As many of you stated in the comments last month, most of us read books to escape from our normal lives for a little while. I assume you love to read romance, or you wouldn’t be here. (I’m so glad you are.)
We like our heroes strong, handsome, and sometimes just a little bit bad, but they have to be kind, caring, and loving. Our heroines fall for our alpha males without hardly needing to think about it at times. These men exhibit huge amounts of good character, make passable decisions, and if the choices they make turn out badly, then they don’t hesitate to apologize. They treat women with respect and do everything in their power to protect them.
And we love them for it.
But do we make it impossible for the REAL men in our lives to live up to the standards set by our faux heroes?
I, for one, have fallen prey to such expectations for the good man in my life. But he’s hero material just the same. Tall, dark, and handsome. ;) He loves God, me, and our children. He provides, protects, and he even fixes dinner at least once a week. He doesn’t leave his dirty clothes all over, nor does he leave the cap off the toothpaste. :D
Truthfully, many of my heroes are based off my husband. He’s definitely an alpha male. Type A personality. Leader. He can walk into a room, and people notice, even if he says nothing. Some of that comes from his size (6’4″ and not skinny(anymore LOL) — I’ll be nice and not share his actual weight), but some of it is because of how he carries himself.
The problem lies in that he is not perfect. He does make mistakes. On the personality spectrum, him and I are almost total opposites. And sometimes, that leads to misunderstandings. I don’t think like he does. And he doesn’t think like me.
When I’m reading, I sometimes think to myself, “Why don’t they just sit down and talk about it?” But sadly, that doesn’t always work. Sometimes the hurt goes too deep, even if what the other person meant was not how it sounded.
I can’t be the only person who’s been there.
And yet, sitting down and talking about it is the only way to rectify the situation, to turn the misunderstanding into understanding.
One of the rules of writing reminds us that if the characters can sit and discuss the conflict and resolve it quickly, then it’s not a real conflict; it’s a misunderstanding, and the book can’t ride on it for too long. And yet, how long can a misunderstanding last in your house?
A certain misunderstanding lasted for SEVERAL YEARS in my house, because I was too hurt to ask about something I’d read in a notebook he kept (by accident, I wasn’t snooping). And he didn’t even know how hurt I was. Sad, but true. When we finally talked about it, he informed me that the hurtful words I’d read weren’t even about me. They were about the wife of a friend he was counseling at the time. But my hurt kept me from talking about it and ultimately, kept me from loving my husband the way I should have.
In the end, I have to remind myself that the men in the books I read are not real. They are figments of the imagination of the writer. They may seem perfect, but NO ONE can live up to those expectations. And I am thankful that my husband isn’t perfect; otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to put up with me. :D
I’m also glad he doesn’t read much, because I wouldn’t be able to live up to the standard of some of the heroines I read or write about either.
So now a question. What traits of your husband do you admire the most? And if you’re not married, what do you look for in a prospective mate? (We’re all going to assume his relationship with God is at the top of the list, so after that, please.)