Friday, January 10, 2014

A Good Man

I've been seeing a lot of memes and "inspirational" quotes on Face and Pinterest lately. They've probably always been there, but I've just happened to notice them more lately. A few of them have stuck out on my mind and that's because they irritated me. They were about men and they perpetuated an idea that I think is not only false, but dangerous to our society.

I'm not going to post the quote and I'm not going to quote it either, mostly because I don't want to go look for it, but also because I don't want to continue its spread. The basic idea is that a "good" man is one who wants to be constantly with his woman and is sick when she's gone. He caters to her every whim in order to make her happy and is always there to support her emotions. In all honesty, that sounds pretty great, doesn't it? Like a Disney fairy tale almost.

Well that's because it is. That man doesn't exist and hoping and wishing for him to come along and sweep us off our feet is not only futile, but dangerous. It's dangerous for us as women and it's harmful to men. The minute we define a "good" man as something out of a fairy tale, we categorize all those who fall short as "not good" or failures and guess what? They all fall short. Maybe some come closer than others, but I promise you, no man in the world wants to be with you 100% of the time. Sometimes he's glad to be away from you. You're probably awesome but so is chocolate. If you ate chocolate at every meal and every snack, you'd get sick of it really fast.

The problem here is that this idea of a "good" man is based completely on what he can do for his woman. It's an idea that is based out of selfishness and need and when the man doesn't live up to what she wants, he's a dog.

Now, I've been married for 7 years and we've been together for almost 10 years, so I think I have a pretty decent grasp of male behavior. I don't think my husband is unique (though he IS pretty special ;) and I think he represents most men. He likes time away from me. *gasp!* He gets tired of my company! How awful. Or not, because I like time away from him too. It's actually healthy to have separate hobbies and pursuits. It's healthy to spend time apart because that makes your time together so much sweeter. You actually have things to talk about, you've missed the other person so you treasure your moments together. Nobody's life should be so wrapped up in another person that they're "sick" when the other person isn't around.

He also doesn't cater to my every whim and emotion (boooo!). As it turns out, I'm a woman. And women (sorry girls) are fickle creatures. Now, there are exceptions to every rule and maybe you're the exception, but I certainly am not. My emotions fluctuate and I'm not always reasonable. I thank God that my man is a steady rock that I can count on to keep me grounded. He tells me when I'm acting ridiculous. He doesn't give in to the depths of my emotions. He helps me be a stronger and better person by example.

So what IS a good man? I found this on Pinterest:

I don't think we should judge men on their relationships with us. Sometimes love makes us weak and causes us to do silly things. I've also heard that we should judge men on how they treat their mothers. I don't think we should do that either. Some mothers weren't that great. 

I think we should judge a man by how he makes everyone around him feel. How he treats strangers, children and animals. By the decisions he makes when no one is watching. I have a theory that if we choose men of integrity, we'll never have to worry about him not spending enough time on us or not being there emotionally for us. A weak man may cater to our every whim just so we'll stay with him, but that doesn't make him a good man. A man of strength and character is a good man. Even good men mess up, but if we're judging men by the right characteristics, I think we'll be a lot more willing to forgive the mess ups and perhaps even be counting our blessings that such a good man chose us. 

I know I am. 

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