My wife and I have had several born-again young women write to us about the ups and downs of dating and young marriage relationships in the 21st century. One particular recurrent issue we keep hearing is, “I don’t feel protected by him” or “I just don’t feel safe with him.” When the young Christian man hears the term “protect your woman” from us, what inevitably comes to the minds of most is a picture of a gang versus the man. In the imagined scenario, the gang wants to hurt the woman and the man must protect her. We men often think of protecting a woman physically and imagine it to be enough. However, let me let you know that it isn’t enough. There are many unprotected facets in a woman’s life where a man has a priceless opportunity to be a hero. When these facets are understood by the man, I dare say the relationship will never be the same again- for the better.
One reason why young Christian men in relationships in the 21st century don’t see all these facets that need protection in a woman’s life is because they have not been taught by other older Christian men who have been through their fair share of relationship whirlwinds. Older Christian men must pass onto younger Christian men holistic life lessons. On faith as well as finances, on worship as well as women, on discipleship as well as fatherhood, on prayer as well as sex, on doctrine as well as relationships. In fact, the Bible is never shy of the latter mentions. The scriptures that talk on the subject of faith, worship, discipleship, prayer and doctrine etc also very boldly handle the issues of finances, women, fatherhood, sex and relationships. To think of one set to be less important than the other is to be an imbalanced man. And that is the crux of the matter as far as protection of women is concerned. On one hand, we have born again men who are role models in prayer but horrible people in relationships. On the other hand, we have born again men who are good examples as fathers but wanting examples as men of doctrine. I pray to God that older Christian men will teach younger Christian men holistic life lessons and not simply one-sided approaches. The Body of Christ needs balanced men. When the wife of a young married man is displeased with a frustrating sex-life, it would be horrible if all the young man is taught is “just pray about it.” Similarly, if a young Christian woman displeased with a fiancée or boyfriend who does not value Bible Study and spiritual disciplines, it would be horrible if the young man is advised “just treat her like a lady.” Treating a woman like a lady will not cure a weak spiritual leader in the home. On the flipside, praying will not teach a man any inconsistencies in his sexual intimacy. These details cannot be expounded on a blog. Older men must teach younger men the ropes. However, the prerogative of initiating such a mentorship is upon the younger man.
Another reason young why Christian men in relationships in the 21st century don’t see all these facets that need protection in a woman’s life is because the idea of protection of women is misunderstood. Extreme feminists stand on the grounds that they need no man and thus failing miserably on the beauty of a man being a man in a relationship! The man still wants to place his coat over the woman’s shoulder to demonstrate affection but it cannot happen if the woman always sees it as an I-can-take-care-of-myself-no-thank-you situation. On the other hand, chauvinists see the genders as a war already won by the masculine species a long time ago. To dare rise above this fact is to prove yourself an enemy. And thus, such men miss out on the beauty of helping a “damsel in distress.” Both groups of men and women get angry at the idea of men protecting women on account of their own relationship baggage (which we will not address here). But I insist on this notion based on a simple biblical truth. 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” On account of the pros that men have that women don’t have (such as physical superiority, task-orientation over emotional orientation), the scriptures ask us to be considerate. To be considerate means to be on the lookout on the facets in a woman’s life that need protection. And if you are married and take this lightly, the scriptures say that your prayers are not regarded by God. With that said, I would like to point out three vital few areas where men must aim to grow considerately in providing protection to a woman.
Our world’s not perfect. In fact, it’s sinful. And because of that we have seen heartbreaking physical danger come upon women e.g. physical abuse. The question for the Christian men is their readiness to lay down their lives for their women in the face of physical peril. For you see, this is the example that Christ gave us. He (the groom) laid down his physical life for his bride (us). And in Ephesians 5, we are challenged to use Christ’s love as a template for our marriages. While that kind of physical protection may be the rare case, it is important to note the common cases.
Christian men ought to take the physically tasking chores in the house for their women. I don’t let Turi change the kitchen gas. I carry that metallic tank and drive to and fro the gas station and I make sure I don’t let her hear me whine about it. If a kitchen door or drawer breaks, I am the one to fix it. And that also means not waiting to be reminded every six days to fix it. The beauty of physical protection is swiftness of action. So, I fix the broken item on her convenience and not when I feel like it. When I don’t have time, I must make time to offer the physical help. It is frustrating when a woman has to take up the physical chores that a man ought to do in order to protect her. When that physical help is offered, it goes a long way in her heart. I remember three instances where I helped three different women (who were strangers) carry heavy loads. The first was an elderly woman carrying two heavy gunny sacks while I was walking to work. I saw many men walk past her without paying her any attention. The physical strain on her body was obvious. I stopped and asked to take one sack- the heavier one. When we got to her destination, she offered me money for the kindness but I refused. I wanted her to know, “This is what men should do and there should be no reward for it.” She prayed for me a blessing and I went my way. The second lady was a young lady about my age. She was at my bus stage carrying two heavy bags of shopping. Again, I saw many men ahead of me walk past her. I decided to stop when I caught up with her and offered to help carry them to her house, which was off my way home. When we got to her house, she asked me to come in and take a soda. I declined the offer, not because I didn’t feel like having a soda, but because I wanted to let her know, “This is what men should do and there should be no reward for it.” Furthermore, I found it inappropriate to be in a house alone with a woman I just met. The third woman was also carrying shopping bags. They weren’t heavy, but they were several. It was raining hard and she had no umbrella. She was plopping in the rain as she struggled to carry the multiple bags. I was driving when I saw her. I was with my brother, Philip. We were rushing to catch the premier of the Avengers Movie and we were running late. When I saw the lady stranded in the rain with her several shopping bags, I thought to myself, “Help the lady and be late for the premier” or “Leave the lady (she’ll be fine) and catch the movie.” We decided to stop. We helped her with the bags and drove her to her house before going for our movie. She was so grateful and she asked for my number to buy us coffee sometime in the next week. I declined to give her my number because I wanted her to know, “This is what men should do and there should be no reward for it.” Physical protection is all about chivalry and the man who practices it will always win especially with his woman!
