There are a couple of questions that come up often around here. The first is from guys: “What exactly is a woman looking for in a guy? And do ‘nice guys’ always finish last when it comes to getting a date?” The second: “As a woman, will being strong and successful scare away guys?” Donald Miller recently reran a couple of posts on his blog that address both questions.
In “What Women Really Need From Men,” he addresses the guys, clarifying the difference between a “nice guy” and a man of strength:
The truth is, you should already have a full life you are invested in, and you should invite them into that life. My friend John Eldredge says you should be on an adventure, and you should invite them into that adventure. A girl doesn’t really want you to stare into her eyes like a lovesick puppy (at least not for long); she wants you to put your arms around her and stare into the horizon, to the place you are going together. So before focusing on the girl, go find an adventure, a calling, something you can do and get good at, something that makes money to provide for kids. The girl will come along pretty easily after that.
In “What Men Really Need From Women,” Miller turns his attention to the ladies, giving his take on strong women.
If a girl wants a great guy, she has to stop feeling sorry for herself. She has to do something different to attract somebody different. If you are strong and choosy, if you have a vision for your life, he will sense in you somebody to partner with so the two of you can help others (or raise a family.) That’s what a good guy is looking for. I’m not saying you can’t cry on his shoulder every once in a while-guys love being strong for a woman-I’m just saying if you have the characteristics of a wounded animal, you are going to attract somebody who eats wounded animals.
It’s important to note that a strong, confident woman is what a guy needs, but it’s not always what a guy wants. Guys who are weak themselves may feel secure with a weak woman, but girls, this is not the guy for you. Strength attracts strength. Feminine strength is incredibly attractive.
I think Miller articulated some things I, and others, have been thinking for a long time. In my experience, Christian women don’t want a bad boy, but they do want a man who is on an adventure and is willing to take risks. And though secure women may get fewer date offers, they are setting themselves up to attract the right kind of man in the long run. Sometimes things we consider to be problems — such as being a “nice guy” or being a “strong woman” — may actually be assets in the journey to healthy lifelong marriage relationships.