3.28.2014

To My Ladies


I came across this unfortunately popular post on tumblr the other day. First, let me just say that after you get married, things like this "letter" make you eye roll so hard they almost fall out of your head. I tried my best to just let myself do the eye roll and move on. This was obviously written by a teenage girl and I probably would have eaten it up when I was 15. So I was just going to let it be. But then I saw it floating around a few more times and I couldn't get it out of my head.

Let's first address the, "Is he a mind reader?" section... It should, hopefully, be no surprise that I believe in and encourage strong women. Now, the word strong should not be confused with without feeling or insensitive. I have expressed my feelings about sensitivity in women. No, my idea of a strong woman is one that has a firm grasp on what she believes and wants and is willing to be honest and open about those beliefs and wants. I have never ever, in my life (I cannot stress it enough) been one of those girls that told my significant other I wanted Chinese food but expected him to know I really wanted pizza. If my boyfriend asked me what I wanted to do over the weekend, I never said, "whatever you want" while secretly expecting him to know I wanted to go see a movie. As much as I am an advocate for women, I am also an advocate for good, just trying to love their woman men. He is not now, nor will he ever be, a mind reader. If you want pizza, damn it, tell him you want pizza. If you want flowers on your birthday, you can tell him that. If you don't like it when he leaves his socks on the floor, say those words to him.

It has been my experience that the men in my life trust me and they believe the things that come out of my mouth. When I say I'm fine, they believe me and go about their business. If I say I'm having a rough day, they take note and try to make me feel better or be a little kinder. I don't have to lie to get what I want. Saying one thing and expecting the opposite is unhealthy for all involved. Possibly the worst part of this whole mentality is the damage it does to women. We do not need more girls growing up afraid to speak their mind, girls afraid to be honest. If we cannot be honest about how many scoops of sugar we want in our tea, how can we be honest about inequality or sex or violence? Don't give anyone else power over your decisions. Don't encourage the idea, to yourself or men, that you need others to make choices for you.

Now, I don't want to ignore the fact that there was absolutely no substance in that list of questions. These are the questions you want your daughter to ask about the man she'll spend her life with? I cannot resist but to counter with my list of questions. This is for my future daughter, for my sisters and friends and general army of ladies.

-How does he fit in with the rest of your life? Are you losing other important relationships by being with this person? Are either of you changing things about yourself to fit the other in your life? I hope he is friends with your parents and siblings. I hope he gets along really well with your best friend. 
-Does he encourage you to expand and grow in your talents and hobbies? Does he like that you have things in your life he is not involved in? I hope he lets you be an individual.
-How does he treat his mother? He will ultimately treat you in a very similar way.
-Can he make you laugh even while you are stressed/angry/sad/tired? You are spending your life with this person and if you cannot laugh with them through hard times, it is going to be a sad time.
-Does he get stuff done? Are his bills paid on time? Does he have health insurance? Can he keep a job? Does he have a plan? Does he show up promptly to his appointments? The answers to these questions will affect you for years to come. You are adults and this is real life.
-Does he confide in you? Does he ask for your opinion? Good communication is important in every area of a relationship.
-Does he let you screw up or does he guilt trip you? I hope when you make a mistake, he laughs about it with you.
-Are you willing to live with the areas of his life that he falls short? Everyone has weaknesses and shortcomings. Your significant other will have them no matter what. It's important that you are willing to live with whatever his are.
-Now let him answer these questions about you.
These are obviously not romantic* like the other list, but that is real life.


*UPDATE: It looks like I need to clarify that I still believe in and enjoy the romantic aspects of a relationship. I guess I didn't originally feel the need to state that because you don't have to read this blog for very long to know that about me. I mean, Exhibit A. But I'm also a realist and a bit no nonsense and all of this stuff above means a whole lot to me as well.

