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Originally published Monday, September 19, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Respecting women is a good idea for men

Women need empowerment in the right ways to develop inner strength.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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Have you noticed that lots of women expect men to be their heroes? It's a sexual turn on, as we see in the movies, for a man to come to the aid of a woman.

For example, a male hero in the movies may verbally slam someone to defend a woman's honor. Or, he may sword fight another man for her affection.

In real life, men may attempt similar things as well. After a time, though, men can get tired. They're only human.

By the time a man is 40 or 50, he's done a lot of psychological battling for work issues, political issues and family concerns.

It's refreshing for a strong woman to maturely step up and assist a man who's overly stressed. It's great when a woman is not too needy herself.

Women need empowerment in the right ways to develop inner strength, though. When men give women respect and encouragement, it helps arm women with the right tools.

"My wife doesn't dump all her problems on me," says a doctor we'll call John. "She's so efficient and strong, I count her as my hero."

John has always encouraged his wife to take classes, succeed in her job role and serve on government committees in their large city.

"I know men who try to hold their wives back," says John. "It's shocking how some men treat their wives in private."

A psychologist we'll call Anthony says men who feel badly about themselves will hurt women. "A man tends to see his girlfriend or wife as an extension of himself," says Anthony, "so God help her if things are going badly for him."

Now that the economy is shaky, says Anthony, domestic violence is over the top.

"I saw a banker in my office last week who'd hit his wife with a living room lamp," Anthony told us. "His wife didn't file charges. He just voluntarily showed up at my office and begged to see me."

Throughout life, some men tend to make their wives and girlfriends doubt themselves and crouch low. A high-profile ex-wife of a business mogul, whom we regularly see on reality television shows, has written and talked about how her billionaire husband repeatedly said and did things to make her feel insecure. We'll call this ex-wife Cynthia.

"My girlfriends, also married to rich men or divorced from them, tell me their husbands hurt them psychologically on almost a daily basis," says Cynthia. "They don't want these women to feel independent or strong."

Whether any of us are Democrats or Republicans, it's hard for us not to admire a man like Todd Palin. His support of his wife over the years is ironclad. Todd Palin is not at all threatened by his wife's role in the political world. In fact, if anyone steps up to criticize Sarah, Todd will speak out boldly.

Sarah Palin may or may not ever reach her top political goals, but she is already a winner with a husband like Todd.

A 50-year-old businessman whom we'll call Trey says his sister is his hero. "When my wife doesn't back me on something, my sister is quietly there for me one hundred percent."

Trey goes on to say that strong women will stay with you in the heat of battle around the clock.

"My sister runs a large business and still comes to my aid at any moment if I need her," declares Trey. "I've totally respected my sister since childhood. She knows I've got her back in every situation, so it's a mutually wonderful relationship."

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JudiHopsonandEmmaHopsonareauthorsofastressmanagementbookforparamedics,firefightersandpolice,"BurnouttoBalance:EMSStress."TedHagenisafamilypsychologist.WritetothemincareofMcClatchy-TribuneNewsService,70012thStreetNW,Suite1000,Washington,D.C.20005.

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