“He acted like he liked me… and then he turned around and kissed her.” She was clearly upset. It wasn’t just the fact the guy she liked kissed another girl; it was the fact that he lied. He didn’t respect her enough to be honest.
“I keep being passed over for a promotion,” She told me loudly in the lunchroom. “There is NO way for me to get ahead with this leadership. They just don’t like women.” She was clearly frustrated. She was being overlooked for positions left and right… but I could see it wasn’t because she was a woman, because other women were being promoted by the male boss.
“I can’t believe he said that to me!” She exclaimed, pulling on her bra strap and adjusting her cleavage, which was clearly in my view. “Seriously, does he actually think I would ever go for him?” He didn’t want her to go for him; he just wanted to look at her. She was for his viewing pleasure only.
Respect: women want it as much as men. We want people to respect who we are, to appreciate us and promote us, to acknowledge what we’re good at. Books have been written about why women can’t break glass ceilings and why women can’t get the respect they deserve from men.
This issue has perplexed me. I’ve studied it and researched it because in my own experience, I have not received disrespect from men in my personal or professional life as often as the feminist movement indicates I should be experiencing. As I compared my experience with what many magazines, books, and blogs were saying, I realized that I was taught by my parents to organize my life around some basic principles which brought me respect from all members of society – including men. And that respect also flowed over into my dating life, because I was only asked out by decent men, and only dated decent men, and am now married to a wonderful, God-fearing man. After hearing from other women whose experiences were not the same, I took the time to consider why my experiences had been so much more positive. It comes down to lifestyle.
The lifestyle I was taught and now uphold is countercultural and controversial. But these principles worked, and I’ve benefited so greatly from these ideals, I’m writing this post. Please understand I write this with the confidence of someone who is daily grateful for these principles, not the arrogance of someone condescending to another.
1. Dress in a way that emphasizes, not distracts from, who you are as a person.
I’ll never forget my summer working in a diner. You learn a lot, and quickly. I remember how our regular customers talked to Nikki when she went to their table with her chest spilling out of her shirt. I overheard the comments between blue collar workers when she walked away – discussing her like she was a calendar photo, and just as disposable.
But they knew my name.
I received plenty of compliments on my appearance, but I wasn’t treated like a commodity because I respected myself enough to be treated with respect. I received great tips, but not because I bent over their table half dressed. They wanted to know me on a personal level, not as a topic of table discussion between good ole’ boys.
I laugh when I see counter-posts to my post on modesty, because the authors miss the entire point. They think I’m trying to disrespect women by suggesting we should cover up, when in reality, I’m calling women to a higher standard of respect. Wearing a one-piece at the pool generates glances of surprised curiosity, not meat-market ogling. I’ve been thanked for dressing in the way my mother taught me and the Bible encourages. We just need to THINK when we get dressed. Is the quick satisfaction of male attention worth the loss of their respect?
If you want men to respect you, respect yourself. Be confident to cover up. If you’re a Christian woman, think about your responsibility to God first, and always make sure He is on the throne of your choices – not man and his approval.
2. Be positive.
The modern feminist agenda is all about women putting themselves out there. Whatever you’re feeling, you should be able to express it.
But every emotion we feel is not necessary for society to observe. Tactfulness and discretion are lost on many women – but by cultivating these disciplines, we command respect. Tact, positivity, and true class speak volumes. And if you want to get asked on a date by a respectable man, respect yourself.
When girls travel through life bemoaning their singleness and advertising it on social media, they don’t realize what men are saying behind closed doors. I had enough guy friends to know. “Does she really think she’s going to get a boyfriend by telling everyone she doesn’t have one?” I’ve heard guys chuckle as they scroll through their newsfeed. “Well, the constant selfies just spell ‘desperate’.” I’ve heard others say. These are great, godly guys that most girls would love to know. But these young women are shooting themselves in the foot.
There is no attraction to negativity – my husband has told me this! Laugh at their jokes (if they’re actually funny). Laugh at yourself. Ask questions and try new things. And don’t get hung up on your ‘type’, because more often than not, women end up married to a man who is the furthest thing from their ‘type’. This doesn’t mean denying feelings when you have bad days; but by bringing our emotions to God, we are able to deal with the circumstances of life with much greater grace.
