Professional women will quickly come to realize that there is a power differential in any setting whether it is the workplace or at home. God has physically and emotionally designed men to have greater power on earth than women. There is a spiritual reason behind this difference.
As a man matures, he grows in compassion, empathy, and becomes better friends with what Carl Jung calls his anima, or his feminine traits. All people have both masculine and feminine qualities. Psychologically, during the second half of life, a typical male will develop his feminine qualities. Whereas in the second half of life, a woman will develop her masculine qualities.
Men typically struggle to get in touch with their feelings while women struggle to get in touch with their power. This is a messy process that is commonly referred to as a “mid-life crisis.” Ephesians 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.”
This is a powerful psychological and spiritual statement. If a man fails to love his wife, he fails to mature psychologically because he is rejecting his feminine traits. We only have the capacity to love our neighbor, or our spouse, as we love ourselves. If we do not love a part of ourselves, we will fail to love those same traits in other people. A mature, holy man is a humble man who is in touch with his own feelings and sees those feelings reflected back to him through his wife.
Ephesians 5:28-30 affirms this, “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.”
A good marriage is balanced where the husband is getting in touch with his feelings while a wife grows to embrace her own sense of power. When a man begins to get in touch with his feelings, he will have to deal with sorrow and grief for all the ways he has failed to love himself. Men are often so driven to accomplish tasks that they fail to love themselves.
Just as men are called to love their feminine anima, women are called to listen and submit to their masculine animus. Ephesians 5:22-24 states, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
This means that in order for a woman to mature to become a healthy whole person, she must be true to her masculine self which is most visible to her through her husband. The presence of Jesus Christ lives in all people. The voice of this presence is contemplated in prayer. For a woman, contemplative prayer involves the discovery of her true self that has been buried under the oppressive forces she has encountered during the first half of her life as the less powerful sex. Women must come to intimately know the presence of Christ within herself.
During the first half of life, women are naturally codependent caretakers who have sacrificed their own needs to meet the needs and demands of others. These needs and demands may not be the traditional demands related to childbirth but could also be the professional demands associated with serving others in the workforce. When a woman begins to get in touch with her true self, she will have to deal with her anger for any way she has abandoned her true self in an effort to placate others. A mature woman will be able to freely define herself to others without fear. She is NOT a doormat.
This process is NATURAL and HOLY. It is NOT dysfunctional. It is similar to an adult version of the “terrible twos.” Many people fear this journey into their true self. When fear reigns, addictions to various distractions will take the place of healthy spiritual and psychological growth.
Professional women need to be very patient and compassionate with men who have not made the difficult journey to get in touch with their feelings. This is where the frustrating abuse of power begins to destroy healthy productivity. Men need to patiently guide women to a place of freedom where she begins to get in touch with the power of her true self. None of this is possible without the grace of God. This whole process is an absolute miracle for the selfish human heart. This is what is meant by growing to be one flesh in marriage.
Ephesians 5:31-33 ends with, ““For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
If we are going to become a reflection of Christ to the world, we have got to make this journey into the deepest recesses of our soul.