How to Live a Great Love Story Vol II (For the Guys)
by Donald Miller
How to Live a Great Love Story Vol II (For the Guys)
Any great story contains the following elements:
• A person (or group of people)
• That wants something.
• And are willing to overcome conflict.
• To get it.
A great love story is no different. In a love story, a guy, wants a girl, and is willing to fight the dragon, to get her. Or at least some variation on this theme.
If you’re like me, though, you don’t like to sit and watch romantic movies. If it’s a comedy, I can bear it, but I’m the guy who fast-forwards romantic dialogue they throw in to endear a female audience. I could care less.
That said, though, men were designed by God to live a great love story.
But there’s a difference between men and women, here. Men were not designed to have love stories “happen to them” as much as they were designed to “make a love story happen to a woman.” Do you understand. You’re the writer of the story. You’re the guy who initiates and has the character to follow through. You’re the one responsible for how the love story turns out.
I think we can all agree we live in a culture of guys who couldn’t write a love story to save their lives. Honestly, American love stories suck. If you want a girl to be crazy about you, you’ve got so little competition that it’s easier than ever.
The only thing is, it looks nothing like the sappy stuff Hollywood is selling to our current culture of women who are, perhaps, lost in fantasy. Those kinds of stories have men stuttering about feeding women’s egos by falling all over themselves and practically peeing their pants. In real life, women think those guys are losers. A woman wants a man who is confident, who knows where he is going, and knows exactly where she fits into his life. Her preference, of course, is that she fits into his life as a best friend, lover, wife, and the mother of their children. At lest that’s the case in the love stories I want to talk about in this blog.
Women do like bad guys for a period of time. Usually, this lasts between the ages of 18 to about 24.The reason is simple. Their bodies are looking for somebody who is strong enough to defend their offspring, and they mistake strength for, well, the general characteristics of a jerk.
But, as she gets a little older, a woman’s chemistry begins to change and she enters into a more mature understanding of strength. As a woman matures, she literally loses interest in the bad guys and looks for somebody more dependable. She loses interest in guys who can’t be faithful and, well, can’t seem to stop smoking pot. After that, women become interested in stable, well adjusted men headed somewhere that involves safety, security and emotional stability. That’s where you come in because the real love stories, the ones that don’t end with her bailing her loser boyfriend out of jail, or worse, catching him with another woman, happen when two healthy people finally find each other. If you’re reading this and you’re young, you might have to put up with a few years of girls chasing guys with tattoos on motorcycles, but don’t worry about that. You start down a solid career path and girls will be knocking down your door in a few years. I promise.
Most people think love stories only benefit women. But don’t be fooled. There’s a lot in this for you. A man can have sex with a thousand women and he’ll never feel as masculine as he will be leading a woman through a good love story. God designed it so a man felt his most powerful while guiding a woman through an amazing love story.
Love stories, though, are told through sacrifice, patience and pain. It may take you five years or more to get your act together, but when you do, every woman around you will recognize a potential leading man in the love story they are dreaming about.
Here are some things to work on to lead a woman through a great love story.
Want something. Every story involves a person who wants something, and you’re love story can’t be any different. First of all, you should want some kind of career or impact. You should want make the world a better place and you should be very focused and dedicated to making this happen. This means going to college, starting a company, coaching a team or teaching a class. If you want to make a woman’s dreams come true, pick up your X-box and throw it in the trash and start doing something with your life. Have you ever noticed that ancient paintings of women always have them draped over a bed or a couch, arms outstretched in rest? And yet the guys are yielding a sword or riding a horse or captaining a ship. That’s because men were designed to work. Want something. Work hard to become good at a craft. Get off your couch and move. My friend Henry Cloud actually recommends that when a father is approached by a young man asking for is daughters hand in marriage, he withholds his blessing until the man presents his last few years worth of tax records. No kidding, it’s true. It’s not because Henry believes the man should make a lot of money, it’s because the young man should be responsible enough to file taxes and have a job. How else is he going to provide for a family. All that to say, part of being a leading man in a love story is being a dependable, action-oriented worker.
Choose the right women to date. The book of Proverbs was primarily written to men, and while there is a great deal of advice in the book about work ethic and finances, a significant percentage of the book is spent warning men to stay away from certain women. Is she seductive? Stay away. Is she nagging? Stay away. Is she sexually promiscuous? Stay away. In my dating history, I’ve dated some amazing women. But on two occasions, I dated girls who were pretty seductive in nature, and I paid dearly. I lost sleep and nearly lost my sanity. I’ll never forget taking a flight to Vancouver BC one night, reading through the book of Proverbs and realizing what the source of my problems was, I was dating a girl the book told me not to date. I broke up with her immediately and sanity returned.
Now this does not mean you shouldn’t date a girl with a past. One of my all-time favorite girlfriends, a girl I consider amazing and will make a terrific wife to somebody some day, actually spent years living with a guy and has a fairly liberal standard regarding sexuality. That said, though, she’s not seductive, and she’s completely honest about her philosophy. In other words, we may not agree about everything regarding sex, but the woman has integrity. I’d take a non-christian woman with integrity over a Christian seductress any day, and I’d be a happier man for making that decision. You want a woman who is looking for a man, not a woman who is looking for men. Seriously, guys, just stay away from the woman who leads with her seductive side.
