Monday, December 20, 2010

+ The Heart Leads & The Mind Protects: The Men to Love & The Men to Leave. +

Follow your heart! He broke my heart.

Do what you love most! I'm addicted to ______.

Listen to your gut! I don't trust myself anymore.

How many of these phrases have you uttered? I've said all of them. Countless times. And I've listened to you say them, countless times.

This generation has been the first to shamelessly break traditions, expectations, safe decisions - to pursue passions, listen to today over yesterday and sacrifice everything for what makes your heart race.

I love it, and I hate it.

It's reaping great rewards, and great costs.

Do you see the cost, on the flipside of every push to put your heart first?

In our haste, I believe we have spit out the meat and not just the bones.

This applies to a handful of topics, but I want to talk about relationships. And women, I'm looking at you.

Stand up for yourself.

Put your heart on hold for three minutes, and decide right now to bring your mind back into your relationships.

I don't mean this in an insulting way. I'm not calling you stupid.

I'm calling you to use everything you've been given for the purpose it was intended.

I'm not telling you to be heartless, and to pursue relationships that feel wrong.

I'm calling you to be wise, and to surround yourself with men you respect, not men who just make your heart feel something.

Mind and heart.

It's not one or the other, it's both, together.

I'm pulling all of my past mistakes into the present to tell you that I've been there, and I've learned the lessons the painful way. And to tell you that chances are, you don't understand how valuable you are.

I'm going to make some very blunt, specific statements. Take them to heart.

Do not stay with a man who doesn't hug and kiss you.

Do not stay with a man who doesn't love your friends.

Do not stay with a man who turns you against friends or family.

Do not stay with a man who gives you better sex than friendship.

Do not stay with a man who tells you that love is all you need to make life work.

Do not stay with a man who belittles you, especially through sarcasm.

Do not stay with a man who treats you like a casual acquaintance in public.

Do not stay with a man who regularly talks about how hot other women are.

Do not stay with a man who talks shit about his ex's.

Do not stay with a man who has no expectations for his life.

Do not stay with a man who does not care about his family.

Do not stay with a man who talks badly about his mother.

Do not stay with a man who calls you whore, cunt, slut or bitch.

Do not stay with a man who is quick to accuse you.

Do not stay with a man who halves you, instead of doubles you.

Do not stay with a man where it is never his fault or it is always his fault.

Do not stay with a man who asks but does not give (in and out of the bedroom).

Do not stay with a man who gets angry with you daily or weekly.

Do not stay with a man you do not admire.

Do not stay with a man if you are ever afraid of him.

Do not stay with a man who considers you a liability and not an asset.

Do not stay with a man who won't tell you The Number.

Do not stay with a man who compares you to other women.

Do not stay with a man who does not believe in & live for something greater than himself.

Do not stay with a man who lies to you.

Do not stay with a man who does not regularly encourage you.

Do not stay with a man who never offers to pay.

Do not stay with a man you love when you're with him but that hate when you're not.

Do not stay with a man who would read this list and laugh.



I could go on, and on.

But every single type of man listed here, I have made the decision to stay with, "because of my heart." I tell you this for this purpose only: To beg you to follow your heart, WITH your mind.

You KNOW you deserve better. You KNOW the type of man you want. You KNOW you want to feel like a better woman around your man. You KNOW sleeping around isn't worth it. You KNOW you won't find the right man until you let go of the wrong one. You KNOW waiting will be hard but the sacrifice will be worth it. You KNOW your tendency to pardon things you shouldn't. You KNOW you want to be a good woman.

Use your mind. It was given to you so that you could guard your heart above all else, for it is the wellspring of life.

Love passionately, and choose intelligently.

Let me put it this way.

If you cannot respect a man, you cannot love him to the best of your ability.

You can only love him mindlessly.

The women who love mindlessly and marry men they cannot respect, are the women who endure pain, loneliness, divorce, infidelity, regret, bitterness, abuse, and a lifetime of heartache.

