From time to time, a stereotypical rumor will get started concerning some preacher somewhere, namely that he is running around with his secretary or piano player. In my case, this is entirely true, and I hope that it will continue to be so for a very long time since I am married to the amazing woman who fills both of those roles. Thus it is that our church has an unusual paradigm; if the pastor here ISN’T running around with the secretary and piano player there is a problem.

Anyway, as my secretary, with an office right next door to mine, she and I have recently come to provide a rather excellent study into the divinely ordained differences between men and women. By that, I mean that, after fourteen years in her “new” office in our new building, she recently uttered the words that horrify any man:

“I’m thinking of changing things around in here.”

When we moved from the hole to the hill in our town, we along with a few of our members physically built our 10,000 square foot building, including our own offices. The project took us two and a half years, but we saved an enormous amount of money by doing all of the labor ourselves. We have since built a matching 10,000 square foot building that serves as our gymnasium and family life center. That project took us four years, and at this point, if anyone even whispers the words “building project” they are likely to be summarily executed.

But I digress. The main point of all of this is still the frightening words, “I’m thinking of changing things around in here.”

When we finished the construction of the church, we then obviously had to furnish and arrange our offices. Dana picked out her carpet, a muted, patterned beige, and I picked out a masculine-looking dark blue. I laid the carpet in both offices, and then we started in on the furniture and furnishings. Dana picked out a new, “some assembly required” (more utterly horrifying words) desk that, when completed, weighed more or less the same as a juvenile elephant. I picked out a traditional style cherry wood desk that I found used for $250, a steal of a deal. It also weighed more or less the same as a juvenile elephant. She got used bookshelves and told me where on her wall she wanted them, and I had a friend make custom shelves for my office that are tailored to the shape and size of it all. Then I had him make a couple of other pieces of furniture for it, and I also hung numerous pictures, plaques, degrees, etc. on my walls. Dana did likewise in her office.

Now, when I arranged my office, I had one goal in mind; pick the absolute perfect layout both in efficiency and enjoyableness, and leave it like that forever. And so for fourteen years now, my desk has not moved a centimeter, the bookshelves are literally anchored to the walls, all of the other furniture has been equally stationary, and only an occasional new piece of art or the like has been added to the walls.

Not so for my bride. Her desk that was facing west is now facing south. The shelves that were on the north and east walls are now on the west and south walls. The copy machine has migrated from the southwest corner to the northwest corner. And why was all of this done? Mainly because, in my sweet wife’s words, “I didn’t like it that way anymore.”

Men do not grasp this sort of thing. My office was laid out perfectly from the get-go, and therefore there is nothing not to like, nor could any changes make any of that perfection any “more perfect.” “Do it right the first time,” as the old saying goes, which is not to be confused with the other old saying “happy wife, happy life,” which two statements often conflict in practicality.

Dana is happy now, though. She loves the new layout of her office. And I love both that she loves it and that it has reminded me yet again of a great Biblical truth: God designed men and women for each other, and he also intentionally designed them to be different. Genesis 2:23 says, “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Pay attention to those words “taken out.” God literally removed part of what man was and used that to make something completely different. This is an obvious truth in the anatomical realm, but it is equally true if not quite as obvious in the emotional realm and every other realm as well. These obvious differences are where many stereotypes come from to begin with. As I so often point out, one woman can say to four others “hey, let’s go to the bathroom,” and no one bats an eye. But let a dude say that to four other dudes, and I can assure you there will, in fact, be eyebrows raised.

And the differences are a good thing. The differences allow men to learn from women, and women to learn from men, and both men and women to learn to put their collective talents and understandings together to accomplish great things. The differences remind us that we need each other. The differences provide us with pleasure and humor and even with children. God knew exactly what he was doing by making two such starkly different things as man and woman, and we both ought to be challenged and inspired by the other.

I myself have now been inspired to make a change in my own office. My pencil holder will henceforth be on the left side of my desk instead of the right.

Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mooresboro, N.C. He is a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books. He can be reached by email at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

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