39 comments:

  1. Amen! Thanks for writing this up. I've been married two years now and can now see how hard it is to maintain a healthy relationship in the 'real adult life'. it is a challenge and I love challenges. Thank you again, I will pass on this list to my close ladies. <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't love this post enough. So so good.

    littleladychang.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can I get an AAAAAMEN! perfectly said.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You missed the whole point. You have no idea who that girl is or what she's been through, or if she's even real at all. She doesn't want him to be a mind reader, she wants him to help her. If you read the whole thing you will have noticed that she dealt with and still deals with eating issues, so she isn't afraid to be honest, she's ashamed because she's ashamed of herself. Of course your list of questions are important, but so are the ones that "have no substance." Personally I want to be with someone that makes me laugh and will dance with me in the middle of his living room spontaneously. The real questions matter just as much as the romantic ones, and neither one deserves to be dissed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First of all, I definitely read the whole thing. Several times, actually. I'm not trying to diss you (if you actually are the original author, I have a hunch you're not) and I never said I knew anything about the girl. I dealt with an eating disorder in high school and it definitely weakened a lot of important relationships in my life because I couldn't be honest about it. Eating disorder or not, no one can help you with your struggles if you are saying one thing and expecting another. That was the main point I was trying to make. I agree that the romantic questions can be just as important but they are not the end all, be all. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  5. Amen and amen. I back you up Bri, and agree with you whole-heartedly. Romance is important but the questions you posed are real life and worth so much more in the long run. I have been married almost 7 years, and trust me, I've learned a thing or two. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm definitely the romantic type, not going to lie. but after a 3 years relationship (living together for over a year), I have to agree with you. and currently I'm trying to speak out instead of asking for things in my head and hope he'll do them. and he still surprises me from time to time. he's less stressed that I say what I want and I'm happy because I get it and viceversa. honesty is always the best policy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Excellent questions. I concur! I have a daughter about marrying age, and these are definitely the things I would want her to be certain of in her choice of husband. there is plenty of room for romance in the midst of a secure foundation.

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOVE THIS!!!!! great explanation. great backup. LOVE

    ReplyDelete
  9. yes. yes. yes. thank you. I am so tired of all of this tumblr-y, romanticized nonsense about what a relationship should be like and you really just hit the nail on the head. I'm romantic but I'm also very rational, and I think a lot of people forget that rationality is pretty important in relationships.
    Rebecca @ tr[i]b[e]cca

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agreeeeeeee! As much as I am a romantic, I am a realist too. I was always up front about my feelings with guys. I hated playing mind games, I always put myself out there, and made it aware I was into them. I liked being myself, and I wanted a guy to be super amazing, but after dating lots you realize all guys are different, none are perfect, and we are all just trying to do our best in this world.

    ReplyDelete
  11. thank you so much for this! i remember being a teenager and swooning over posts like the one on tumblr. how failed my relationships were because of this kind of mindset. we need to encourage our younger women to be strong and sensitive and to be individuals. i appreciate your wisdom!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is SO perfect. I didn't even realize that that letter was popular on tumblr, but seriously, if your relationship is based on those things it's not going to be a happy relationship. Your points are WAY better. Kudos for writing this!

    Kate

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love this. I think it's imperative that we make sure we respect ourselves enough to be pragmatic in our relationships. I think we might actually be the same person. i like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to be best friends already. I think about it all the time which is embarrassing but true.

      Delete
  14. I was the worst when I first got married, wanting my husband to know exactly what to do to comfort me and be a mind reader. I had to learn this the hard way. Thanks so much for sharing. It's so frustrating to read these kinds of things (I've seen a LOT like this on tumblr).
    Also, did you ever do one of those "my perfect husband lists" in YW or just for fun? It is the worst idea! And shouldn't be encouraged.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Also, I just made the mistake of looking at that tumblr user's home page. Porn galore. I think I'll read some scriptures....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah sorry about that. I should have written a disclaimer on the link. So gross.

      Delete
  16. Yeeesss -- exactly! Thanks a million for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I totally agree. The weirdest part for me is, that this 'letter' is written in a way that it was a word of advice from a mother to a daughter who might get married with her 'one'. But she doesn't even assess the realistic issues her 'daughter' should know before entering the world of marriage. You can't solve all of your problems by dancing together in the living room or find out whether or not he's ticklish. I know, it's supposed to be romantic but it just seems off in its context. Also, I think everything you said is just for a marriage, it's for all functional relationships.

