Nice Guys and Nice Girls have been speaking up a great deal lately, both in the comments on these posts and in emails I’ve received over the past couple of weeks. Apparently, this discussion is hitting close to home.
While you may not be a full blown Nice Guy or Nice Girl, I’ll bet you have some of their traits.
If so, are they getting in the way in your marriage?
Here’s why being a Nice Guy or a Nice Girl looks so appealing at first.
It meets your need for acceptance and love.
Look at it this way. Of course someone is going to like you when you’re nice and good. When you do nice things for them and show them you care and love them in your actions and words. It’s common sense. If you’re a “pleaser” then people will initially love it.
The problem surfaces in the long haul of your relationship.
At our core there are two fundamental life forces or drives. The drive for togetherness and the drive for separateness.
Every human has a desire to connect with another person. To have conversations, touch, sex, love, etc. that can only be found in relationships.
At the same time, every human has a desire to be in control of their own destiny and identity. To map out their own course in life and be their own person.
The major pitfall of the Nice Guy and the Nice Girl is found in the sacrifice of their separateness in order to hopefully receive love and acceptance from their spouse. The longer this goes on, the less there is of the Nice Guy/Girl and the more they are consumed and defined by their relationship.
There’s another issue with being too close, the loss of separateness will lead to a decrease in passion and eroticism in the relationship, because passion and eroticism can only exist in the space between you.
The loss of passion and eroticism is not what any of us expect going into marriage. I didn’t.
Perhaps that’s why you’re a regular reader of Simple Marriage. Or you’ve sought out therapy or every self-help book you can get your hands on. You want to grow up and live more from the deep part of your being. To live with passion and energy.
I constantly hear people in my counseling office say “I don’t know who I am anymore” or “I don’t know what it means to be a man/woman.” This syndrome is rampant in our society. I believe this is why reality television has taken off in the past decade – people would rather watch life than get off the couch and live it!
The number one question I’ve heard in our Nice People discussion thus far is “Okay, I’ve read a couple of the books you’ve referred to – now what?”
There’s not an easy answer to this question – and Nice People will often look for the easy answers to life’s tough questions.
Breaking free of Nice People Syndrome and moving into an adults only marriage is best done in community with others. Honestly, if this were easy to do on your own, you’d probably be doing it already.
Speak up to your good friends about this. Go on this journey together.
Point is, when you go at it with others, you’re more likely to succeed.