It seems all most strange that we must actually encourage or instruct ourselves to respect the opposite sex. Doesn’t it? Yet, unfortunately, because for decades we have been so bombarded with attitudes, articles, and books that underline the differences between men and women, we now live in a world where we are surrounded by antagonism between the sexes. For the sake of union in society and in our intimate relationships we really must consciously choose now to honor the opposite sex.
Honoring means remembering to value, cherish, holding dear, celebrating rather than disparaging one another. When we hold dear and celebrate, rather than disparaging the differences between men and woman we are honoring each other. Honoring one another is to remember the beauty, enjoying all the contrasts, and savoring in clarity the blessings of the other. It means not building walls out of differences, but delighting in each beautiful, and amusing counterpart of our opposite gender’s hilarious uniqueness.
It also means moving from the surface to the depths, realizing that beneath the familiar costumes of gender we all embody a similar evolving consciousness, that inside we all carry as great emotional treasure the exquisite array of feelings. A man’s grief over the death of his father is not less real than a woman’s grief over the loss of her mother. A man’s heart will be as poignantly, beautifully touched by a breathtaking sunset, the rustle of cottonwood leaves in Yosemite, or a cool, crystalline autumn morning as a woman’s. At the core we all moved by our sorrows and by the magnificence and miracles that touch us, not as men or women, but as human beings.
To know this is to relax the wearying focus on our differences, to come graciously into the knowing that what we live and suffer in common, and that real love, love in the soul, is beyond male and female, beyond gender as an issue at all.