HEARTache.

Because they did not protect their hearts with their minds.





Note to men: I just set the bar pretty high for you. Good. You have a world of beautiful, sexy women behind you who want to believe in you, stand beside you, and make your world a thousand times better than it already is. Step it up. Be the man that we respect. We're not asking for perfect men, we're asking for good men. We are ready for you. Be the good man that you are, and win over a woman who wants you like crazy.

32 comments:

Natalie said...

this is really good
practical, "i thought it all through" advice
i needed this

Roshanda said...

I really enjoyed this. I think this is very helpful to a lot of women I know. I will nonchalantly pass this along.

For me, I tend to pick the weak, desperate ones instead of the "cold" ones. Maybe there's a flipside to this coin:

(1) don't stay with a man who whines.
(2) don't stay with a man where it is never his fault or it is always his fault.
(3) don't stay with a man who never lets you do anything yourself.
(4) don't stay with a man who never stands up for himself. (he won't stand up for you when life requires it).

laurennicolelove.com said...

@natalie aw, i'm glad. :)

@roshanda - truth. thank you for sharing those. i just took the liberty to add your #2 to the list. <3

Just me said...

Love this!

David Wilson said...

This is exactly what I try to my sisters

Paige Baker said...

You are going to have the most incredible husband in the world, Lauren. And he won't deserve you.

patrickonofreblog.com said...

I REALLY wish every girl of our generation could see this. I'm probably going to get a lot of flack for saying this, but I feel like majority of the girls (and I call them "girls" - they're not mature enough to call "women") say they want all these things, but don't use their mind to choose someone that WILL respect them and actually do all of those things. It's painful to watch, but I think a lot of girls don't respect themselves and end up with these types of guys that won't respect them, either.

It's a vicious cycle that makes me weep for our generation... probably why I'll always remain single - just out of safety.

Yet another well-written post, Lauren. You always do a great job with these, and they're always something that I look forward to reading, hands-down.

- P

laurennicolelove.com said...

Patrick,

Thank you so much for that comment. I so appreciate your support and encouragement, you have no idea.

I agree with you. I believe a lot of us know what we want, but have no idea how to attain it or wait for it. It's a lot of mental/emotional discipline and self-control, and honestly, few of us in this generation are skilled or experienced in those areas. It's hard. I'm the first to acknowledge that I have struggled enormously with this, and have settled more than once, from lack of self-respect and other things.

But, I have great hope for women. Expectation is one of the best things we can have for one another, and I know that personally, I am much more motivated to become the type of woman who is praised by SEEING that type of woman be praised, than by listening to rant after rant of how horrible I am or have been, or be told how misguided or emotionally unstable or immature girls are.

I struggle with even posting this, because it seems hypocritical for me to urge girls to grow into strong women when I don't believe I'm there yet, and when I have a past I am not proud of. But this is real community, I believe. To encourage one another, inspire one another, and pull each other along, despite our mistakes and flaws.

patrickonofreblog.com said...

I completely agree with your approach and encouragement. It's not that I have lost faith in humanity or anything, and these girls very well may develop into the types of women you're encouraging them to become. However, the problem for me is that I KNOW what I want, I KNOW how to get it, and it's as if I have to wait around until someone who knows the same finally comes around to my area.

Though you may say that you feel you're being hypocritical, I certainly don't look at it in that way. I think it's more of a motivational dialogue, and it's not to say you're not trying to better yourself and therefore these words are meaningless. I know you're constantly striving to be the best you can, which is inspiring to me, and I honestly wish more of these girls I speak of will be inspired by you to do the same. Despite your idea that you honestly feel you're not there yet, it's people like you that continuously fight to become the strong person you aspire to be that doesn't allow myself to lose hope that all is lost on my generation.

