I decided something. I am incredibly fortunate to have lots of good examples of men in my life- not just good examples of men, but examples of good men in good relationships. There's my dad, to start, and my big brother Matt, both of whose marriages I admire a lot. This past month I saw again what a great guy my brother-in-law is, too. He gets up early for work and makes breakfast for his family, even though most mornings he's gone before they get up for the day. He's super supportive of my sister and is very involved in his sons' lives. He's a great father and husband, and a great example to me of what kind of man I want to marry.
I've discussed this topic quite a bit with Mel, and it's interesting how much our individual opinions of men and marriage have been shaped by our different life experiences. Mel has had essentially no good examples of manhood in her life, including men she's related to as well as men she's dated. She is quite happy being single and claims to be happier single than she ever has been in any relationship. Consequently, she is not looking to do any dating, let alone think about getting married, in the near future. She's had such poor experiences that she jokingly refers to herself as a man-hater. She's a great roommate and a good friend, but I have a hard time talking to her about boys, because any time a guy does anything foolish or that causes me heartache, she's inclined to chalk it straight up to the fact that men are all flawed by nature and you really shouldn't expect more than that. She readily acknowledges that there are some good men out there, but she just hasn't seen enough of them up close and personal to have real faith in them.
I can't tell you how fortunate I feel that this has not been my experience. I've definitely been agitated, frustrated, saddened, and heartbroken by men, but I've never been abused in any way, be it physical or emotional, and I've been so blessed to be related to a great set of men as well as very blessed to have, especially in the last few years, some male friends whose friendships make me feel very fulfilled, a couple romantic, mostly platonic. I'm not sure how many of them read my blog, but you know who you are- and thanks for adding so much richness to my life. I have all kinds of fascinating conversations with my guy friends, and I often find it surprisingly easy to be very open with them. Of course, I would be thrilled to have a guy friend who could become my best friend to the point that we'd want to spend the rest of our lives together, but I'm pretty sure that will happen with time. In the meanwhile, oh, am I so grateful for all the good men I know who have done so much to keep my positive and optimistic viewpoints about men and marriage alive and well. Thanks, friends!