Okay, it’s time to start talking about all of this fascinating “men and women” stuff that I’ve been alluding to in recent columns.
My latest round of interest in the topic was sparked by a segment I heard on Dennis Prager’s radio show a few weeks ago. Prager was talking about a new trend occurring in the world of online dating. Apparently more and more men are posting in their profiles that they are looking for women who make more money than they do.
Yes, men are now looking for Sugar Mamas.
This fascinated me. And, of course, it started me thinking about men, and women, and the big muddled mess that original sin in all of its manifestations has caused in the world of dating. It’s an important topic, especially here on Catholic Match, which is a site dedicated to bringing Catholic men and women together.
Anyway, back to the show. The calls were all fascinating. Most of the female callers were horrified. A few men said that women with more money are generally dedicated to their careers, not interested in commitment, and are therefore more available for casual sex.
I was most interested in the men there were a few of them who basically said “I’ve had it with women who don’t appreciate me, who aren’t grateful for anything I do for them. From now on, I’m looking out for myself.”
When it comes to dating, I think we’re all in a world of hurt.
It didn’t start out this way. JPII, in his Theology of the Body, spend a long time talking about the relationship between man and woman, and how God originally intended that relationship to look.
You may recall, in previous columns, we talked about how God created Adam in His own image, how He was madly in love with Adam, and how He created Adam to find fulfillment through giving himself in love to other human persons. In fact, after creating Adam and placing him in the midst of paradise, the first thing God said was “It is not good for man to be alone.”
And so God created Eve. It is important to note that Eve was not created for Adam’s sake. She was created for her own sake, in the image and likeness of God, just as Adam was.
“Not so!” some would say. “Look at the next sentence in that passage. ‘It is not good for man to be alone; I will create a helper fit for him.’ See? ‘Helper.’ Women were put here to help men!”
It’s a nice try, but there’s one small problem with that kind of thinking. The Bible wasn’t written in English. I’m no linguist, but people who are linguists tell me that the word we translate as “helper” actually has no exact translation into English. “Helper” is close. Another word that would be close is “savior.” Of course, that leads to a whole new round of problems. (“I’m here to save you from yourself…”)
The thing is, I kinda like “savior” and not for the reason you think. In a sense, Eve really was Adam’s savior. (Small ‘s’ – not capital ‘S’ as in “Christ our Savior.”) Before the appearance of Eve, Adam was unable to do that for which he was created to give himself in love to another human person. There was no other human person. So Eve “saved” Adam by being that person. In that sense, Adam was also “savior” to Eve, enabling her to do that for which she was created to love.
So Adam and Eve were each created for their own sake. They were, however, different. Male and female aren’t just design variations they signify two very different ways of being human. John Paul II wrote at length, in the Theology of the Body and elsewhere, about the differences between male and female. He discussed them at such length, in fact, that I’ll probably dedicate a whole column to that later on. (Because Lord knows we’re all interested in understanding the differences between men and women.) For now, suffice it to say that male and female are different embodiments of the image and likeness of God.
When God created Eve, Adam looked at her and said “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Here was an equal someone he could love, someone he could give himself to. Adam saw Eve the same way God saw Eve. She was created in the image and likeness of God. She was precious in His eyes. Adam, like God, wanted only what was best for Eve. He had no “agenda,” no ulterior motives where she was concerned. Eve, likewise, saw Adam as God saw Adam. She only wanted what was best for him.
That’s what love between men and women is supposed to look like. Women are given to men as a precious gift, to be cherished and loved and protected. Likewise are men given to women as gift.
Imagine what life would look like if we all still managed to live this way.
I was struck, listening to Dennis Prager that day, at the animosity so many of the men were showing toward women, and vice versa. Each seemed to resent the other. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the root of this resentment is our mutual failure to love to see the opposite sex as precious persons created in the image and likeness of God. Instead, we see each other as means to an end whether that end be money, status, babies or anything else the human heart can dream up. We use each other to get what we want.
Of course, nobody likes being used. So resentments build up. The “war between men and women” rages on. It’s a war nobody can win. The combatants are just left lonely and bitter.
This isn’t how God intended us to live.
Mary Beth Bonacci, in addition to being a Catholic Match columnist is an internationally known speaker. Mary Beth holds a bachelor's degree in Organizational Communication from the University of San Francisco, and a master's degree in Theology of Marriage and Family from the John Paul II Institute at Lateran University. You may visit her website at www.RealLove.net.
This article has been re-published with written authorization of Catholic Match, LLC.
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