Relationships: Telling vs. Being

UPDATE March 18, 2017 — Another facet of the below offers itself up to me. One thing we as men must also do is acknowledge the possibility that it is she, not ourselves, who has the right of things. We may indeed not be the ‘right’ man. If we are attracted to her as a person, it must be in part a deep respect for her judgement and intellect. All the more reason it seems therefore to not be telling, but instead work towards being.

“A man cannot convince a woman that he is the right man, he must instead simply be the right man and give her the opportunity to convince herself.”

A growing conviction has been on my heart as of late at the close of what looked, to myself, like the fertile ground for a deep relationship. I hope to carry that conviction forward into the future.

We men try very hard to be at our best and to show women the best truth of ourselves. There is nothing wrong with this as long as it’s honest; however, if honest, need we to make such effort? It is difficult to separate our anxious desire for her to love and value us from our desire for her know us on the deepest level and judge for herself.

I think we essentially argue with her cautions and fears and wisdom to see a truth we believe, but which she does not yet believe she has sufficient cause to credit. Not aloud do we argue. We try to anticipate objections and fears and present ourselves as the experiential counterargument. If consciously done and to bad purpose, this may be regarded as an attempt to manipulate. Nothing of value or strength may be built atop a foundation of manipulation.

If any of what we do is different than what we normally do in the course of our daily lives, then it is likely unwise. We present to her the man we desire to be, not the true man on which she may depend.

When, in the normal course, it becomes evident that she has come to opposite conclusion, we may, in desperation or fear, try to move the argument into speech, at which point any potential for the future is likely quashed.

One may convince another through argument or even deliberate demonstration, but that conviction will not stand when, inevitably, we fail to to entirely be the best of ourselves. This breeds only feelings of betrayal, anger, and disgust towards the one who pushed the other to come ’round to their own way of thinking.

Instead a woman must see things her way and in her own timing, without feeling pressured or manipulated. Any conclusions she draws must be her own based on her own observation and experience. That conviction then may stand when small challenges present themselves.

She must see us at the times we are not prepared for her to see us. She must see us when we are struggling without having awareness that she is watching, to overcome our sinful selves in a sinful world. This means acting natural both when she is and when she is not around.

Therefore, we as men need to just be the right man, not just for her, but for God, for ourselves and for always. She may reach her own conclusions that she likes and appreciates what she sees, and so might desire deeper relationship with us; commitment shared between the two of us. She may not. If she does not, nothing else we may do may bring her to these strong convictions no matter how convicted we ourselves are.

From that seed is the true potential that only seemed present in the fertile ground.


This article needs a complete rewrite.


“Why, bless me, if I haven’t gone and left out the whole point,” said the Chief Voice. “That you have, that you have,” roared the Other Voices with great enthusiasm. “No one couldn’t have left it out cleaner and better. Keep it up, Chief, keep it up.”
Someone I trust to read evaluate and critique my writing told me that they thought my message was, “Be yourself so she knows what she’s getting into.” and then after I tried to clarify, “It makes sense… A real, informed choice is better, long run. Like Jesus said about counting the cost.”

In rereading I can see that I really did seem to be making that idea the focus.

I am reminded of the Chief of the Duffers and his supportive chorus of underlings in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

My attempts to explain that the focal point of the article was supposed to be the Telling vs. Being, not the what you are or are not telling or being were not enough to override that original impression.

I tried to use an analogy, but even that was unsuccessful, so it seems a rewrite is in order. That analogy follows.

I’m a fan of Subaru and Toyota cars, so I used one as the focus. I said something along these lines:

Imagine that you’ve gone to a car dealership having researched vehicles, reviews, ratings, cost of ownership/maintenance figures, and awards. You have a very clear idea that you want a Subaru Forester 2008 Gen 2.5 X L.L. Bean edition, and you know which two of the nine available paint/interior options would thrill you.

At the lot you are met by a salesman who half-listens to what you say you’re looking for and then asks to show you a newer and more expensive Honda CRV.

