Sunday, July 15, 2007
As it seems my body is done sleeping for now, I thought I would take a moment to share a few of my conclusions. I have written extensively about what I did wrong, where my mistakes were made in bringing to life this relationship that never should have been. I will not belabor those points.
In my opening sentence, I referred to my ex as a "neanderthal", and for good reason. I have concluded that he is not a real man. Nor are any of the other men I have dated. Rather than tell you all of the things he is, thereby explaining what real men are NOT, I will tell you what I think real men ARE.
Real men are able to be leaders. They do not have to ask permission to lead. I think it is rather like what Margaret Thatcher said about being powerful. She said, " Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell someone you are, then you're not." I see it that way with men and leadership. I do not think having male genitalia automatically makes a man a leader. Leadership is demonstrated through the day to day things of life, not in sweeping gestures of power-tripping when it makes a man look good to step into a leadership role. A real man knows how to lead, and begins first by maintaining balance and control in his own life. Do not expect me to let you lead me if I can clearly see you do not know how to manage your own life. Do you really think I am going to let you take me down with your sinking ship?
Real men take responsibility. Full responsibility. They do not look for ways out, they do not make justifications, they do not make excuses. As a leader, a real man will take responsibility for the road he chose to take, and for leading others down that same road. If things do not turn out as he hoped, he will not turn around and say, "Well, I will not take all the blame here. I am not the only one who messed up. " Perhaps he's not the only one who messed up, but he will be a real man about it and say, "I made the choice to go down this road, and I lead you down this road with me. I messed up, and I'm sorry." End of story. He will not look for ways to make others shoulder the blame, even if he justifiably could. A real man is his own man, through and through, even when things go horribly wrong. I take responsibility for my mistakes, and I expect the man in my life to do the same. We all mess up. I do it all the time. It's what we do after we mess up that tells the whole story.
A real man is able to take care of his responsibilities. For example, managing his finances. Being generous with the finances doesn't amount to much if he is not paying his bills on time. I am not impressed with receiving nice gifts (or gifts of any kind) if I know the one giving the gift has chosen to buy that gift instead of pay a bill. To me, that is repellant, not to mention insincere. So, you want to share your life with me, but you can't even pay your bills? Yeah, that's impressive. Real men don't shirk their responsibilities just to impress the one they care for.
Which brings me to my next point...Real men of God do not compromise that, even if it means perhaps losing the one they say they love. A double-minded man is unstable in ALL his ways. If I see a man compromising his faith in Christ just so he can please me, that is a clear indication to me that he is a man who is not trustworthy or stable in his life, and I need to get as far away from him as I can. He is not a man of God...at least, not as he may be claiming to be...and I have no desire to entertain a fraud.
Real men protect the ones they love. They do not act in selfish ambition, hurting the ones they love simply because it serves their best interests in the end.
Real men know how to put themselves aside, and favor the one they love. They put their needs, wants, hopes, etc...aside when the one they love cannot meet those needs, and they do not make demands on the one they love. The Bible speaks of preferring others above ourselves, and real men (and women) know how to do that. It is supremely selfish to see the one you love having their life turned upside down, and have the audacity to inquire nothing of their well-being except, "Where do I fit into all of this chaos?"
Real men "let their yes be yes and their no be no". This relates to the idea of making excuses and justifications, but also demonstrating integrity in who they say they are, and what they say they are going to do. A real man follows through on his word, and does not make promises he has no intentions or no means of keeping. A real man does not make empty promises or claims, just to impress people.
A real man does not make demands of the one he loves. Rather, when he says he loves her, he means he loves her as she is. That is, after all, what love is supposed to be. It does not mean, " I love you, but I am going to put you through this process (ie, "The Haroldification Process", which I had been made aware of many times during our relationship) in order to make you more acceptable and loveable to me." Or, " I love you, when you are behaving like I think a girlfriend/wife should. However, when you misbehave (for example, are not needy enough, or do not rely on my manly leadership enough), I will be sure to let you know so you can adjust your behavior." Real men do not make such demands. Real men love their wives as Christ loved the church...HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER!
Real men understand that respect is earned. They understand that they do not merit respect simply because of their genitalia, but that they need to prove themselves worthy of holding a place of respect and leadership in a woman's life. There is a basic respect given to all human beings that can and should be expected. Beyond that, though, I believe that everyone needs to prove themselves worthy of meriting greater respect. It's not just handed out.
Real men do not throw a spiritual glaze on their lives when it's convenient, and then live a life of immorality the rest of the time. Maybe I am expecting a lot, but I expect my man to be one who seeks Christ for himself, and does not need my prompting to do so. Real men have true accountability, and do not wait until things have gone completely awry before deciding to become spiritual and make a grand gesture to remedy the situation. I know that there are struggles people have. I have them. You have them. But real men are held accountable...truly accountable, not conveniently accountable...for how he is handling those struggles, and do not wait until the eleventh hour to make a grand show of all they are doing to correct the error of their ways.
Real men communicate. I know, "women are the communicators". I understand that, I really do. But real men don't avoid talking about problems, pretending everything is okay just because issues aren't "fun" to talk about. Real men talk about it! Even when things have gone south and a relationship is lost, real men make room for real communication about the matter, not doing things like...Oh, I dunno, declaring "Forty Days of Silence" right after a breakup. (Yes, that was very passive-aggressive of me, but it's my blog, so deal with it). Doing such things not only cuts off all chances of possible reconciliation, but obliterates any possible healthy communication that may have taken place. It may not have changed the outcome, but it at least leaves room for things to be said that need to be said before ways are parted. And phone calls made after said forty days of silence are just downright ridiculous. Real men, take note. Real men do not run and hide when the going gets tough. If it is time to part ways, they do so with maturity, rather than acting like a little girl who is going to take all her dollies and go home and pout because she didn't get her way. (Yes, passive aggressive. Yes, my blog.)
Okay, now I'm just getting pissy, so I'll stop. But you get the idea. Real men are men of integrity, honestly, and truth. They are who they are, through and through, and do not pretend to be someone else just to make an impression and lure someone into their deception.
I am not perfect. FAR from it (obviously, if you read my passive aggressive rants). But I do expect the man in my life to bring good things into my life, to challenge me to be the best person I can be, and to do so in a healthy way. By demonstrating healthy leadership, by protecting me, by taking responsibility for the choices he makes in his own life and in our relationship, by admitting his shortcomings and dealing with them on his own...not waiting until I'm ready to ditch him before he finally faces himself. In short, give me a real man...or let me live my life as a very happy single woman.
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]