Let me start off here by saying I’m not a hater. It takes way too much time and effort, and I have too much going on in my own life to spend any time and energy hating on someone else. But as someone who considers himself a good man I often grow tired of something I’ve come to refer to as “the one-sided conversation”.
Now obviously when you see the name Tony Gaskins Jr. in the title you already know what conversation I’m referring to. That would be the conversation that includes and revolves around everything that has to do with all the challenges and issues men and women have getting into and maintaining loving, healthy relationships. Tony Gaskins Jr. is one of the major voices in this conversation, with thousands of followers; mostly women.
Now let me warn you in advance that this may not be a quick read. This will probably get long, but I feel the need to offer something to this conversation from another perspective. The perspective of someone that Tony almost never talks about. That perspective would be the perspective a good man. A responsible, respectful, faithful, God-fearing brother who treats his woman like a queen.
One who doesn’t cheat; not physically, emotionally or otherwise. One who works. Who takes care of his responsibilities. Who loves, honors and respects not only his woman but every woman he is connected to, from his mother to his sister to his cousins and female friends. And teaches his sons to do the same. There are a lot of men like that out there, but if you’re skeptical I can certainly understand why. They are almost never discussed. It’s almost like they don’t exist.
And that’s the problem I have with Tony and people like Tony. They only discusses relationships and the whole male-female dynamic from one perspective. The woman’s perspective. And when men are brought up, only one kind of man is discussed. The low-life-little-boy-dog of a cheating man. Basically, from what I’ve heard of Tony’s message- and I’m not a follower of Tony so I don’t claim to have heard everything he ever said-but almost all of what I HAVE seen at this writing seems to suggest that pretty-much everything that needs to be done to get a woman into a happy healthy relationship is the sole responsibility of men, and can only happen when men as a whole improve, step-up, man-up, stop whining- it goes on and on.
The fact that almost everything I’ve seen has been shared by women isn’t lost on me either, and I understand that has everything to do with the content I’ve seen so far. Because the fact is most women love hearing, cheering, sharing and co-signing on any message that berates men and lifts women up to a level above any need for personal effort, work or accountability on their part, simply because they are women. And Tony does that very well, which is why he’s very popular.
About the only thing I’ve seen Tony ask of women is to NOT treat men well, as one video suggested in which he carefully explained why it’s a bad thing for a woman to say nice things about her man. I hope you see the pattern here. Men, bad. women, good. Men, step up. Women, you’re fine. And it certainly isn’t just Tony.
But before you think this is just an article I wrote to whine about Tony (because apparently all men who take issue with anything Tony says are just whiners and not real men) please understand that what I’m trying to do is show you how, pretty-much all your life this is the only message you’ve heard. And how that could very likely be the reason you’re not attracting a good man in your life.
What women need to understand about Tony, Steve Harvey, the average preacher, talk show host and any other man beating this same dead horse over and over again is that yes they care about you as women. Yes their mission is to uplift and encourage and speak truth to you. And yes they mean well. But they also have another mission, and that is to sell books and products and coaching sessions and memberships and nice offerings and pretty-much everything else that is purchased mostly by women.
When a man has a predominantly female audience he is going to speak to that audience. Tony has said that himself in at least one video I saw. So Tony spends a lot of time saying what women want to hear. He would be stupid to do otherwise. Tony doesn’t spend a lot of time teaching any real level of accountability on the part of women to men.
But that’s understandable, isn’t it? I mean that wouldn’t be a very smart business move for a man with a predominantly female following. And frankly it’s just much easier for Tony and the pastor and the talk show host and the pro-women fan page owner to talk to his mostly female audience about all the terrible things wrong with men.
That’s a much easier road to plow than to deal with the level of backlash they would receive if they started teaching a message that would actually help women attract the kind of men they want. Because that message would most certainly have to involve some mutual accountability, effort, respect and selflessness on the part of both parties, not just men.
Tony likes to talk a lot about the bible, but again only from the perspective of what men need to do and what men need to be. But the bible doesn’t teach this one-sided approach to love or relationships of any kind, really. The bible’s message is one of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. It was so important to Jesus that his followers understood this basic relationship principle that He told them that all 10 commandments would be taken care of if they would only keep one: to love your neighbor as yourself.
And although you would never know it if you don’t read it yourself, the bible has as much to say about the roles and responsibilities of women to men as it does men to women. People don’t teach that because women reject that. It’s that simple, really. Men know how to get the “amens” from women.
