more than nice

I enjoy my own company. Of course, since I’m single, this is not completely by choice. But still, there are moments when I’m content in my aloneness. I am satisfied with sitting in my oversized red chair by myself, writing in a notebook with Friends playing on the television as background noise. I am okay with not having a date for Saturday night. I don’t mind the quiet.

Then there are days where I wish there was a guy who would come stand in the doorway, shake his head at my solitude, and take me by the hand as he dragged me towards something new and exciting. I want a guy who will take me on an adventure, who can be spontaneous and maybe even a bit dangerous. I want a guy who brings everything I’m not into a relationship, because then maybe I can bring something to him as well.

Ladies, we like a guy who is just a bit wild. We want to sigh as he takes our breath away with his crooked half smile. We want him to be intense and passionate. We long to be swept away by the hero of our hearts. We want him to romance us.

And then we change our mind. As per usual, of course. We start to think that maybe the guy of our dreams should be a bit tame, not too passionate in his desires, not too handsome lest we become even more insecure. We pare down our image of the perfect hero. We cut away at the parts of him that attracted us to him in the first place. We slowly shave away at his masculinity until it is something safe and manageable, something nice. And when we finally marry this new ideal, we cry ourselves to sleep at night because we are bored and he is distant, and we fear we made a mistake.

Christian women today are in search of the “nice guy.” Obviously, we want a guy who is nice. We certainly don’t want one who is mean. But we’ve turned niceness into something emasculating. For a guy to be nice, he is safe. He isn’t a risk. He isn’t a path to heartbreak. He isn’t going to lie or cheat or abuse us. He will treat us with complete politeness. He will pat our shoulders when we cry and say “there, there.” He will agree with us at every turn and never disagree. He will give us what we want and not get in our way. (Is anyone else a bit bored with this?)

Ladies, how do you feel when a guy says that you are nice or have a “great personality”? I’ve always felt a bit bereft and little sad. No woman wants to be simply nice. We want to be more than our personality. We want to be beautiful and lovely and captivating. We want to turn heads and cause smiles and make everyone around us just a little happier. We want to be exotic and exciting and mysterious. We want to be the gift that some lucky person gets to unwrap. But we don’t want to be merely nice.

It is unfair for women to expect the men in their lives to live up to an expectation they don’t want for themselves. It is unfair for us to look at men and wish they were less masculine, less adventurous, less passionate, less dangerous. They are men, and God created them that way. Men were created to be a bit wild. God created all of the beasts of the earth, birds of the air, and fish of the sea. Then He created man and put him in charge of everything wild. Man was created in the wilderness itself. He was put in the fields and mountains and raging rivers and given dominion over it. John Eldredge in his book Wild at Heart shows how men repeatedly in the Bible goes back to the wilderness. Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and even Jesus go into the wilderness at important moments in their lives. They go back to the place where God intended them. They go to the wild.

I don’t believe that deep down women want a nice guy. We think we do, but the regret we feel after finding one says otherwise. We want something more than nice. Women want a good man. We want someone who will love us. Someone who will find us beautiful and revel in our beauty. Someone who will take care of us, be strong for us, defend us, but not try to own us. Someone who will sweep us off on an adventure. Someone who will take the time to romance us. We want him to be good, to do good, but not be an empty shell of the man God created. Women shouldn’t be afraid of the wildness, the passion, the intensity in a man. He was intended to be that way. And if he is a follower of God, he will treat you the way you should be treated.

So I don’t want a guy who is entirely like myself. It would be nice to share similar interests (if he doesn’t like books, sarcasm, or good grammar, we might not make it), but I don’t want a man who feels he has to rein in his masculine heart to be with me. We shouldn’t go into relationships expecting people to change to suit us. It isn’t fair or likely to happen. Instead, we should have a relationship that allows us to be our true selves, as God made us, without fear of judgment or reproach. I should feel completely comfortable being the woman God made me, and he should be completely comfortable being the man God created him to be. I don’t want to tame him, or change him, or fix him. I just want love him like he loves me.


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