WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DATING
Male and Female Roles
In today's topsy-turvy world, many don't seem to know what
masculinity and femininity mean anymore. In this fourth chapter
of our dating series, we candidly discuss what the Bible says
about the subject.
By Ronald D. Kelly
The roles men and women play in society are changing
rapidly. The pressures of a free-wheeling, do-your-own-thing
world are nearly overwhelming. Traditional families are the
exception rather than the rule. Standards for dating and sexual
relations seem nearly nonexistent. Premarital sex, open and
multiple marriages and homosexuality no longer shock anyone, as
they did a few years ago.
But where did all this confusion come from? Why are people
in general so disoriented about the roles of men and women?
A study of human history will reveal that the original,
God-intended purposes of masculine and feminine roles have seldom
been properly understood or fulfilled.
What an array of conflicting styles we find in history! The
proverbial cave-man existence of ancient times. The polygamous
societies of "Bible times." The prudish Victorian era. The modern
women's liberation movement.
These all demonstrate the absence of admirable role models.
And what about the effect of mass media today? Situation comedies
ridicule masculinity. Advertisers hawk their products with sexual
overtones. Roles are often reversed. It's no wonder people are
bewildered. The dating years should be a time young men and women
develop the qualities each will carry into marriage and on
Let's honestly look at masculinity and femininity.
Today, psychologists talk about "outmoded sex roles." Young
people are encouraged to break out of previous sexual
But the results of role reversals have been much less than
A society of dainty boys and rough, tough girls will be no
better than the tragedy of male-dominated, abusive societies of
A young boy growing up is preparing for the time he will be
a man. But so few parents seem to know how to rear a boy toward
that goal. Our homes are failing our youths. Our schools are
overlooking them. Our churches are neglecting them. And our
youths are our most precious resource!
So what is the secret? How does a boy become a real man?
Here are four qualities of true masculinity. By no means are
these four principles the only steps to masculinity. But they
illustrate a balanced approach. Our young male readers should
develop them. Parents must teach them.
To develop through the teenage years into successful
manhood, you cannot shirk education. We've all heard the mythical
stories of being granted any wish - the genie in the jug, wishing
upon a star, the wishing well.
One time such a wish was really granted. It's a true story
from the Bible, found in 2 Chronicles 1:7-10: "On that night God
appeared to Solomon, and said to him, 'Ask! What shall I give
What would you ask for if God appeared to you and offered
you anything you wanted? A sports car? A million dollars?
Movie-star looks? Solomon asked for none of these. Instead,
Solomon said to God: "You have shown great mercy to David my
father, and have made me king in his place.... Now give me wisdom
and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people;
for who can judge this great people of Yours?"
Unbelievable, isn't it? A man who would rather have wisdom
than riches. His choice so pleased God that God granted Solomon
wisdom and knowledge as he had requested. But in addition God
gave him fabulous riches.
During the teen years young people will choose whether to
acquire wisdom and knowledge, or whether to flit most of their
time away in mindless entertainment.
Let's notice the example of Jesus Christ. By the time He was
12, He had taken hold of where He was going. His parents "found
Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both
listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard
Him were astonished at His understanding and answers" (Luke
These examples show how vital education is in God's sight.
Both Solomon and Jesus had a desire for knowledge, wisdom and
While getting an education, a person should get not only the
knowledge of the classroom, but the real foundation. Don't be
afraid to study God's Word - the Bible! When you read the Bible,
you'll be reading about real people who had the courage to make
Education and knowledge are vital tools for a masculine
young man with real goals and purpose. (But do not make the
mistake that going to "university" is a must. Many "tradesmen"
are needed, the skills of the so-called "blue-collar" worker is a
must in most societies. So "education" is a BROAD word. Jesus was
educated, but he needed no "degree" from some man-made
"university" or "theological school" - Keith Hunt)
Music is a big part of life. Whether you realize it or not,
the philosophies propagated by songs influence you. Songs, lyrics
- music in general - create a mood. Music can inspire and uplift
you, or make you sad, melancholy and blue. It can also carry you
into a futile, despondent attitude if you let it. And surely you
will have to agree that at least some of today's songs are
So what should you do? Smash your radios? Burn your record
albums? Rush off and live as a hermit? Of course not! You might
be righteously indignant sometimes. But music can be very good.
Why not discover the best in all kinds of music? And what about
learning to play an instrument?
One of the most masculine men of the Bible was David.
