Gender Roles

When Wine and Complementarity are a Good Thing

Thinking of Complementarity in a Different Way

by Kathi

The word “complementarity” has been discussed on the blog and SSB Facebook page a lot. Our discussions tend to focus on how men and women interact with each other in marriage, and the church and society in general. Have you ever heard the word used any other way?

Before moving on, please take a few minutes to watch this very interesting video about people enjoying a party, their unexpected guest, and how they all responded to him.



Up until now I thought that the folks at CBMW were pretty much the only ones giving a definition to complementarity.  This video uses the word in referring to how people mirror each other when they interact. It’s a very interesting concept and a useful idea to keep in mind when dealing with people during a stressful situation.

Let’s raise a glass (of wine, of course!) to a positive spin on the word complementarity!

20 thoughts on “When Wine and Complementarity are a Good Thing”

  1. Kathi

    Finally a “Complementarity” that makes good sense. 😉

    Great video thanks.
    Really makes one think.

    Hmmm? Love your enemies?

    Hope and Pray I can remember this
    next time someone points a gun my way.

    Or next argument, or spat I find myself in. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I hope someone can explain this to me. Yes, we have all heard about turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, and heaping coals on our enemies’ heads. But how does it work practically? I remember the first time I tried this. I was 13 and being made fun at school for being a virgin. I was bullied every day, and no adult cared. No teacher stepped forward and my parents simply didn’t care. I prayed every single day and begged the Lord to get me through it. I was kind to those who were treating me badly and all I did was give them license to continue. In my home life the same type of things happened–my sister would make fun of me and I would do her chores every weekend. I don’t know if I can think of one time when this worked. I only began to be respected when I stood up and said stop!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Irene, I hear you.

    Sometimes when I read Jesus’ words I don’t see realistic commands.

    Example: give to everyone who asks and don’t ask for it back.

    Really? So if someone wants my car or house I am to give it to them? Really?

    Love your enemies to me is saying, “do not repay evil with evil or be bitter and hurt those who harm you”.

    This is not allowing abuse or facilitating it.

    You have every right to tell your sister to leave you alone. But I believe Jesus’ point was, “don’t fight back with violence and hate”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unfortunately, some people see kindness and empathy as weaknesses. With these people the only language they understand is strength. How you use that strength is up to the individual being mistreated!


  5. My insightful daughter and I spent some time talking about this today. She says if the guy holding people up with the gun gets his needs met that way several times he will learn that he needs to hold people up with a gun–it will reinforce the very behavior that is unacceptable. In the long run it is not loving to reinforce bad behavior. It is ok to show kindness and overlook the guy’s antisocial behavior as a one-time gesture of caring.


  6. Healthcare commentary: “With the twitchy movements, wide eyes, and agitation, he was probably on cocaine, a stimulant, and alcohol is a depressant…”

    The use in psychology of the word complementarity is interesting. I’ve often observed that when I’m calm and pleasant in an uncomfortable situation, the other person calms down. It is important not to overdue the positivity. Fake cheerfulness is just irritating – “Singing a song to a troubled heart is like taking off a garment on a cold day or putting vinegar on a wound.” (Proverbs 25:50)


  7. Irene, I don’t have a complete answer to your questions, but I often think of that passage, especially when I see a growing anger towards Christians in the general population. Jesus ends that passage in Matthew 5 by saying, “You must be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” The word perfect is used in the sense of maturity. My personal guideline for acting mature has always been the phrase, “It’s not about me.” Detaching myself from a situation helps me to examine it before I respond.

    Sometimes, maturity means taking a loss for the sake of Christ, whether that is just swallowing insults or actually forfeiting a job due to one’s convictions. Sometimes, it means speaking up, because the injustice is not only threatening you, but also threatening others. I often think of Christ’s words about going the second mile when wading through bureaucratic hoops in order to serve. Going the second mile means being polite, courteous and respectful to the official in a developing country who clearly only stopped you because he is hoping to receive a bribe. But you don’t give him the bribe. If you did, then every other aid worker would be stopped for bribes.


  8. Irene, I recently came across the teaching of “Jesus’s Third Way”, by a guy called Walter Wink. Basically, he talks about a response which sits between either passively accepting the crap that is dealt out to us, or reacting to it with anger and violence. Hence the “third” way. I found it really helpful – maybe you would too.


  9. Irene – Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and worth. I do think that Jesus modeled this in his words and interactions with people. I’m so sorry that you were not treated with the respect, dignity and worth that you deserve.