Listen, Tony’s message for women is one of empowerment and self-respect. I get that and I applaud it. But it’s what Tony isn’t telling women that is doing them a disservice. Tony loves to talk about all the good things he does that causes his woman to treat him well in return. He often says that when he stepped up and got himself together his life and relationship with her got better. And I totally believe that is true.
But if you’re not careful you’ll fail to see that Tony’s wife was already a good woman. I believe she was a woman who saw relationships differently than most women. She didn’t have some unfair sense of entitlement that made her believe she could expect things from a man that she herself was not willing to give. She brought something to the table. I believe she expected of herself what she expected in a man. No doubt it was that quality that Tony recognized in her. And certainly, it must also be that quality that causes him to stay with her, happily married.
Tony’s wife is Tony’s wife because of what he recognized that in her. And while I wasn’t there and haven’t heard it personally from him, I have to believe it was her willingness to treat him as she wanted to be treated that changed him and made him want to be a better man. It was what Tony saw in her that made him want to pursue her, and it was that selfless, reciprocal, respectful, supportive love that changed him.
It was the same spirit I saw in the woman I’m with. A good man can sense that. We can hear it in your conversation. We can see it in your mannerisms. The way you act and react in certain situations. The way you speak. A good man knows when he is in the presence of a Godly woman who loves according to God’s example. We recognize selflessness, kindness, common courtesy in a woman instantly, because it is so rare.
You see, just like a good woman knows she is a good woman and worthy of a man who can respect, appreciate and reciprocate that, a good man knows the same of himself. So you don’t attract a loving, loyal, selfless man into your life until you’re ready to be a loving, loyal, selfless woman. Many women can’t attract this kind of man into their lives because they have bought into the same message that Tony and so many others like him have preached to them their entire lives. Simply, that you’re a woman. And because you’re a woman you deserve to be treated a certain way. You deserve to have a certain kind of man. You deserve a certain kind of love and respect. And you deserve that whether you are offering it or not. Your gender has entitled you to it without the need to reciprocate. Well how’s that working out for you so far?
You see, this “one-sided conversation” has been taught this way so long that many women simply can’t and will not accept anything different. So everyone tells men to step up and grow up and treat women this way and love women that way because that’s what being a real man is. What you almost never hear is anyone talking to women about what it takes to be a good woman when it comes to how to treat a man.
People have certainly tried, but they seldom try again after the first attempt. Because anyone that tries is all but verbally crucified. There are wise women who have found, married and enjoyed many happy years with a loving, devoted, attentive, faithful man that will move heaven and earth for them. But when they tried to share the wisdom of how they landed such a man and how they keep their relationship healthy and happy, their wisdom was rejected because they dared speak of the woman’s roles and responsibilities to her man.
Everyone knows that in order to attract a certain kind of person into your life you must be that kind of person yourself. And the bible only speaks of love in one way. Unconditional. Selfless. Given as you would want to receive it. Even from the bible though, this message is hard for women to accept.
Everyone loves to talk about how they’re “waiting for their boaz”. Even preachers have started quoting that same old tired male-bashing Facebook thing about how, while you’re waiting for your Boaz you should not accept tired-azz, broke azz, etc, etc. (see what I mean about how one-sided this conversation is?)
What nobody talks about though, is the fact that Ruth didn’t sit around on some throne waiting for Boaz to show up. He found her working in his fields. When he asked about her, it was her story of love, loyalty, personal sacrifice and the kindness that she showed that found her favor with him.
But here’s something you might find most interesting of all. Ruth didn’t “wait” for Boaz. She went after her rights to marry him. She was advised to put on her best garments, adorn herself with the finest perfumes and then go to Boaz. She was told to ( watch this) wait until the man has finished eating and drinking and has had a chance to relax (lol!) and then go lie quietly at his feet (nobody’s quoting that part, are they?).
The long and short of it though was that Ruth got her Boaz. But she got him because she made herself worthy of Him. But the advice she got didn’t come from a man. It came from Naomi, her mother-in-law. And when Ruth heard it she didn’t reject it. She simply replied “I will do whatever you say”. (Ruth 3:1-13)
When the queen is ready her King will appear.
I hope you’re starting to see what I call this a “one-sided” conversation, and why messages like Tony’s only serves to make the whole situation worse in my opinion.