Everyone has heard the story about how he killed Goliath with a
slingshot. But David was also a fine musician. In I Samuel 16 we
find David was chosen to play music before the king of his
nation. Playing an instrument didn't make David effeminate or a
sissy. Not at all! He was brave. He was strong and athletic. In
other words, David was a balanced, masculine young man.
You, too, can learn to apply the right principles of good
(You may not desire to learn to play a musical instrument if you
have not done so already, but it is true, music is a large part
of our lives, for most people. You do need to cultivate the right
mindset to correctly enjoy "good" music. Remember there is just
about nothing in this physical world that Satan has not perverted
in one way or another - Keith Hunt)
Top mental agility and enjoyment of music are far less
effective when combined with an out-of-condition body. Yet tests
have uncovered some alarming trends. A majority of men -
especially teenage fellows - are getting softer!
Look around a typical high-school campus. Notice how many
boys look unhealthy and weak. How many of them can do 10
chin-ups? How many can do 25 push-ups? The shameful truth is that
many boys have no skills, little strength and even less interest
in developing those skills and strength. But the teen years
should be the prime years of life. For a man to be out of shape,
fat and effeminate is a disgrace!
David was just a teenager when he slew the Philistine giant
Goliath. David was no sissy or weakling. He spent long days and
nights with his father's sheep. He had to battle wild animals and
even killed a lion and a bear (I Samuel 17:36). He was deadly
accurate with the sling. He was courageous and athletic. He was a
True, you are not preparing to fight lions and bears or
9-foot Philistines. But you can take part in a variety of sports,
athletics and exercise programs that will get and keep you in
good physical condition. Not only will you reap immediate
benefits, but you will be a more balanced person.
There is an old proverb that says, "He who does not teach
his son a trade might as well teach him to steal." There is a lot
of wisdom in that old saying. Too many young men in today's
modern society simply haven't been taught to work.
When you get out of your teens, you will have about 50 full
years of work ahead of you. No matter what career areas you work
in during those years, early training in basic work skills will
Of course, you should be preparing for a specific career
goal as well. Many will go on to college or university. Others
will take vocational training to prepare for a trade. And since
you will be spending some 50 years at work, you might as well
The skills of a trade and, more importantly, a good work
ethic and dependability can be acquired during the teen years.
You can prepare yourself for the future by working hard at
whatever jobs you can find. Skills and good work habits gained
even while working around the home can be helpful in finding and
keeping good-paying jobs.
These four areas of life contribute to the balanced and
masculine man. They are only the basics. Life is much more
complicated than this. But here is the foundation. Men must be
masculine and think masculine. It's essential to the strength of
A man must not be satisfied to be weak and effeminate.
And as far as dating goes, that truly masculine man is the ideal
with whom a young woman enjoys being.
True Femininity: Every Girl's Challenge
Today's women proclaim themselves free from the burdens of
history. Women in the United States and other countries have
demanded and received much. They have marched into theaters,
bars, nightclubs, into jobs and factory work, into middle and
upper management in major corporations, into political offices -
nearly everywhere into places once considered off limits to
What are the results? Has true femininity been achieved as
women strove to right all the wrongs of history?
We live In difficult times
As society has swept along, it has left a maze of question
marks in our minds. True masculinity and true femininity seem
almost impossible to define. Men don't know whether to be wimps
or macho. Women don't know whether to be homemakers or corporate
How can we know?
There is one way to find out what true femininity is. That
is to learn it from the one who made humans male and female - the
Creator God. He designed us. He has revealed in the Bible what
men and women are supposed to be.
And the Creator God is not a male chauvinist. God did not
design women to be subservient, second-rate or inferior members
of the human race.
In the beginning God said, "it is not good that man should
be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him" (Genesis
2:18). She was made of the same substance. She had the same
mental capacities. And she had the same spiritual potential. But
she was different!
Mankind is created in the image of the great Creator God -
with the ultimate potential to be born into His Family. By making
humans male and female, with the capacity to love, marry and bear
children, God made it possible for us to understand the
incredible human potential.
But few have understood it.
In ancient societies, women were often kept in the back
tent. Walked 10 paces behind. Sometimes were part of harems that
contained several wives. And otherwise lived downtrodden
At the opposite end of the spectrum is our liberated
20th-century society of feminists who have tried to swing the
pendulum as far to the other side as possible.
Neither has brought happiness and understanding of what true
So, what are the qualities of true femininity?
Education for girls, too
In the accompanying pages, our information on masculinity
outlines four major aspects of life a young man ought to develop:
education, music, sports and work.