    I do think that when needed it is okay to stand up for ourselves when it comes to being treated rightly. It’s also okay to determine when something’s not worth fighting for. We all have our own level of what we will tolerate, so I think it depends on each individual’s need.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “I was bullied every day, and no adult cared. No teacher stepped forward and my parents simply didn’t care. I prayed every single day and begged the Lord to get me through it. I was kind to those who were treating me badly and all I did was give them license to continue. In my home life the same type of things happened–my sister would make fun of me and I would do her chores every weekend. I don’t know if I can think of one time when this worked. I only began to be respected when I stood up and said stop!” – Irene

    A woman I know, who is married to a recovering alcoholic, told me one day,
    “I wasn’t just a doormat that had ‘Welcome’ written on me, I was WALL-TO-WALL CARPETING!”

    When she stopped doing for others, including her drinking husband, what he should do for himself, her life got better.

    It’s too bad that you were surrounded by people who didn’t protect you or defend you, have a spine, and put it in gear to protect you. Your parents should have told you to not do your sister’s chores.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kathi, that was a really interesting video. (Don’t you have a background as a social worker?)

    I once read about an Orthodox Jewish rabbi’s wife who disarmed a violent woman who came to her home by offering her a fresh piece of home made cake. Miracles happen.


  12. Velour, yes, my background is in social work. I find things like this video fascinating. Human behavior and how the brain is affected are what I like to study about in my spare time.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, those folks WERE lucky. They were all together. Those wanting to come in and steal or shoot or whatever, they usually come to a house where there is one person, or no one. Especially those most vulnerable. Here, they backed each other, in asking him questions, inspiring each other, etc.
    Thanks for sharing, Irene; I remember being told “just ignore him/her” when I was being bugged too; be it from siblings or classmates. It, as you said, got them continuing to do what they were doing.
    In a Bible study I was in a number of years ago, we struggled with those Scriptures as we studied the book Boundaries. The context of how “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was meant as a way of making punishment fit crime. And how Jesus was teaching against going to extremes with it, that was happening in those times. He instilled a radical way of loving others. Which also gets taken to extreme. We helped each other(and still do) with setting boundaries and asking God for wisdom; on what’s best for the other person. It is not loving to enable their unloving behavior, right?
    Good topic; I look forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Irene, I don’t have a clear answer from scripture for you, but I think of it in terms of civil rights. Martin Luther King Jr. taught those protesting for civil rights how to take a beating and protect themselves from harm. It was because those who hated them were going to harm them as a statement against equal rights.

    I think, in the same way, Jesus is talking about how to do deal with those who hate God and are going to do violence to us because of their hatred of what we stand for. When a police officer hits us for protesting, we shouldn’t hit back. Instead, we should “take it” on behalf of Christ. But that is not a rule for every encounter, regardless of the intent behind it.

    When Christians take it out of context and use it as a second abuse against the victim, that is contributing to abuse, rather than standing for God. My children’s schools have strict anti-bullying rules, and we have reinforced with our children that it is okay and right to stand up against bullies, and they should not be afraid to go to the parents. We stood with our child as she advocated for herself against some boys who were making fun of her in class. She told the teaching team that the was upset that she has had to sit with these boys for months and the teacher has not protected her. And, surprisingly, the team praised her for coming forward, said that they were happy that she was standing up for herself and that they would ensure the situation was dealt with. The students were moved around the next day so she wasn’t near them.

    I was also taught to be wall-to-wall carpeting. When I dared stand up, my siblings, parents or church leaders would knock me down and step on me to make sure I returned to my proper place.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Technically, what is said to have resolved the situation is not complimentarity, but rather non-complimentarity. I remember reading a story in a monthly magazine about 30 years back along the same lines–drunk gets onto the subway in Japan, loud and abusive, and a guy trained in martial arts was ready to meet force with force….and then a pensioner came in and started talking with him about sake.

    For reference, the method is used a lot in law enforcement–good cop bad cop uses this–and it’s very powerful when you’re on a call with an irate customer, too. If you say “I looked at the pictures and that’s clearly not the way we want to deliver this product”, you’re about halfway done towards making that customer happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “Human behavior and how the brain is affected are what I like to study about in my spare time.” -Kathi

    Good classic book by Jerome D. Frank called Persuasion and Healing.
    He was a professor of Psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


  17. Velour – I’ve recently been absorbed in books and studies about how trauma affects the brain and body. I find it absolutely fascinating and reading more has helped me make so much sense out of situations.

    Liked by 1 person

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