To affirm! A quick tap of the Thesaurus on my review tab gives me a perfect list: to affirm is to confirm, to sustain, to uphold, to support, to encourage, to acknowledge, even to “pronounce,” which means that for affirmation to be full, it will most often be spoken, otherwise, how will the recipient of the affirmation know that he is being affirmed?! Nevertheless, other ways of affirmation are often equally as real, such as applause, a look of surprise and joy, and even something as simple as a warm smile.
So, simply put, womanly affirmation is the quality of encouraging others, and especially men, in every way. It’s the ability to look positively at them and all that they do. It means that a woman may see clearly the faults of a man, but instead of placing those faults foremost in her mind, she chooses to overlook them and instead concentrate on his better qualities. She knows that both men and women have their faults and their qualities. She realizes that she herself would never enjoy being around someone who noticed her faults and regularly commented on them. So instead of reminding a man of his faults, she offers a loving and sympathetic understanding which prefers to seek out his higher character qualities and encourage those instead.
To affirm is to encourage in a man all the things that mean the most to him: his masculine qualities such as his strength, his integrity, his industriousness and hard work, his dedication, his untiring determination, his generosity, his protectiveness, his oftentimes-hard-won provision. It is to appreciate these qualities and acknowledge them directly to him.
So let’s say, for a really ordinary example, that a man helps a woman in the kitchen by cleaning up when he knew she was tired. A wise woman will be sure to thank him, but not for the way he washed the dishes or wiped down the counters, because this is not what he has taken pride in. Instead she would want to thank him for protecting her from the strain of having to clean that kitchen or sweep that floor—that’s what he’s proud of doing because it is his way to protect her from another stress. And what does he ask for in return? In his generosity, he asks nothing more than a simple acknowledgement, a thank you, to show that she understood his desire to protect her from that extra strain.
A woman might be tempted to believe that giving herself to a man sexually will be the ultimate act of affirmation. But nothing could be further from the truth. But let me clarify: in marriage, and only in marriage, the ultimate act of affirmation is indeed the intimate act of marital embrace. That is a fact. Inside of a blessed marriage, the marital intimacy is not only a perfect act of affirmation, but also of beauty, justice, goodness, peace, friendship, mercy, kindness, and joy, producing the bountiful fruits of love, goodness, happiness, togetherness, confidence, bonding, sincerity, security, and truth–as well as offering the greatest gift of that love, which is a new human being. However, outside of marriage, in any level of relationship whatsoever, that same intimate embrace will have the opposite effect, producing the bad fruits of suspicion, jealousy, insecurity, impurity, obsession, compulsion, heavy heart, confusion, sorrow, loneliness, distraction, depression, fear, and the list goes on.
This is because the sexual act and all that goes along with it is like fire. Fire itself can be good or bad, depending upon how and where it is used. If you begin a fire inside a fireplace, it will provide warmth, heat, visual beauty, and even lovely crackling sounds—an overall delight. Conversely, if you begin a fire in the middle of a dry forest, it will cause damage, destruction, and even death. Likewise, if the sexual act is taken out of the fireplace of marriage, it will do no good no matter how loving a man and a woman may feel towards each other because ultimately they will be hampering each other’s free will, which is our most basic need. How? Because when a man and a woman unite intimately outside of marriage, they create a false bond that is not able to be sustained. Like the fire, it will eventually go out of control, and they will find themselves burned. Even if their relationship leads to marriage, they will be entering the marriage without the blessings that would have come to them from a pure relationship, because for marriage to be true, it must be entered into freely, and when they have created a false bond, instead of being truly free, a couple will subconsciously feel that they were obliged to marry. Thankfully, Jesus heals and will always receive those who come to Him with sincere hearts.
So if a woman wishes to fulfill one of her most innate callings, she should affirm others, and especially the men in her life. Even if she has developed habits of criticism and fault-finding, this gift will come most naturally to her once she begins practicing it. She will also see very quickly how her gift of affirmation will bring out the very best gift of leadership in men. This is because a man can only lead if there is someone who will follow his leadership, and a woman who affirms him is telling him that she is grateful for all the benefits which she realizes from his being a successful leader.
And how to affirm? A woman should just speak up and say out loud anything positive or uplifting that pops into her mind. And take at least one minute, just one single minute, every single day, to think about nothing other than her husband, father, brother, son, etc. If she does this, then positive characteristics of that man will enter her mind, and she’ll find lots to thank him for, affirm him for, and admire about him. If she finds just the right time to say these things to her husband, as awkward as she might feel at first, she should notice a very relaxed and happy man who seems as if he’s being fed after having been starved.
Leadership and affirmation: they’re a perfect match!!
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