But shouldn't a girl also be educated, love music,
participate in sports and learn to work? Absolutely. A girl's
education is just as important as a boy's.
Women certainly ought to be just as educated as their mates.
They will work side by side. They will rear their children. And
equal education makes effective partners.
Of course, some women will not choose to marry early (or at
all) and will need to pursue careers. Obviously, education is
essential to that pursuit. But this does not mean a woman's
education should put her in direct competition with men in every
field. Education today often demeans the importance of being a
wife and mother and sometimes inflames head-to-head competition
between the sexes.
The divorce courts, with their stockpile of statistics, are
living witness against the system we have created. But you don't
have to be one of those statistics. You can be an educated,
balanced, feminine young woman, if you set out to pattern your
life after the laws of Almighty God.
A girl should be beautiful
It's OK for a girl to be attractive.
But we're not talking about the way skin is stretched over a
person's face. Beauty for the sake of vanity is not God's way.
Some girls who are beautiful physically are beset by many
problems. Witness Hollywood's female sex symbols.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a girl wanting to be
properly attractive, well-groomed, clean. But true beauty and
femininity come from within and can't be painted on.
The Bible tells of several beautiful women who were
outstanding examples. One was Sarah, the wife of Abraham. When
Abraham and Sarah moved to Egypt, "The Egyptians saw the woman,
that she was very beautiful" (Genesis 12:14). Pharaoh himself, a
man surrounded by beautiful women, wanted Sarah for his wife and
was willing to purchase her from Abraham.
She was Abraham's wife, though, and God intervened for them.
Another outstanding woman from biblical times was Ruth. Ruth
had been left a young widow and had to earn a living gleaning
grain. Boaz, a wealthy landowner, noticed her in the field.
Ruth's appearance was so impressive Boaz had to stop and ask who
She must have been a captivating picture to attract him
under those circumstances. He decided to find out more about her.
He discovered not only her outward beauty, but her beauty of
character. He married her. She became the great-grandmother of
David, king of ancient Israel.
The Bible tells about another physically pretty woman named
Jezebel. But her beauty was only physical. She painted it on in
the morning and washed it off at night. Inside she was evil and
hateful. After marrying into the royal family of Israel, she
brought idol worship and immorality to the nation. She was
finally thrown from the balcony of her palace and was eaten by
dogs - a most unpretty picture.
Pure beauty comes from the heart. Girls who maintain proper
weight, eat a nutritious diet, keep their hair in an appropriate
style (the Bible says a woman's hair is her crown and glory - 1
Corinthians 11:15) and have a truly humble spirit are the most
beautiful of all (I Peter 3:3-4).
Virginity - a lost cause?
If there is anything that typifies and represents society
today, it is "sexual freedom." But true femininity is not sexual
permissiveness. Godly femininity is a result of determination to
maintain sexual purity during one's teen years and to prepare
properly for marriage.
In today's world, a young person is often not accepted by
peers unless he or she has had sexual experience before marriage.
Many are made to believe that it is perfectly acceptable to neck,
pet or go all the way.
But what are the fruits of this permissiveness? Illegitimate
children, sexually transmissible diseases, heartache, guilt and
warped attitudes about sex.
In our Western society, more than half of all young brides
have experienced premarital sexual relations. (Unfortunately, the
percentage is even higher among men. God does not have a double
standard - men are equally accountable.)
What a testimony against our society concerning true
femininity! It is a challenge to maintain a pure and chaste life
- to present oneself in marriage as a virgin.
Think of virginity not as something you lose (the common
thought), but something you give. And you can only give it one
time. That gift should be for your husband. (And it's a gift you
are also giving to yourself - Keith Hunt)
But Is It worth It?
Is it worth it to strive for true femininity? You bet it is!
A truly feminine young woman has personality, a sharp mind, is
educated and knows where she is going. She dresses well, does her
hair neatly, is clean and well-groomed, maintains proper weight,
exercises and works for success in whatever she does. She learns
her life-style and attitude from the sacred Word of God.
This series of articles is about dating. It's important that
both men and women understand the proper attributes to develop.
The Bible reveals them.
As young people grow to maturity and go out on dates with
members of the opposite sex, those attributes pay off. A young
man is much more impressed with a feminine young woman. And a
young woman so much more respects a masculine leader.
In the next chapter we'll discuss what couples ought to do
on dates - how to understand the roles of male and female in
action, in preparation for a lifetime of marriage and happiness.
(To be continued)