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November 10, 2015

No More Mr. Nice Guy

shutterstock_75988162It 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.

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