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Christ-centered Alpha behavior

What is the Christian alpha way to handle a relationship inequity? Let's say the vast majority of the times you eat out with your girlfriend, she ends up deciding the restaurant. At first, you feel comfortable letting her make the call but later you feel a little resentful because you really felt like Gombei Bento but she was pining for Falafel's Drive-In.

Being a Christian alpha male means embracing paradox. On one hand, we're called as Christians to lay down our rights and preferences in surrender. We submit. It is completely counter-cultural and it means winning by losing. On the other hand, as an alpha male, you're dominant. You're a rock. You initiate. You don't ask permission, you do and don't apologize. You don't win by losing. You win by winning.

Ultimately, being a Christian alpha male is about surrender but its not just surrender of our preferences, its surrender of the outcome.

There are two issues to sort through in order to negotiate the paradox: 1) how to deal with your own preferences 2) how to confront someone about self-centered behavior.

Dealing with our personal preferences is a matter of spiritual maturity. It is means deciding what serves and benefits the other person best. Often I serve my wife best by being courageous and decisive enough to state my preferences.

I remember during our wedding planning, Judy asked me what color napkins I preferred for the dinner reception. I told her I didn't care. She persisted. I told her that I truly did not care - she could pick whatever she wanted. She lost her patience and told me that I was not being helpful.

Looking back fourteen years later, I realized that my wife wanted support in the decision-making process. Stating my preferences made her feel like I was part of the team, even though she might end up calling all the shots. I should have said purple. And then she might have decided yellow. If I had made a choice and held it loosely no matter what the outcome, I would have won by losing. Regardless, when you surrender, you surrender the outcome. You are a rock. That's alpha.

The typical Asian American Christian man thinks that supplicating to a woman's preference is the Christ-centered approach. Some men may not state any preferences at all - "Whatever you want honey". There are two problems with this: 1) It encourages selfish behavior 2) People who have no preferences are boring. One of the greatest crimes the modern man can inflict on a woman is to be boring. Love or hate Jesus, he's not boring.

Confrontation is also a matter of spiritual maturity and wisdom. Confronting well requires an even greater maturity than surrender. It means staying calm, controlling your temper, and picking the strategic moment (often when she's in a good mood) to call her out. And once you bring up a difficult subject, you do it in gentleness and consideration for the other person.

My problem is that I confront too quickly, with a negative attitude and in a hurtful way. And if she doesn't respond well, I get angry and frustrated. I demand my preference as a form of vengeance. I expose her selfishness in a vindictive, condescending way. That's neither Christian nor alpha.

So there's a couple ways I might approach the dining out quandary. If she demands her restaurant preference as a pattern, I might drive straight to Gombei Bento without explanation. If she asks, I can tell her its a surprise. If she asks why, I say I felt like it. If she complains that she wants Falafel Drive-In, I might tell her we can go there next time.

Another approach is to go with her preference and enjoy Falafel Drive-In as much as possible. And I mean that in the truest sense of surrender. After dinner (not during), I might comment "Honey, when I suggested sushi earlier, you didn't respond. It feels like you often disregard my restaurant suggestions. It makes me feel ignored." This statement cannot come out of provocation. It is voiced dispassionately, during a moment of peace. Then you wait calmly.

Of course I could see how both of the approaches could back-fire. She might get mad and yell at you. If so, a negative outcome does not disprove the principle. It just means in this particular instance it didn't work. It could also mean you didn't execute the principle correctly. One important Christian Alpha trait is that you stick to your guns. You stay the course. Be calm and listen. If you need to apologize, do so but don't apologize unnecessarily. If you need to adjust your execution, do so. Most importantly, remember there are other factors out of your control at play. She could be dealing with work-related stress, hormonal changes, spiritual attack, etc. In which case, you lose no matter what. But again, it does not invalidate the principle. We are often to judge the principle based on a small data set and poor execution.

Comments

  1. Excellent principles. We can all learn from this. The closer we grow to Christ, the more natural becomes the blend of firmness, kindness, authority and submission--each of us in our proper role. A confident, humble Christian woman feels safe at the side of her confident, humble Christian man. :)

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  2. Agreed (mostly). Really, even if you have no preference, it pays to just pick something and be involved in the process of making a decision. (lessonsn learned through experience ;)

    I really have to object to your sentence about being boring though. After stewing on that sentence for a couple days and then getting over it I'm guessing/hoping you mean something along the lines of "absent" or "not relationally engaging". I once knew a lady who complained about the guys she dated being "boring" and the implication that it's a man's function/job to be "entertaining" really pissed me off. Men aren't here to amuse women and if what he has to say doesn't pique your interest that's still no excuse to judge him as any less of a person.

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    Replies
    1. Don't let the pettiness of a person spoil a word for you. Being boring indicates a lack of passion/purpose, or the failure to adequately express thereof. It goes beyond relational engagement - it means putting yourself out there and letting the other person decide.

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