It is a truth universally acknowledged: there are two types of men that tend to show up in romantic books, movies, plays, TV shows and love songs: the bad boys and the nice guys.
As a lover of literature, I tend to be a fan of more complex characters, but, I’ll admit, most of the books that make us swoon and movies we watch most often during girls’ night usually choose to fit their leading-male characters into these tropes.
I would love to argue that we don’t fall for these types, but to an extent we do. We know humans are far more complex and complicated, but the movies we watch, the books we read, and that part of ourselves we find saying, “she has a thing for bad boys” reveals that this trope works on us.
It has an effect on our expectations and our understanding of what a good, lasting relationship is supposed to be like.
Now that we’ve admitted that maybe there is a bit of a problem, let’s ask why.
Let’s start with the bad boys: what is so fascinating about Danny Zuko and his leather jacket? Jack Dawson and that dangerous twinkle in his eye? Johnny Castle and his wild dance moves? These guys are wild, reckless, dangerous, and that’s what we like about them.We think, maybe if he’s wild—he’ll be wild about me, he’ll be reckless about me, dangerous about me, passionate for me, crazy for me. We think he’ll make us more adventurous and life will be fun and spontaneous.
As for the nice guys? The Linus Larabees that we hope finally get chosen over their charming brothers? The Corey Matthews with their boy-next-next-door sweetness? The shy male lead you find yourself rooting for since they’ve loved the heroine the whole time? These guys make us feel safe because they tell us there might be someone who is willing to wait for us, who would love us the whole time, and whose kindness we can count on. He is safe, so we would be safe with him. He loves us just for being us, we can trust him. He is thoughtful, so he would be thoughtful with us. He is a good friend, and sometimes all anyone wants is to spend their life with their best friend.
So, why are we desiring these two extremes so much? Because we are wired to by our Creator. We are designed to receive His love, which puts every bad boy and nice guy to shame—so, of course we would crave it.
God’s love is wild (Ps 103:11, Isaiah 43:4-5), reckless (Zeph 3:17), jealous (Det 4:24) (Mal 3:17), and He passionately pursues us (Psalm 23:6). He is the God who fights for you, who sent His only son to die for you, and is so crazy about you that it was hard to narrow down scriptures for this article about His love for you because there are just so many!
God’s love is also kind (Titus 3:4-6, Psalm 36:7), protective (Nahum 1:7), faithful (Deut 7:9), safe (Psalm 32:7), gentle (Psalm 4:8), and consistent like a best friend (Deut 31:8). God will always be waiting for you, He will never give up on you, and He loves you even when you don’t love Him back. You can trust Him.
God created us to be loved in both these ways, at the same time, actually. We don’t have to choose between passion or consistency, wild or safe; He gives us both. Maybe you’re not meant for marriage—but we are all meant to be loved intensely, so we crave this intense love.
Yet, we wind up looking to romance, and people, to fill this God-shaped hole inside ourselves.
People have relationship troubles because they’re so in love with this idea of the perfect romance that will fulfill their every desire and they think their “one” will be perfect and meet every trait on their list of what an ideal mate will have. That’s a lot of pressure to be placing on a relationship or a spouse. Your “Right Guy”? He’s just another vessel for God to love you, bless you, and care for you through.
You won’t find a perfect guy, because men aren’t perfect. You won’t have a perfect relationship, because neither of you are perfect. And no romance will satisfy your every desire— only God can do that.
I am married. I met and married the man God chose for me, and let me tell you, sister, I could never have dreamed him up, or written a list of his attributes on a list of Dream Guy Expectations (some of the attributes he has that make us so compatible—I didn’t even realize I needed in a spouse, until I got to know him!).
We’re married, and crazy about each other, but I still crave the fulfillment that can only come from God.
Meeting the right guy didn’t magically make me completely fulfilled and no longer ceases the longing for that perfect love (1 John 4:18). If anything, we need more of God’s love so we can love our men better, and our men need to be walking with God, so they can love us better, too.
Let’s take a look at an example in the Word: Ruth and Boaz’s story.
Ruth has been through heartbreak (Ruth 1:3-5), she’s in a brand new place (Ruth 1: 18-19), with a brand new set of unfortunate circumstances (Ruth 2:11-12). She probably isn’t expecting anything in the romance department (and let’s be honest, after what she’s been through, I doubt she’s in the mood for it).
But, Boaz shows up (Ruth 2). He wasn’t what she was expecting or planning for, but he is a source through which God provides for her and blesses her (Ruth 2:11-12), and he partners with her to take on her new circumstances (Ruth 2:8-9), to take on living in this new place—basically, he chooses life with her.
Ruth’s love story with Boaz isn’t a big show. He isn’t a wild and crazy guy who makes her stomach flip. This isn’t some Hallmark romance and he doesn’t wash away everything Ruth has been through. Boaz doesn’t fix everything but he does show up to help her write a new chapter in both of their lives.
You know who was wild and crazy about Ruth? God. His love was so all-consuming and fierce, that He took her crummy circumstances and made them into something good; He adored her so much that He put Boaz in her life, and used Boaz to protect her, keep her safe, and watch over her. God had been loving Ruth the whole time. Her love story with Boaz was proof of that.
Our love stories aren’t so simple as bad boys and nice guys, or “I fall in love and now I feel perfect and complete.”
Most of the time, you realize your love story, like Ruth and Boaz’s, is a love story between you and your God’s chosen man for you, but also you and God, too. Our relationship is another way for God to show His unconditional love for you. It’s God giving you a partner for life. That’s the real life stuff.
Sister, you don’t want a fairy-tale romance, or a movie romance, you want the real life stuff.
Because the real life stuff, the true design for romance and relationship, isn’t about “feelings.” It’s not about perfect romance. It’s not just fulfillment of desires or satisfying emotional cravings. It’s not finding your perfect type (bad boy or nice guy). It’s not a search for gratification.
It’s about partnership. Don’t worry, girl, there will be feelings, romance, and emotions too—but it’s not that whole point, those are just side-effects.
What God has for you isn’t a bad boy, a nice guy or a movie-plot. But, He’s got you covered when it comes to fulfillment, because who He has for you is an amazing partner to take on life with. A vessel through which to bless you.
Don’t settle for anything else, sister. You don’t want fantasy, you need real life.
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