You explain that you like the CRV, but you’ve done your research and thought about it and you want the Forester.

Instead of changing his tack, he instead tells you what is wrong with your choice and why the CRV, even though a goodly bit more than you had budgeted is a better choice. He too cites awards and reviews and ratings, and little facts about both vehicles that make you vaguely suspicious and untrusting, wondering if he’s being straight with you. You’ve been lied to in the past, cheated and are determined not to be led astray again or drop your well constructed and needed guards.

He’s persistent and first leaves you confused and then thinking that maybe your research failed to make you aware of the problems inherent with a Forester and indeed all Subaru vehicles. Maybe you hadn’t really given Honda a fair viewing. Eventually, against your better judgement and in spite of your safeguards, you let him talk you into the Honda and you purchase it.

You start from the lot with some confidence, but soon your decision does not sit right with you, especially because you ended up having to make loan payments much greater than you had budgeted for.

Immediately you start noticing little annoyances… little things that are different than what you had fallen in love with in the Forester. Things that are missing or that don’t work the same. The ride isn’t what you were anticipating experiencing in the advanced AWD vehicle. You quickly grow disenchanted. You begin to have a mild dread at looking at the vehicle, getting in, starting it up. Some of the things you wanted the Forester for are just not possible in the CRV.

Finances are tight, and always looking up at you from your budget is that larger than planned for loan payment which is making the budget tight.

Inevitably something breaks down, or there is a recall. You think to yourself, “The Subaru is much more reliable, and their repair shop is so much better to deal with after the sale than the Honda shop has shown itself to be. Even if a break-down is a reasonable expectation, you hold it against Honda as evidence that their entire brand is rubbish. Not like a Subaru.

You get to the point that you can’t wait until you’ve paid down the loan and can sell it and get your deposit and some of the payments back and buy a vehicle you do like. Looking at your budget, you realize that you’re going to have to keep irritating driving this vehicle for a long long while yet. In researching market values you see that your CRV has held none of its value so you’re upside down and won’t get enough from selling it to even make the large down-payment you like to make when purchasing a vehicle.

You try to remind yourself that it was your decision and so you make the best of it, but you resent having to do so. You’ll “never be going back to that dealership again, and that’s for certain!” You’re a good steward and believe that you have to accept the consequences for your bad choices and can’t just dump the car and get another. You can’t help but badmouth Honda even though you know deep down that they’re actually pretty good cars.

Now imagine the opposite. Your salesperson listens and doesn’t have that vehicle but makes some calls and finds one they can get in soon. He affirms your choice and commends your research and good thinking. It takes a few days longer, but you end up driving off the lot with no misgivings about the planned-for very little bit you had to finance.

Immediately you keep falling more deeply in love with the features, design, amenities and performance that have met or exceeded your most hopeful expectations. When things inevitably need repair, you take it in course and view the cost and the service you receive with a lot more accepting and forgiving attitude. You tell others about your ‘baby’ and how great Subaru vehicles are and that they should consider becoming a Suba-nut like yourself.

You enjoy driving the thing. All the needs you expected to have have are met and the ones you wanted but weren’t possible with the Forester, well, you knew that going in and you had made the decision that it was still the vehicle for you.

When you eventually drive it into the ground, long past when it was still as comfortable and still met your needs. You love that car. You almost want to bury it in the back 40 and keep the hood ornament emblem on your keychain instead of selling it for scrap.

The above analogy breaks down somewhat. Marriages aren’t to be sold and traded like cars. We don’t get to trade-in when things are difficult or less than we had hoped for down the line. We as men need to quit trying to be car salesmen.

I don’t know that it clarifies the thing. The idea here is that even if the salesperson was honest and didn’t misrepresent things, the choice to buy the CRV is one you were talked into, not one you’d really have come to on your own in the absence of high-pressure outside influence. You feel that if the CRV was just ‘being’ all those things, you might have chosen it yourself instead of being pressured by someone who was ‘telling’ you to trust his conclusions and to make a decision you were not happy with.

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