t understand his wife’s lack of sexual desire is because she is so tired, which he is largely responsible for because he doesn’t help around the house, forcing her to do everything while he’s out playing golf with his buddies. I’ve never seen a show where the wife needed to change something about herself in order to meet her husband’s sexual needs. In fact, the mere suggestion of that would be viewed as misogynistic by many, but there is nothing wrong with expecting the husband to change something about himself to accommodate his wife’s non-sexual needs. In other words, he needs to change his selfish ways, yet denying her husband’s needs is never portrayed as selfish.

    Frequently, the couple’s lack of sex is because the husband is not romantic enough, which is a serious flaw, but you never see the scenario where a husband would act more romantically if his wife would respond more sexually. It is never viewed as both parties having a responsibility to each other; it’s always the husband who is in the wrong. It’s even laughable when the wife controls and uses sex to get something she wants.

    While not a double standard, I think it’s interesting that married couples are rarely portrayed as having a good sex life, but singles are. In fact, everywhere we turn we see the message that singles are supposed to engage in all the sex they can with as many people as they can because sex is so incredibly awesome, but sex for married couples is boring, mundane, and practically a waste of time. Most people in our country spend a significant amount of time watching television, and I can’t help but wonder how damaging this message is.

    While porn is heavily engaged in by many men, they are still looked down upon by polite society for doing that, yet it is largely acceptable for women to read romance novels, including very sexually explicit novels like “50 Shades of Gray.” It’s often the husband’s fault when a wife turns to romance novels to fulfill her need for romance that he has left unfulfilled, but it’s not acceptable for a husband to turn to porn to fulfill his sexual needs that his wife has left unfulfilled.

    This brings up yet even more issues. There is a national outcry against men who have sexually harassed and assaulted women, and rightfully so, yet millions of women, including Christian women who are active in their church, read this novel where domination and physical abuse was central to the plot, but instead of condemning it they enjoyed it to such a degree that a movie was made about it. Talk about mixed messages!

    I’ve watched women talk show hosts speak about the serious issue of men objectifying women, but later I’ve watched those same female hosts rub oil on the muscular chests of male Olympic athletes. Just imagine the outcry if a male talk show host were to rub oil on a female athlete’s body!

    I know many of you see these things on television as well, but double standards don’t exist just on television. It seems like everywhere I go there are jokes about the wife being the boss of her husband, and that he better do something right or he’ll be in trouble with the boss, but it would be offensive if the husband were referred to as being the boss in the same manner. I’ve seen more than one the President of the United States make statements like this, but just imagine the backlash on morning talk shows if Trump were to say husbands were the boss!

    I’ve also come across the phrase “happy wife, happy life” in dozens of places, including on little signs to be hung in the home, but I’ve yet to hear “happy husband, happy life.” I’ve even seen this kind of joking done by pastors while giving a sermon, but I’ve never seen one joke about this is reverse.

    It’s perfectly acceptable, and even funny, for a woman to say her husband doesn’t understand because “he’s just a man,” but it would be highly offensive and demeaning to say a woman didn’t understand something because “she’s just a woman.” There’s even an actual male apology going around saying, “I’m sorry, I’m just man.”

    Andrew already wrote, “women are always right.” Paul responded by saying only part of society says this, and he also wrote that part of society believes that women are always wrong. Of course, this is there for some aspects of society, but it is not true for mainstream society. You certainly don’t see this on television, which is both a reflection of our society and a means used to create change within our society. The difference is that it is perfectly acceptable to say “women are always right,” but if a celebrity or leader were to say “men are always right,” it would result in a major media backlash.

    It’s also not uncommon to hear that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys, but again, it would be demeaning to say the only difference between women and girls is the number of shoes they have.

    It’s become unacceptable and offensive to refer to a woman being irrational due to her hormones, but it’s okay to talk about a man’s testosterone being responsible for him being silly at times.

    We see this double standard regarding household chores as well. A husband is expected to help with the dishes, laundry, and vacuuming, and he is looked down upon as being selfish and lazy if he doesn’t, but there isn’t an expectation for the wife to help mow the lawn, clean the gutters, or hand him tools while he works on her car. Perhaps the wife wouldn’t be too tired to have sex if her husband helped with the dishes, but it’s never shown that perhaps the husband would not be too tired be romantic if his wife helped him shovel snow from the drive.

    Some of you might disagree with what I’ve written because you are not like this, and neither is your church, but those are the exceptions. Everywhere we turn we see the double standards I’ve written about.

    The double standards I’ve written about have become so intertwined in our society that most people don’t even question them. In fact, most people don’t even know they exist, and even when they are pointed out many people have a hard time seeing them.

    All of this has led to a wife centric view of marriage. With all this going on, there’s no way that a wife centric form of communication being viewed as the correct way to communicate isn’t also occurring in larger society, which I have seen just as Paul described.

    Libl wrote that men should “speak clearly about your feelings,” and about “mind games from trying to guess what someone else is thinking.” Of course, this is a common problem and she is 100% correct, men should absolutely communicate better in this regard. However, it is also a very common problem for women to expect men to know how they feel about something without telling them: “I shouldn’t have to tell you,” or “if you loved me you would understand.” Both of these issues are very common, which Paul brought to her attention, but the very fact that her focus was on men needing to communicate better in this regard, while women are guilty of something very similar, demonstrates the very double standard Paul spoke of.

    Andrew wrote that “woman speak” is the most productive way to solve problems in a relationship, and I know this is true at times. However, there’s also the issue of men wanting to “fix” things, versus women wanting to share their feelings: “why can’t you just listen to what I’m saying without always trying to fix things?” I’m not sure how “woman speak” about a leaking faucet is more productive than simply telling me it’s leaking so I go fix it.

    • @Ron – I can’t argue what you’ve said. However, I can recall when it was very different. Media portrayed women as silly, weak, useless, and so on, while men were the ones who knew what was what and got things done. That was just as wrong, but men didn’t complain about it, and when women complained they side stepped or excused it.

      No one likes it when the double standard is on the other foot!

      I don’t mean that to excuse it, but if we want to deal with this we need to realise this is more of the same, not something new. If men don’t stand up and complain about things like the manosphere backlash we are no better than those we complain about.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…A Different Kind of GiftMy Profile

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