It’s been said that there are no perfect relationships.
However, sometimes it feels like we’ve found one when we have a good man in our corner.
“Good” and “man” are fluid terms in our society, so for clarity’s sake, we’ll say that “good” simply means when life is flowing in a balanced, whole, and manageable way. Good is when our senses are delighted with a healthy dose of spontaneous bliss.
To me, a man is someone who is born with a penis and identifies as cisgendered. So, the operational definition of a “good man” is a cisgendered male who, by virtue of his character, facilitates a sense of well-being in the lives of those who know him.
There are plenty of people out there saying, “All the good men are gone.” It’s as if a meteor hit the sector of planet Earth where good men were living and wiped them out in a mass extinction.
But, here’s the deal: Good men are not perfect men.
It would be nice if we found someone who was in tune with us all the time. If we could find the person who could repair all the ways our parents screwed us up. If we found someone who was financially, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually balanced.
But even Jesus got pissed off once in a while. My point is: Being with a good man doesn’t mean there won’t be conflict.
Rather, the real reward and power of being with a good man is the fact that he is imperfect, and he knows you are too. That doesn’t stop him from offering deep devotion. It fuels the relationship to become a constant exploration of how to bridge the gap between our differences.
The power of a good man is that in the face of all his fears coupled with our fears, he still chooses to be fearless. He chooses to, as Roosevelt said, “Dare greatly.”
I know all of this because after years of dating sub-par approximations of good men, I now have the privilege of entwining my life with a truly good man.
We say things to each other like, “I didn’t know love like this was possible.” But we also say things to each other like, “I can’t promise you forever.” We have conversations about our values that result in both of us crying—with the ugly desperation of a child watching her beloved pet die. Then, after time passes, we find ourselves doubled over in laughter.
The power of a good man is that he knows his woman better than she does—he can flow with her.
A good man can’t predict exactly how or when his woman will shift from bright and sunny to gale-force winds. But he begins to see the signs when the weather is about to change. It’s been said there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. It’s not that a good man is not affected by the weather—he can even be injured by projectile debris—but he suits up nonetheless and weathers the storm.
He sees rainbows where she can only see the raindrops.
We have this idea that men should be protectors and providers. There are men who naturally fulfill these roles and can thus be mistaken as good men. But the character of a good man is not in how well he protects and provides for others, but in how well he does this for himself.
For example, my man knows if he doesn’t communicate his needs, stand in his integrity, and guard his own heart, he can’t provide from a place of abundance. He knows his limits but is willing to push his edges—which means I get my buttons pushed as well.
The power of a good man is that he, despite instinct, doesn’t run away from his emotions. Therefore, he has the capacity to hold space for his partner’s emotions too. That said, even a good man without a partner creates positive change in the world, simply by being good.
So, what is life like with a good man in it?
It’s still life. There are tears. There is a whole lot of facing our fears. There are moments of pure bliss. There are moments of deep discomfort being witnessed. There are times I think, “It would be easier to just be single again.” But then I’d miss out on having such a good friend.
When there is doubt, when there are struggles, or when uncertainty colors the day, we are able to work together for the good.
That is powerful.
This is a truly good man.
Author: Rebekah McClaskey
Images: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Callie Rushton