And being a softie, hopeless romantic doesn't allow me to be, either. :-P

- P

Aldo's Spot said...

if this were common sense instilled in all of us at a very young age what a wonderful world it would be. Heart is filled with joy while the mind never has to compromise.

missannakay.com said...

love every bit of this.
i'm stunned though, i agree with everything you have pointed out, yet i'm in such a dumb situation that i'm not sure whether i should let my dude go or suck it up and wait for him. blah. relationships are tough. the good and bad - heartache is so difficult to omit.

every girl - as well as guy, deserves respect, and to be honest, i feel that if one respects the other - he or she will do nothing against that person, including all that you have listed.

high five.

Maleen said...

this is perfection. what a great reminder. thankyou

Anonymous said...

I think you may have just slapped me in the face, in the absolute best possible way. Thank you. I especially loved the short sidenote for the men/boys (who will hopefully, after absorbing your words of wisdom, become men).

"You KNOW you won't find the right man until you let go of the wrong one."

Bravo. I loved this.

Annie Coleman said...

Lauren, this is a lovely list - it makes me appreciate my marriage even more. I hope you find a wonderful husband yourself and I'm glad you refuse to settle :)

:hugs:

Ashley Watts said...

I read this list - twice - and I'm going to be honest. It made my heart smile for two reasons.

1) I couldn't agree more with it. Too often I see women I know settle for...whatever. If it has a pulse and gives them a little attention then they hand their heart right over in a pretty little ribbon. And it makes me angry and I feel hurt that very smart and capable women are not protecting and saving their heart for someone that deserves it. They take ridicule (or worse) from a man so that they do not have to go to bed at night alone. And it disgusts me that some men know this and they take advantage of it.

And 2) I took the list as a reminder to myself. I read it over and kept my current boyfriend in mind as I did. Not because I wanted to find a flaw in him but because sometimes, love does leave you a little blind. And I smiled, because then I realized that I picked - no, I was BLESSED - with a great guy. Almost four years ago, I DARED him to be the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with (and not be like the rest of the duds I knew before)...and, with ease, he has done just that. This really makes me appreciate him that much more. :)

So, thank you for this post. I hope women out there read this and remember never to just settle for what's out there in front of them. If it means you have to work a little harder in your search...and if it means you have to be alone until you find the right guy, then that's okay. It's not until you know yourself anyway that you can find someone worthy of knowing you, too.

Kari Ann said...

this was AMAZING. i really enjoy reading your posts.

Jamie Lane said...

I'm giving my sister-in-laws a link to this post. I love this. I've lived this. And I've found the kind of guy who is the exact opposite of this list. My sisters hearts are aching. I know they will take so much from these words. Thank you for sharing your heart and mind. :)

Chantelle said...

Lauren... you hit the nail on the head. Well done. I can't even .. I can't even form words after that. It's just pure truth - females need to read this and keep it close. Wonderful. AMAZING.

Little Tree Vintage said...

well written.

Heather said...

Wow.

This is my first time here, and what a post to have read.

Amazing, and a reminder that I believe every single woman should read often - maybe even daily.

Natalie Cottrell said...

I love, love, love this post. So much. Thank you for harnessing your astute thoughts into such beautiful words. :)

kinsey french said...

You are such an amazing lady, Lauren! You have no idea how much I respect and look up to you. You are my role model! Thank you so much for everything you do and all these words you write. It means so much to me! ♥

xo. kf.

Anonymous said...

i've been following you for a little while now, and i'm not particularly sure that we would be friends in real-person life, but i believe that you are genuine in your convictions and i appreciate what you are doing. you say the things i feel about sex & relationships in a much more graceful way than i can. i feel like i'm out here doing god's work too. i hope someone's listening. xx

Anonymous said...

These are all very good things to seek in a husband, but as a human being you have to realize that men are flawed, (I am one) a list like this is full of ideals that are impossible for a man to fulfill. Through Christ he can attain them, but he will never be able to be all of these all the time.
I've been a Christian for fifteen years, have a degree in Biblical Theology and I know that no matter how hard a man tries to pursue God, he will never attain the level of perfection that is outlined here.

