No More Mr. Nice Guy
It is not “nice” to be so agreeable all the time that you disappear, leaving no one with the privilege of getting to know the real you.
(John & Linda Friel, The 7 Best Things Happy Couples Do)
Those who know me personally know that I’m not really big on “nice.” I don’t really strive to be “nice,” I don’t really trust people who are always “nice,” and one of my favorite parenting books is The Danger of Raising Nice Kids by Timothy Smith. Now, all this is not because I prefer the opposite of nice; I don’t ever want to come across as mean or cruel or cold (well, almost never). But I also don’t ever want to be seen as so sweet or pleasant or “agreeable” that I really have nothing substantive to offer. Especially in my marriage.
There is always a place for kindness, especially in disagreements. But some of us (especially here in the South) were taught to cement our true thoughts, opinions, and positions underneath a veneer of niceties, pleasantries, and manners. Thus hiding our truest selves, even from those closest to us.
Instead, I dare you to show the real you to your spouse. I dare you to risk rocking the boat by revealing more of what you actually think, believe, and want. By all means, do this calmly, but do it nonetheless. “No, I don’t really like that show anymore.” “You know, I would like to spend more time with you without the kids.” “I would like to know more about our finances.” “No, I don’t really like that outfit on you.”
Let go of nice. Take hold of you.