Ladies, have you ever gotten that vibe from certain men? You know, you’re casually chit-chatting with him, mentioning your career, your home, your full life and suddenly he gets … cool. You can’t quite put your finger on when you lost his interest, you only know that the date is essentially over, you’re just waiting to get back home. If you’re lucky, you might hear through the grapevine that you were too independent for his tastes. Too independent. I’ve heard this complaint from women far too often, this tale of men finding them too independent. I’m only going to say this once: his insecurities are not your problem. This is the same sort of guy who becomes uneasy because he believes that if a woman initiates a relationship by asking the guy out first, it sets a pattern that interferes with the man’s ability to lead.

How long were you supposed to wait for Prince Needs to Get Over Himself? How attractive would you be at 30+, living with your folks, unemployed, with no hobbies or friends with the only thing to pass for adult conversation being “I’ve been waiting for you”?

Check please.

Strong women scare some guys. The real question is would you want this guy? These men want someone who needs them – not too much, they don’t want someone clingy. They want someone to make them feel important. They want to be the knight in shining armor, which is fine, but apparently every good knight has to have a damsel in distress.

Just so we have this straight, if you have gotten a job, pay you bills, are confident, are self-assured, and are ambitious men are going to find you intimidating. That’s a risk you run. Intimidating? Maybe. Attractive? Definitely. The cruel reality that these “men” are dancing around is that independent women require stronger guys. If I live in my mom’s basement, drifting through life, going from scrub job to scrub job, then, yeah, independent women are a threat to my male sense of self.

And I’ll say this, a lot of the time our evangelical churches inadvertently perpetuate this. Men and women have defined roles, it was part of the created order, so the teaching goes; however, the church then does a lousy job of teaching what those roles are until we’re left with “men lead, women obey.” Creating this mindset of subservient women as an ideal which flies in the face of the Proverbs 31 woman, who wasn’t some passive damsel in need of rescuing.

If you want to play king, get a servant, not a queen.

Independent women becoming intimidating because they are filling roles we men know (or at least are expected) to fulfill. Bread winner. Hunter-gatherer. Leader. These are tasks we understand and we have trouble relating to women in other ways. We forgot that part of being a man, of being a provider and protector is providing emotional security. Being needed is too crucial to our self-esteem.

But you know what? If I want to be respected, I’d rather be respected by a strong independent woman who doesn’t need me. That’s respect I’ve truly earned.

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