Your parents can be your first line of defense when in comes to separating the boys from men.
Watching this week's episode of "The Bachelor" (the show is my one guilty pleasure ... I love the exotic locals and watching the fun thrill of first dates), I felt sad for Kacie B. when The Bachelor's Ben Flajnik sent her home. She seemed devastated and confused.
"What the #*?! just happened?!" she repeatedly exclaimed.
"You were saved from making one big mistake", I would tell her if I had the chance. "And I would give your parents a huge hug for saving you. You're lucky to have them care so much about you."
I realize my view is largely an unpopular one.
Ben seems to be a nice man just looking for a good relationship. He doesn't seem to want to harm anyone.
Kacie's parents, on the other hand, can be perceived as living in the past, answering to a moral code that belongs in the dark ages.
However, in Ben I see more than just kindness. I also see a man who is typical of a large group of men (but, thankfully, not all men) who are in the dating marketplace today.
Let me explain.
During the hometown date, when Ben had a one-on-one talk with Kacie's mother, Kacie's mom told Ben that if he picked her daughter, she would "have a serious problem" if he asked Kacie to uproot her life, move away from her friends and family, merely to move in with Ben. She stated that this was a concern for her because, as in so many "The Bachelor" season's past, it had only ended up in heartache and break-ups. She felt that in moving in together, the commitment level was not high enough to warrant the high risk for heartache that would be placed on her daughter.
Ben reassured her, "I do have traditional values."
Ben, in his response, was unveiling one of his flaws: he was lacking in courage and integrity. He was not able to express nor stand up for his belief system in the face of adversity (in this case, Kacie's parents). In his belief system, he feels that a couple should live together before marriage in order to get to know one another. But he did not have the courage to say so in a caring and respectful manner to either of Kacie's parents.
Later on in the show, Ben, in talking with the host of the show, Chris Harrison, did not stick with his assertion that "I do have traditional values." Instead, finally, he stated what he truly believed. He did not emphasize an understanding of this mother's concern for her daughter (remember, Ben, a mother's instincts -- in fact, her job -- is to be protective of her child's well-being). Rather, in referring to Kacie's mother's statement, he spoke with a petulant, childish rebellion, "Compromise. If that is the road I am going to take [being with Kacie], their will be compromise." Viewers can safely assume he is implying that all the compromise would be on the mother's part.
Ben didn't fair any better in talking to Kacie's father prior to speaking with her mother.
In response to Kacie's dad's assertions that, "Marriage is something that's very, very, very serious. Don't rush into anything," Ben claims, "I had a nice chat with Kasie's dad, but the more I kinda think about it, I'm not sure if he, he likes me or if I'm the son-in-law he had in mind for his daughter. I hope that Kacie's mom will be a little bit easier on me." (Obviously, as we have already seen, she wasn't.)
It also unsettles me that Ben focussed on having it easy when meeting his prospective in-laws. A mature man would approach the situation differently, realizing Kacie's parents were doing what any loving parent should do for their daughter ... being wary of his worthiness.
Parents should never make it easy for any boyfriend when he is asking to be accepted by them. It behooves them to be polite to anyone she brings home. They should also trust their daughter's decisions and allow her to make her own adult choices when it comes to who she wants to date.
However, it is also their job to help make sure their daughter is treated properly and not be taken advantage of by a man who may not have her best interest at heart. If they aren't a bit cautious, a touch skeptical if they see reason to be so, then they are doing her a major disservice: they are allowing every man to have their approval, giving their daughter a false sense of security in the man she is dating.
In making their daughter's date answer some questions and jump through a few hoops (metaphorically speaking, of course), they are weeding out the unworthy men and making it easier for their daughter to find Mr. Right, not Mr. Right Now.
Parents have to take on this role because they are often the only ones in a daughter's life that care so much about her that they would actually lay down their life for her. It's a rare and all-encompassing love that cannot be dismissed. Nor should it be derided as old-fashioned or unwelcoming.
If you have parents who make your boyfriend shake in his boots a smidgen; or if you see a drop of sweat break out on his brow when he meets your father for the first time, don't be upset at them. Be grateful your parents care about you enough to help you separate the boys from the men.
After all, it's a man you want to end up with in the end, isn't it?
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