Generally, men solve problems by dealing with the logical first and the emotional later. Women are on the inverse. They often solve the emotional side of things before dealing with the logical. A man who understands this is one step away from offering emotional protection. When she is having a bad day at work, the solution isn’t “Have you talked to your boss about this?” The emotional problem hasn’t been tackled, and for her, if that isn’t dealt with, all the super solutions in the world will not make things better. I have learnt that there are times when Turi simply wants to talk to me and state how overwhelming a situation is emotionally. These emotional situations may have simple and direct logical solutions (which she is well aware of by the way), but they ought to come at a latter part of the conversation. That is why when a lady is struggling to relate with another lady who is “too close” to her man and the man doesn’t see the issue (Seeing no logical anomaly), it frustrates her. She wants to know that he chooses her over the other lady friend. There is a clear emotional anomaly and she wants to feel relationally and emotionally safe before she can solve the problem.
Another way to cultivate emotional protection is through the practice of exclusivity. Healthy boundaries with other women offer emotional stability in any relationship. I find it inconceivable why a man would spend late nights chatting with another woman to catch up with her yet he is married/ or in a serious relationship. The excuse we keep hearing from the men is something akin to “We are just friends” or “Can’t I have other women friends?” The trouble with even attempting to answer to that is dealing with someone whose mental intelligence is fantastic but whose emotional intelligence is very wanting. Such excuses are the genesis of emotional infidelity. Just as mental IQ is acquired through learning, emotional intelligence (EQ) is also acquired through learning. You offer your partner emotional security by observing the boundaries you have with other females. The idea of “But we are not doing anything wrong” is the lowest question you can ask as far as EQ is concerned. Allow me to boost that EQ. Ask yourself, “Does it build my relationship?” If it destroys, you know what to do. If it neither destroys nor builds (neutral), it’s even more dangerous. Too many men are caught in the net of emotional mediocrity and complacency. Be emotionally sharp, Beloved. Don’t allow yourself to be caught in that. While you think you need time to get to know your other female friend, you fail short in discovering newer worlds with the woman you already have.
Protection of virtue
A man who protects the virtue of his woman wins her greatest respect. Sometime this year a young lady wrote to us. She was frustrated that her fiancée did not value biblical purity. She was clear on the absolutes of scripture but he was shifty on the matter. She tried to get him to understand but he saw no issue as long as penetration sex had not occurred. She began to fear meeting him alone because she felt her virtue was under attack. When we say protect a woman’s virtue, Beloved, we also mean, protect it from yourself. The man in question was caught in the blinding power of lust. Lust steals a man’s vision. Why is it that an unmarried Christian man will jump in and protect his woman from rape but he won’t jump in and protect his woman from his hands going under her shirt? They may be seen as two extremes, but in the light of purity and the woman’s dedication to God, both instances attack her virtue. Why is it that a married Christian man will jump to condemn adultery but won’t jump to condemn the nudity in his movies and TV series? Lust steals a man’s vision. A man whose vision is lost cannot protect the virtue of his woman. My very good friend, Boniface Nyoike says:
Lust makes man a victim of perverted sex, which damns his authority. Love makes a man a steward of consecrated sex, which empowers his authenticity and authority. Consecration carries authority; perversion kills authority. A man who can’t conquer lust will never carry authority that lasts. Even His woman will struggle to submit because submission is activated by demonstration of authority through purity. Joseph’s authority was protected by his sexual consecration. Samson’s authority was killed by his sexual perversion; he easily became a victim and a slave of people he was born to rule over once he lost the battle for sex. The reason why Satan fights a man’s purity so hard with arsenals of pornography, masturbation and perverted sex is because he knows that if he can kill your purity, he has massacred your authority. Your sexual battle as a man is not just about sex; it’s about authority in manhood and dominion in life! God is not after killing the sexuality in you; He is after removing the lust in you so that he can confer authority that lasts to you!
Porn and masturbation may not be directly involved in attacking a women’s virtue but they do hurt them really badly. When I was caught in that rut, Turi was very hurt and any born-again woman can attest that it makes them feel very unprotected. One way of protecting a woman’s virtue from yourself is devoting yourself to spiritual growth. Self-will cannot do it. You need to tap into the power of fellowship where you can confess and get strength from other godly mature men. You need to tap into the power of studying God’s word so that you build your arsenal against temptation. You need to tap into the power of prayer, to give you running strength when you get trapped. You need to tap into the power of discipleship so that you can monitor your growth. You need to tap into the power of fasting so that you are not a slave to your flesh.
So, how else can do you think a born again man can protect the woman he loves?