Have a plan. Did you know John Wooden, who won 10 National Championships with UCLA actually never won the championships the first 16 years he coached? It’s true. It wasn’t until he sat down one off season and created a plan that he began to succeed, and he’s of the most successful coaches in all of sports. My question to you, then, is do you have a plan? Do you know what kind of father you want to be? Do you know what kind of wife will be required to make your vision come true? If you don’t have a plan, you’re leaving your success up to luck.
Be honorable with the women you date. I made a rule a long time ago and it’s served me well. I told myself I’d never kiss a girl unless I cared deeply about her. For the most part, if not completely, I’ve never kissed a girl I wasn’t dating. Though looking back I think there were a few in there that weren’t quite defined. That said, though, I’ve never used a girl just for sex or just to hook up. I am so grateful for this, because I don’t want my conscious entangled in all that mess. While there are a few girls I’ve dated who may not like me, I think most of them think I’m pretty okay. At least that’s what they’ve told me. So here’s the thing. You can either wreck a girls heart, or build it up. You can either help her understand that she’s beautiful by protecting her heart and her body, or teach her she’s just a girl worth using for sex. To be sure, there are plenty of girls who actually just want to be used for sex, but remember, Proverbs says stay away from these women. Seriously, I’ve taken the bait a couple times and it’s a living nightmare.
Stop validating yourself with women. This is a pretty serious problem for many men, especially men who grew up with womanizing fathers or no fathers at all. Men who do not believe they have what it takes to live life well and with strength will validate themselves with women. They just aren’t sure they’re manly, so they have to test themselves all the time by trying to knock down girl after girl. Even if it’s not sexual, it can be emotional. A guy can get hooked on that feeling of having a girl like him. If you are going to tell a great love story, you are going to have to figure out how to let go of this tendency. Stop validating yourself with women. Stay focused on the one girl you’ve chosen and make it happen with her and her alone.
Stop having sex and learn to make love. I’m amazed at how many women hook up with guys and talk about how terrible the sex was. Seriously, I hear them talk about this all the time. But why? Why would a man who has slept with hundreds of women not be very good in bed? Well, the main reason is a woman wants to connect in ways beyond just a physical connection. Most “players” have no idea how to make love to a woman, precisely because they don’t even care about the woman they are sleeping with on a given night. They are so busy trying to get laid, they take no time to actually find out who she is. Essentially, sex to them is just mutual masturbation. It usually leaves the woman feeling dissatisfied and, well, disgusted and if she’s honest, a little used.
I mean sure she wanted to have sex, but she may have wanted something else, too. A woman often wants a deep, soul connection. Even though she hooked up with a stranger, she was just going through the motions of something else she really wants. She wants words of affirmation and eye contact and playful fun that only happens in intimacy. Why was the sex no good in the hook up? Because the relationship was no good.
That said, start being a man who knows how to connect with women. I’m not suggesting becoming a player. I really think you should only be connecting with a woman who is worthy of becoming your wife. But when she is your wife, make love to her heart, not just her body. As ferociously as possible, find that woman’s heart and connect with it. Learn everything about her and connect with her in as many ways as possible. Understand her story and care about her past. In fact, for the first several months, I wouldn’t even try to make a move. Just get to know her, become her friend, do things with her that she enjoys, take the relationship to the place where you smile when you hear her name. Once you get there, the sex will be great. Once you have earned the respect only a husband deserves, her body will respond in ways she never thought humanly possible, and, for that matter, so will yours.
Bring peace into chaos: I firmly believe that the job of a man is to bring peace into chaos. A man (and a woman too for that matter) can look into an empty field and see a house. He can look into a woman’s lonely heart and see how easily it could be loved. He can walk into a room and settle a group of wild children. Look at your life and ask yourself this question: Wherever I go, do I leave a trail of peace behind me? If not, then start practicing the art of ordering chaos right now. Is there chaos in your personal life? Clean it up. Is there chaos in your relationships? Clean them up. A man brings peace and order into chaos. You have what it takes to do this, I believe it firmly. You were designed to leave a wake of peace everywhere you go.
Surround yourself with good men. Years ago I asked about five guys who didn’t know each other to meet me for breakfast. I hand chose these guys. Each of them were intelligent, driven, successful and emotionally stable. We got together early one morning and I introduced them to each other. Then I did something very strange. I told them we all needed to be friends. I told them the world was in need of good leaders, and good leaders only become good leaders if they affect each other. As odd as it was, that group continued to meet for two years, and now we are all deeply imbedded in each others lives.
Lose your loser friends. This brings me to something hard. If you have some friends who are dragging you down, that is they are knocking down chicks and not applying themselves to a career, it’s time for you to invite them into something better, and then if they don’t want to come, cut them completely out of your life. I’m sorry to say it so bluntly, but it’s time for them to go.
Develop strength. A woman loves a man who can be tender with her, but believe me, while you’re holding her in your arms and she’s being comforted about her hard day, you’d better have a baseball bat behind your back, ready to obliterate anybody who tries to hurt her. Be tender to her, but be absolutely ferocious with anybody who takes advantage of her. If you aren’t a strong man, practice. Take stands, don’t be a pushover, protect the ones you love, and be willing to make a few enemies.
Okay, so what does this have to do with telling a good love story. Well, it has everything to do with telling a good love story. Women don’t just fall in love with flowers and chocolate. All that crap is fine. But what they fall in love with is dependability, strength, kindness, community, structure, strength and character. Being the leading man in a love story is, basically, about being just that, a man that leads. Be a good man, a man with character. Have a vision, lead the story, and be the man she’s been dreaming about.