A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10
I have a single friend. A single male friend. For the purpose of this post we will call him….. Darren. Darren is looking for a wife. For real, no exaggeration, the man wants to get married and, since we eat lunch together almost everyday, I have been sucked into this running dialogue concerning the woes of his inability to snag a lady. Now, to clarify, this man really is a catch. He’s not perfect, but every mama I know would be pleased to have him at her dinner table: gainfully employed, ambitious, idealistic, positive, charismatic, kind, generous….. did I mention handsome….(My single ladies… are you drooling yet?)
His list of non-negotiables:
- Ambitious and Hard-working
- Believes she can change the world and doesn’t need him to do it.
- Can cook. (He really, really emphasized this.)
I am a married woman. As a married woman, (according to Darren) I am categorically different in my thought processes than any of the women he sees as potential mates. My dating past is just that ….. the past, history. Those guys are persona non grata next to hubs, but my experience has now morphed into fodder for something resembling parental wisdom. And so…. I have become a sounding board for Darren.
This week we tackled the topic of “nice girls.” Darren was lamenting that he is tired of ending up with mean women:
“b—-s.” Bossy, manipulative, loud, argumentative ladies. I believe most men would agree with this, but as my friend lamented, he keeps ending up with that woman.
In my observation, his problem lies in that his list of non-negotiables creates a paradox in the “type” of lady he desires.
I told him that he had two options:
1. Go back to church
2. Start dating older women
The answer to having list #1 without list #2 is maturity or Jesus. The ideal situation would be combination of the two.
Which led us to “nice girls.”
“Why don’t you just date nice girls?”
“Nice girls are…….” and he trailed off, unable to complete the sentence.
“What? Boring. You think nice girls are boring. They’re not. I was a nice girl. I’m not boring. You know that crowd of guys that whine, ‘Good guys finish last’…? Well, nice girls feel the same way.”
“Ok. Cody, tell me about nice girls. ”
So I did. “Nice girls do not DEMAND attention. They were taught decorum. They ask you to notice them quietly, subtly, and without pretension. Those other girls, they refuse to be ignored. They insist upon your acknowledgement of them. Nice girls have dreams too. They may not shout them, but they are waiting for you to notice so they can tell you about their dream and invite you to believe in it too. ”
“But I don’t want someone who is co-dependent.”
“I’m not talking about co-dependence.”
“Nice girls often need someone to tell them their dreams are legit, that they are awesome and that they can change the world. “
I was projecting and as I said this, I suddenly had a moment of self-awareness as I said, “My previous boyfriend thought my dreams were silly– he referred to Jesus as the ‘other man in my life,’ and I cowered and fought to keep my passion under that. And Nathan….. Nathan said, ‘This is what you were meant to do and I support you….’ And now– even if he left me– (please don’t leave me) I would still be able to do it. It would be hard without him but I could and would keep going. “
As I reflected upon this, I became certain of its truth. This is not underestimating the value of parents that instill confidence and purpose in their daughters. But let’s face it, as children we often doubt our parents’ encouragement, no matter how true it may be. We assume that since they are our parents that they are biased and don’t really know how flawed we are.
Last year I was asked to teach on a “Proverbs 31 Woman.” While I did speak to the girls about what that meant, I found myself desperately beseeching the gentlemen to lift their heads from the sand, the ESPN swimsuit edition…. the mean girls, and notice and cultivate the nice girls around them.
The Proverbs 31 woman was amazing. She was a wife, a mother, a home-maker, an entrepreneur, a savvy business woman, generous and kind: she was well-respected in her home and community. She was all the things Darren desires. But she had a good spouse. In a time when women we primarily valued for their domestic purposes, her husband praised her. He acknowledges her strength and the passage leads us to believe that he supports her every endeavor and trusts her wisdom.
So, as a mom, a wife, and a nice-girl aspiring for greatness, I asked my friend to give the nice girl a chance. I will plead with my son (when the time comes) to do the same.
Please date the nice girl. Not the loud, “do it this way….” “this what I think…” “look at me” chick in class or the restaurant or writing workshop…. But the quiet, nice girl: The one that unassumingly works hard, finishes what she starts and treats others with kindness and grace. Get to know her. Encourage her. Compliment her strengths and acknowledge her flaws. Allow her to do the same for you. And in the end…… if it doesn’t work out, you have simply grown and helped each other become a better version of yourselves.