Some advice from Donald Miller
What Men Really Need from Women, and what Women Really Need from Men.
In his blog, Donald Miller shares an excerpt from his book Father Fiction, which gives advice to people who grew up without fathers. I thought all of his opinions were spot on, and definitely worth sharing.
“…Weakness isn’t attractive in either sex. Some girls think being weak will attract a strong man, but it won’t. Being weak will attract a predator, which is why girls who show self-pity often get hurt in the end. Bad guys smell it out and take advantage of them. The girl thinks he’s strong because he’s bad, because he’s confident and mysterious, but really he’s insecure and is only using her to make himself feel like a man. It’s a cycle, though, because once a girl gets used, it gives her something to feel sorry for herself about, and she just starts all over, attracting predators.
This sounds very unfair, I know. It sounds unfair because IT IS unfair. A sad reality in our world is those who are hurting are often the same people who are taken advantage of. Our response, without question, should be to defend people who are hurting and protect them, but also to guide them into healing so they can be strong and not get taken advantage of again. If a woman gets hurt, it’s important to get counseling and help before putting herself out there. There are countless exceptions to this, but I still believe it’s true that when somebody is weak, they need to find people they can trust who can help them gain strength. Girls who grew up without fathers are often hurting and looking for strength and affirmation from men, and it’s important they get that from a community or from men who are safe.
Now I am going to say this directly and perhaps offensively, but I want to say it straight: If a girl wants a great guy, she has to stop feeling sorry for herself. She has to do something different to attract somebody different. If you are strong and choosy, if you have a vision for your life, he will sense in you somebody to partner with so the two of you can help others (or raise a family.) That’s what a good guy is looking for. I’m not saying you can’t cry on his shoulder every once in a while-guys love being strong for a woman-I’m just saying if you have the characteristics of a wounded animal, you are going to attract somebody who eats wounded animals.
The sad truth is there are millions of legitimate victims out there, but each one of us needs to access the many resources given us to gain back our strength.
It’s important to note that a strong, confident woman is what a guy needs, but it’s not always what a guy wants. Guys who are weak themselves may feel secure with a weak woman, but girls, this is not the guy for you. Strength attracts strength. Feminine strength is incredibly attractive.
Guys are also attracted to beauty. But that doesn’t mean you have to look like a supermodel. In the vision I have for my wife, she doesn’t look like a model at all. She’s going to be the mother of my children for heaven’s sake. So a girl throwing her boobs all over the place may get my attention, but she’s not getting a ring. At least not from me. Beauty is important, but it’s true there are many ways to be beautiful. I know good-looking girls get more attention, but what that girl most likely wants is to have a conversation and instead she gets guys falling all over her, so her life isn’t perfect either.
A guy who has a serious vision for his life and family is looking for a partner, an advisor, somebody who can work with him to do remarkable things. A bimbo isn’t going to help. And if he wants a bimbo, he doesn’t have a very good vision for his life anyway. Self-assurance is beautiful. A choosy girl is beautiful. A woman who does not manipulate with her appearance is beautiful. A girl who is respectful of other people is beautiful. Intelligence is beautiful. A woman who has deep faith is beautiful. God knows there are plenty of books out there for girls on how to attract guys. I’d be careful and read the ones from dignified, older authors, because there are all kinds of tricks women use to attract men that just leave them more and more lonely.
Here is the last bit of advice: We are not going to get the love we really need from each other. We are going to get it from God, in heaven. Until then, we have an awesome opportunity to practice committed love with each other. We get to be faithful to each other, we get to try to love unconditionally (at which point we will understand how amazing God is) we get to serve each other by being more attractive to our mates, we get to take care of each other, we get to bring children into the world and take care of them, we get to share our lives with a family, and we get to have a heck of a lot of fun together. And as such we get to improve our character. Those are some of the reasons we should be looking for a mate.”
What does a man need from a woman? (This is not in the book, but I wanted to summarize some more practical thoughts for this blog.)
• A woman who believes she is beautiful and cultivates that beauty, in many ways. He’ll be drawn to that beauty and confidence. Now much of this comes from understanding how much you are loved by God and so have infinite intrinsic value. So pursuing a true answer to that question is important. The other part comes from this whole, beautiful, educational playground God gives us. He has given you ways to cultivate beauty, and He wants to go with you on that journey. Is it memorizing poetry, learning a language, playing a sport, starting your own baking class on the internet, or doing aid work somewhere in the world? Go for it and have a blast. We think God is going to suddenly make us feel strong or beautiful or confident, but He’s not, He’s going to go with you into an awesome story where character development happens along the way. Tell God you want to live through an awesome story that brings you to an understanding about your intrinsic beauty.
• A woman who is choosy. A woman who knows she is beautiful waits for a good match. This doesn’t mean you should play hard to get. Games are just confusing. What it means is that you should respond kindly to guys who have done the work you are worthy of partnering with.
• A woman with a vision for her life. If she wants a family, she’s looking for good dad potential and good husband potential. If she wants to become President, she’s looking for good “first man” potential. Know what you want and look for that in a guy. And don’t lie to yourself. If you want to be a mother and have a family, don’t pretend you’re not interested in that because you are afraid a man will get scared off. Having a family is an awesome vision, and if he doesn’t want that, you aren’t compatible.
• Show some respect. Emerson Eggerichs rightly tells us men are attracted to respect and women to love. We both want love and respect, but it’s true men strongly respond to respect. Respect makes a man feel great. Men like women who don’t constantly criticize, reminding him of his failures or what’s wrong with him (that’s true for all of us, for sure, but it drives men nuts). If you are dating somebody you don’t respect, either find something to respect about him, or leave, but don’t cut him down on the way out. And don’t cut down other men, either. Just show respect, and guys will start wondering what it is about you that is so great.
Donald Miller is one of my favorite authors. If you're looking for a good read, check out some of his books. My favorite is Blue Like Jazz, where he shares the story of his spiritual journey. He went from being distant from God and losing his faith, to seeing the importance and relevance of Jesus in his life.
You can visit his blog here to see some of his other entries.