The "Quiet" One... said...

wow...

KerryRose said...

I think this post may be life changing for few people, myself included.

Men are not perfect, I think every girl knows that...and no girl would want, literally, the perfect man. But men should at least WANT to be perfect for the woman they love...that's what is outlined here.

Laura said...

wow. this is powerful stuff. thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

I loved this! LOVED! I shared it on Facebook and hope that all my friends - male and female - take the time to read and understand it. THANKS! I am enjoying following all of your writings!
lisa

HKR said...

Dear women:

Be worth everything we do for you, and you'll get it in return. I've known hundreds of women who ask for this exact same list but don't return the favor; or worse, they cheat, lie and steal as well.

It all comes down to the most basic rule of all: Treat others the way you wish to be treated.

CatexoxoOrris said...

I love this! I wish I would have read this a couple of years ago..Way to raise the bar to where it SHOULD be.

Anonymous said...

This is so good...I cried because this is not the man I have. I know I have to let go of the wrong one to maybe find the right one someday, but it's still really hard. Thank you for your words though...

Reflected Man said...

I stumbled on your blog recently and have enjoyed much of what you have written. Your candor in speaking freely on subjects that make many evangelicals cringe is refreshing.

However, after reading this I have to ask "Are you serious?"

One of the things that I really struggle with is that the American Evangelical norm portrays and ideal for men to women in particular that is unrealistic. Now I'm not suggesting that men don't need to strive to be more Christ like, I certainly think they do and personally I struggle to be more like Christ constantly.

However one term that I hear thrown about all the time is respect. I hear "Women won't respect their husbands because of anger, porn, apathy, dominance, emotional distance, etc." I sometimes wonder if all these proclamations indicating a weakness which will lead to lack of respect don't contribute to the problem by creating unrealistic expectations.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some sort of patriarchal man who believes women should obey their husbands to the point of subservience, but I believe that the power of suggestion combined with unrealistic expectations is a bad formula.

I believe that respect is BOTH earned and a choice. Having spent the last couple of years working in countries where American feminism has not seeped into the Christian culture has made me more keenly aware of this problem. I've seen women give a lot more respect and loyalty to their husbands, many of whom behave in a much more autocratic and unfeeling manner than their American christian counterparts. Again, I am not endorsing husbands who behave that way.

The reality is this, we men are fallen. I do not know one man, who does not struggle with multiple issues on your "do not stay with" list. The exception might be a few legalistic homeschooled boys who have not experienced enough life to crack them out of the fake bubble they live in. (I should know, I WAS one of them.) In the strongest marriages I know men struggle with these issues on a weekly, even daily basis. They have wives who love, respect and more importantly encourage them in the battle to be more like Christ.

So here's the rub. You have a blog which is followed by many people. I realize that a blog is a forum to say what you wish, but I would be careful to strongly analyze what you tell your Christian sisters to do or not to do. Yes you've set the bar high, but I would ask are you giving unrealistic expectations to your Christian sisters? I know many a Christian sister, particularly in the homeschool community which I know so well, who is waiting on their knight in shining armor to leap over the bar and wisk them away. Many still wait and many more wake up next to a legalistic man who's virtue comes not out of a walk with God, but an expertise at pretenting and a life full of hidden sin.

What I would say is this, STAY with a man who is fighting these issues in his life, who is going to his Christian brothers for accountability, who comes to in in repentance and prayer when he has done wrong. Stay with a man who is real and honest about his struggles rather then one who is an expert at walking the walk. Do not stay with a man who does not strive to be more like Christ and battle with these issues in his life. Ask yourself if you've lost respect because the man is truly not worth or if you have lost respect because of what feminist culture is teaching, leading to unrealistic expectations.

Lastly Lauren, please don't see this as an attack on you, but rather a concerned dialog about Christian culture. Nor do I wish to portray anyone as a feminist, rather that sometimes outside ideas can creep into Christian culture.

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