The reason is simple, our culture has no idea what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.
We struggle with identity issues, body image, how hard we should work, how we should dress, what should we put into our bodies. No one is sure how to let go of their past, how to find freedom from addictions.
While there are commonalities between men and women in their struggles, there are ones that are unique to men and women.
Because we often separate men and women at church in distinct ministries to talk about these issues, the other misses hearing about them. For example, I knew women struggled with body image issues, but while researching my talk for this week on the topic, I was blown by how much and why they struggle. Men can’t help their wife, daughters or be a good brother in Christ without knowing this.
In the same way, women know men desire to work and provide for a family, but why is that so important? How can that destroy and drive a man? If we simply separate men and women all that time to discuss these, we will never have true biblical community that walks together through it.
Another one, why do women struggle with the desire to have it all? Men do as well, but women do in a different way. Men desire is largely material and work related. Women struggle to have the body, hair, looks, house (spotless by the way), kids, perfect marriage and sex life, while cooking great meals and making money. Where does that struggle come from? What kind of legacy does that create?
For men, they struggle with boundaries and self-control when it comes to lust and porn. This isn’t news for women. What many don’t know is why that happens. Where it comes from and how porn rewires the brain of those who see it. How that will affect their marriage, how it will affect their daughter who will feel pressure in college to dress and act like a pornstar because that is all the men around her know.
But, if we bring men and women together and have a frank and honest discussion, maybe we can find a new way forward, a gospel way forward.
When we first planned to spend 7 weeks on this (3 for women and 4 for men), I said, “This will either be one of our best ideas or worst.” We’ll see.