How to live a good love story: a top-eleven list for my daughters

  1. Avoid advice from middle-aged, unmarried men who have yet to live one successful love story.
  2. Be wary of the man who always refers to women as “girls.”
  3. Scoff at advice which falls back on worn out, degrading gender stereotypes.
  4. A man who “speaks truth” by calling out “girls” as “slutty” does not deserve your respect.
  5. Don’t be close friends with the women who applaud and enable misogynistic men.
  6. You are a person of equal worth before God. Period. Any man who does not recognize this, is not worthy of YOU.
  7. It is only the insecure and immature man who demands that you demonstrate why you’re worthy of his love.
  8. You do not exist as a secondary character to a man’s life story. And it’s OK to get angry about that when a man says you are.
  9. Your value is not bound up in your past, present or future mistakes. You are valuable because you are.
  10. You have the right to be with someone who treats you honorably.
  11. When a Christian man apologizes for making misogynistic public statements, you should forgive him. But never forget.
  • KatR

    Number Five, Number Five, Number Five!!!!!! I understand it on some level. It the “if everyone is busy calling someone else a slut, hopefully they won’t call ME one”. But seeing women applaud other women being demeaned and objectified makes my blood boil.

  • Sarah@EmergingMummy

    I came running over to make sure that comments are open because, darling, YES!

  • Hannah

    *cheering and clapping*

  • Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

    Indeed. And I’ll be printing and keeping this post for when my girlies are old enough because I want to make sure they know the truth of who they are! My favorite is #8. INDEED!

  • moonchild11

    Amazing. Thank you for saying this- point 11 was great. Heck, they all were. I just needed to hear point 11. It’s so hard to find a balance between forgiving and forgetting

  • Mandy Slater

    Oh so good. Love and agree with all of your points but #2!! I thought it was only me who was wondering why we are all “girls”. Well done.

  • Naomi’s mom

    Oh but the fundies won’t like this. He he he.

  • Maggie

    My husband and I have been discussing that post for two days straight. There’s some cheering from this corner of the internet as well!

  • Holly

    Heh. :) That’s right. :) Especially number 1. Seriously.

    You go, girl.

  • Leah

    Thank you for the much-needed reminder.

  • Steve D

    #12 Each relationship involves 2 unique individuals. Resist the temptation to believe that your marriage needs to look like someoneelse’s marriage. It doesn’t, you and your husband need to work out what your marriage will look like with love and respect.

    • elizabeth


    • Lori Ventola

      This is what I’ve been trying to articulate for days. Thank you.

  • Mama Bean

    I feel like I’m missing something – is this in response to something else posted in the blogsphere??? Even without fully knowing what’s going on here, I think these are great points! :)

    • elizabeth

      Yes, during the week I was in Bolivia, popular author Don Miller wrote two posts about living a good “love story” and they were full of disparaging and degrading remarks about women. The posts have since been deleted. But the damage, I think, has been done. I, for one, have always loved Don’s work and was deeply, deeply hurt by his post on women.

      • Mama Bean

        whoa… that is really… unexpected from him. yikes. okay, thanks for the update! :)

        • Lori Ventola

          He didn’t mean it. He just didn’t think. He wrote what he was thinking one day and didn’t think it through. See his blog for an apology for that. But yeah — not his best moment.

      • Mama Bean

        oh sigh. the internet is forever, i’m reading the cached posts, and now my amen to your list resounds even louder. but oh how i wish we didn’t need this to happen at all. one day, i pray, it won’t.

  • Alexandra

    This is great advice. I wish someone had taught me (not just told me) this when i was a teenager. Sigh.
    I wish I’d gotten to read those posts… they must have been quite something.

  • diana trautwein

    I have no clue how to find ‘cached’ posts and don’t think I want to, but without having read either of those posts to which you are responding, this lists stands alone, as is. It is great advice for anyone – male or female.

    Years and years ago there was a fundy single man, still living with his mother, who created a HUGE network of conferences/’schools’ on how women and men were ‘designed’ to relate to one another. I could not for the life of me figure out how he got to be SO influential about topics he had NO first hand experience with.

    I sense echoes (just slight ones) in the concern expressed over these blogposts. I did greatly appreciate the apology and the removal of the posts, but was surprised by the many who responded so positively to these posts, particularly because so many women on the web – ones I respect, like you and RHE and Emerging Mummy – found them hurtful and baffling. Sigh.

    Will we ever get this one right? I have lived this story for a long time now and am weary, weary, weary with it. I wrote about my professional experience with this tension here:

  • Kacie

    I guess I feel like… Rachel brought out a great mistaken underlying presupposition that was in Don’s post. I think that healthy discussion can be great in pushing to light those underlying presuppositions in a great many people.

    But I’ve been thinking about this post since you wrote it and tweeted it, because it seems really vindictive towards DM. Thing is, aren’t we ALL dealing with mistaken underlying presuppositions? Aren’t we all on a journey? Especially when he’s already taken his post down and is thinking about it all, I feel like he deserves more grace than attack right now, and this post really felt like an attack.

    People learn and change best when things are discussed and modeled than when they are yelled at.

    And really, I hope people DO forgive AND forget some of the things I’ve said in the past that I’ve truly walked away from. Isn’t that what we’re called to do?

    • elizabeth

      I think you’re mistaking my outrage as being vindictive. There’s a difference. We OUGHT to be outraged by flagrant injustice. Some of us write deeply insightful posts–ie. Rachel’s–and someone like myself writes a more emotional post. Furthermore, I grew up with this kind of teaching so it strikes particularly close to home for me–it strikes right into the very heart of my woundedness. And I’m not supposed to be upset about that? I’m not allowed to say OUCH! THAT HURTS! ?

      • Kacie

        Absolutely say ouch, that hurts, and absolutely when there’s injustice, call it out. I totally get that.

        But – give him a chance to respond. And he did. And he apologized. So why are we still berating him?

  • Gina

    If I might expand a bit on #5 — don’t listen when people say you’re “too picky” because you don’t take the first man who comes along, just so that you can get married. Have good standards, especially in regard to how you want to be treated, and look for a man who measures up to them. (Not that I’ve found mine yet, or that mine has found me — however you want to look at it :-) — but I’m not compromising!)

  • Tracey

    Amen. You articulated exactly what I have been wanting to say.

    As the mom of 6 daughters, (yes, six) four of which are teenagers-adult and 2 preschool, and a survivor of an abusive “Christian” husband, this is a list I will be printing off and refering to often.

    Is it okay if I copy and paste this to my own blog? With proper credit given, of course!

    • elizabeth

      Yes, feel free to copy and paste with credit! :) glad you liked it!