    ReplyDelete
  18. See this is why i come back to your blog. You get and understand the need for women to be their own individuals. As a 17 year old who would have eaten that letter up two years back, I've grown to understand the importance behind your questions because of bloggers like you. Really, thanks a ton for that! -Aish xx

    Babbles to the World

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have never read something more perfectly written. Thank you for this. This is something I think every woman needs to read and understand because I see those types of post on Tumblr/Pinterest/Instagram all the time and I'm just like please... You've inspired me today my dear! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is so beautifully written and I agree 100%

    Pretty Lovely

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you!! I have too many friends who break up with their men because they don't feel the 'spark' is strong enough. These are men who love their women, who respect them and genuinely try so hard to please but they sadly get rejected because of their lack of 'spark' or their inability to meet the crazy expectations women keep setting for them.

    I've had people tell me that I settled when I met Stephen. That I could 'do better', but honestly how could I do better with a man that loves God more than me and that loves me more than himself. 4 years on, we are still madly in love and I know that 'someone better' doesn't exist.

    Priorities, priorities.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Even without reading the original post, this is something all women need to hear. Having the expectation of your boyfriend/future husband/husband always knowing what you're thinking or wanting is ridiculous. No one is a mind reader. Everyone needs to speak up in a relationship. The only person who knows what you want and need is yourself.

    Thank you for posting this :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes yes to that last sentence. So true.

      Delete
  23. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with humanity. the tumblr post also made me feel uncomfortable about the relationship it seemed to assume between women and food. It made me think of this awesome thing I saw once. http://www.upworthy.com/watch-a-student-totally-nail-something-about-women-that-ive-been-trying-to-articulate-for-37-years-6

    ReplyDelete
  24. GO Bri! I feel like there are a slew of girls and women in my life that could benefit from this. I'm almost terrified for the rising generation because they seem so tuned in to fantasy rather than focusing and preparing themselves for the beauty of reality.

    imma share this on FB :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is brilliant. And my ex-husband had none of the qualities you listed, mainly because he had all of the qualities of the stupid post you linked to.

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is one of my favorite posts I've read in a long time, not just from you, but in all the blogs I read. I love that you take a no-nonsense approach to this stuff, and I hope you have at least one daughter to pass on your wisdom to. It's these tiny compromises we make in the language we use with each other as women that add up to the way we value ourselves in relationships—romantic or not.

    Thanks for speaking up!

    ReplyDelete
  27. speaking from another perspective of someone who has had an eating disorder: if you have an eating disorder than you're not likely going to reach out to anyone for help because you usually feel embarrassed, unloved, or are in denial about it. when i did tell people about it they actually didn't take it as seriously as they should have because they didn't expect it of me and they didn't actually offer me any help, and instead it just hurt more. so i think it's judgmental of you to act as if your way of being straightforward about things is what everyone should do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never said that's what everyone should do. And just because a lot of people don't take it seriously doesn't mean that that is how it is with everyone. Also I'd very much appreciate if the direct link to my blog was taken down because I'm getting rude messages due to this and I find it rude that a link to my blog was posted and not just the paragraph I wrote.

      Delete
    2. That's totally fine. I'm sorry that you are getting rude messages. That was not my intent.

      Delete
    3. also as I stated in above comments, I have dealt with an eating disorder as well, and I was in no way addressing eating disorders in this post.

      Delete
  28. I really appreciated this post, Bri. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, because I think it's important. I also really enjoyed the questions you would ask your own future daughters, sisters, and friends. They got my brain ticking. So thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I literally have just been sitting reading your blog post to post. I have had you in my reader for some time but today \i was whisked away by you. I love your photography and this post MADE me comment. I was doing lots of head nodding and a little round of applause for you - I loved this. I love how my true love has all it's grown up ends tied up so we can do all the silly romantic off the cuff stuff. Because if you have all your t's crossed and i's dotted, then talking soppily about the morning sun falling on your sleep encrusted face is just perfect :)

    ReplyDelete