EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com  (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: How do I respond to my superior in the workplace who has suggested, "Go get married" when I try to make meaningful contributions at work? Do men generally despise the contribution of women in the workplace? What does the Bible have to say on the subject?

HE SAID:

Without knowing the back story of your situation or the specifics in regards to the conversation which provoked this remark, it is difficult to direct you explicitly in a response. However, should it ever come up again, you may want to consider replying with something to the effect of, “I don’t understand what you mean by that.”

I would caution you from becoming too defensive on this matter in the event this was just a poorly-timed inappropriate display of “humor” (or claims to have been) by your superior. It would be safe and prudent on your part to seek out someone in the Human Resources Department to discuss and shed light on this matter, and for it to be documented should it become necessary for future use.

Having been both a superior and subordinate in government, corporate and private industry, I have found some men to despise the contributions of women in the workplace, but have also found that to be true of some women, towards both men and women.

Most circumstances are typically case-specific and shouldn’t be generalized to include “all” or even “most” men (or women) act in a certain way in all situations. As it is wrong for someone to suggest you to “go get married,” it is also wrong to label men as a group who generally despise the contributions of women in the workplace.

Conflicts within the workplace usually occur when a person feels threatened. Whether being “shown up,” “disclosed” or “put-down,” co-workers will retaliate in different ways in order to keep their territory, control or status among their peers, (in a strange way) much like animals in the wild.

Your superior may in fact just be “reacting” because he feels intimidated by your suggestions and contributions.

As for the Bible, there has always been a hierarchy and the Lord blessed those who faithfully and honorably served in subservient roles. Joseph pleased Potiphar, the warden and Pharaoh (Genesis 39), Daniel respected the chief official’s role (Daniel 1) and Ruth sacrificed for her mother-in-law (Ruth 1).  

You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things (Matthew 25:21).

Continue to serve in the role you were placed until you are moved up (or out), or choose to go somewhere else, but in the meantime, serve as if you are working for the Lord.

As Christians, our best witness can be one of action rather than words.  Others can always misunderstand, take out of context or misconstrue our words, but rarely can others misinterpret our actions.

SHE SAID:

Wow, when I first read this I was thinking, "I thought this type of thinking was dead. Didn't all these men die by now, or at least retire?" Well, based on your letter, they have not. This man obviously has no respect for women. I wonder how he treats his wife, daughters, or daughter-in-laws. To figure him out and try to "change" his attitude may be difficult, but it can be done. Only with the power of the Lord working through you and him. First I would pray every day that he would change, that he would see his comments, attitude, and actions are wrong. That they are condescending, disrespectful and take away from a positive work environment. Second, be encouraged to know God has you there because he wants you to reach others for Christ. Through your attitude, work performance, and quality of work you are to be an example for Christ. Let others wonder how you are able to deal with this man. Then when they ask, you can share with them that Christ is helping you, that God helps you to change and through Christ, your boss can too. Be encouraged to know God has put you there for a reason.