Good communication is selfless. To be respected we have to give respect, which means taking an interest in a guy – not chasing him, but also not expecting him to make life all about us either. We all have strong opinions (of whom I am the foremost) but by tempering these and saving them for the appropriate time, we can guarantee that when we do share our opinions in a positive manner, with grace, our ideas – and ourselves – will be respected.
3. Exude confidence in who you are and where you’re going: don’t be needy or desperate.
Confidence in your identity is not being in love with yourself. These are two very different ideas.
- Confidence is knowing who you are and what you can offer the world.
- Self-love is loving who you are and fulfilling self before the world.
Contentment and confidence walk hand-in-hand. By choosing contentment where God has placed us, we are confident that our identity is fitted for our present life role. We will find fulfillment in doing what we are called to do in this moment, and can have confidence in God’s provision, providence, and protection.
Women like this always receive respect from good men because they are busy doing God’s will. They may desire a relationship and someday, a husband (which is a perfectly honorable and natural desire) but they are busy learning and doing life. I don’t know a good man alive who consciously chooses to date a woman because she has lounged around waiting for a relationship. Confidence is the antidote to desperation, and confidence comes from knowing who you are.
If you’re a Christian, God says who you are: loved, redeemed, graced, adopted, helped, and provided for. You need not fear the approval or opinions of man. You must simply ‘do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6:8).
4. Don’t kiss men just because you can.
I wish I could be more diplomatic about this, but if girls could just grasp this one concept, their dating lives would be drastically changed for the positive. Do you value a kiss? Is it just a pastime to you, or is it an emotional connection? Does it have meaning, or is it just for fun?
If you believe it has any meaning at all, then listen to my message. I meet dozens of girls who are in turmoil over men who won’t commit, men who won’t ask them out on a ‘real date’, men who two-time and lie and break their hearts. And while these men are insensitive and hardhearted to treat women this way, if girls would change their approach to dating much of this could be avoided.
Kissing a guy on a first date not something individual, new, or trendy. It’s very status quo.
So here’s my challenge: don’t kiss him on the first date. Or the second. Or the third. Hold off until he values you for who you are. Use your kiss as the measure of his devotion; don’t just hand it out like candy, cheap and easy to give away. Your heart is so valuable, so precious, and a kiss affects it. Even if you’ve already kissed plenty of men, change your approach now and watch the difference. You’ll be looking at your relationship from a vantage point of control; as the pursued, not the vulnerable.
When you withhold something, it is instantly more valuable. By withholding a kiss, you test a man’s resolve and intentions. If he’s dating you just because he wants to kiss you, he’s not in the relationship for the right reasons.
And yes, men will still ask you out – but they’ll be better men than the previous ones. Mr. M gave me permission to talk about past relationships with you girls, so here it is: I’ve had four suitors, including my husband. Only one pressured me to kiss him (and I broke up with him), but the rest thanked me for my standard and told me they respected me more for it.
Try it. Try swimming upstream and being truly different.
5. Respect men as people and brothers in Christ, and they will respect you.
Feminism teaches us that we deserve respect just for being born female, but men have to earn it. This is a glaring double standard.
The Bible says that if we are married, we are to respect our own husbands first and foremost (Eph. 5:22-23). But we are also called to respect each other in the body of Christ (John 13:34). Respect is acknowledgement of another person’s value; deference to their worth. Respect is the root of good manners, kindness, and humanitarianism. Respect puts others ahead of herself.
While men owe us respect because humans SHOULD respect one another, we have the ability to to determine the level of respect we will receive. Women cannot expect to receive the utmost respect of men – whether on the street or in the workplace or in the church – if they disrespect those same people. Women cannot expect to be unconditionally respected simply because we are women unless we unconditionally respect others as well.
In the same way which God reaches down and daily bears our straying, wandering, wicked ways, we are to bear with one another. I don’t have this mastered by any means; I’m easily irritated and have a hot temper. But if I want my coworkers and friends to respect me, I have to do a heart check on myself.
Respect your body. Respect your identity. Respect your singleness. Respect your heart. And respect others.
Do these things, and men will respect you.
Sure – It won’t always be cut and dried; there will be selfish, rude men who refuse to respect you as a woman regardless of what you do. But applying these and other principles – specifically those founded on the Word of God – put us in a position of dignity and strength that demands respect.
Remember: Jesus is the best advocate for women’s rights. He elevated women to a level of respect unseen in His day. By following His principles of living, we daily live a lifestyle that guarantees – for the most part – the respect of those around us.