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strength

 

Sometimes, I hear from angry readers who don’t believe I’m supporting women being strong. Their words have a common theme:

Why should I do my part to make the marriage better when my husband isn’t doing his? Why are you telling me to be respectful and patient when he doesn’t deserve it? Why should I appreciate him when he doesn’t appreciate me?

I get the feeling these readers think I am urging them to be a doormat. But that’s not the case. After all, the name of this blog, and my book, is Strong Women, Strong Love.

The kind of strength I am talking about is broader than the type most revered in our culture.

In the U.S., we tend to celebrate those who are fiercely independent, firm and unstoppable — who take a stand and won’t ever back down. That’s what we usually think of as real strength.

But there’s another kind of strength, too. One that’s more valued in the East. Think about the willow tree and how it stands strong in the storm because of its tremendous flexibility. Or, the power of water, even as it follows every bend and curve of the river bank.

Both kinds of strength, being determined and being flexible, have value. We do face circumstances that require us to stand firm. But we also face times when we’d be better served by calling on our openness and adaptability.

Keep being a strong woman, but consider expanding your definition of what it means to be strong.

If you can call on both kinds of strength — being firm and being flexible — you’ll be better able to cope with the ups and downs of both your relationship and life as a whole.