The chick flicks always seem to show the most desirable men as the captivating men whose smiles make women “weak in the knees.” These are the ones who appear attuned to just what women want and need. The implication is that if you are looking for the man of your dreams, the knight in shining armor that every woman should seek to find, the n you want the kind of man who can charm the white off of sugar. They seem to be able to read women’s minds, and they are especially good at knowing just the right words for each situation, convincing women that they are their very soul mates.
These scenarios make for great movies that brings tears to our eyes and good feelings into our souls, leaving us wanting exactly what we saw in the movie. But, sometimes what looks good to you is not good for you. What looks like love is as far from the true meaning of the word that anyone can get. Here is my story. I hope it helps you.
I remember so well when I met my ex-husband. I was walking in the McDonald’s to get lunch. As I passed him, he said, “Hello, Duchess!” I was immediately taken aback at such a greeting, for it seemed that he was saying that I was beautiful. Admittedly, I may have read more into the greeting than was meant, especially because I was so lonely and hoping that one day soon, I would find true love.
He had the most beautiful smile, and when I responded favorably to the greeting, he asked my name, and when I said Regina, he remarked on what a beautiful name that was. Eventually, we went to the park across the street to sit and talk on a bench. was captivated by his manners and his concern for my comfort. He was the epitome of suave, debonair, and gentlemanly, qualities that I had never experienced before.
When he asked for my number, I did not hesitate to give it to him, believing that here was a real man, one who knew how to treat a woman. He brought me flowers and opened doors and always seemed to know my moods and how to alleviate any stress I felt. I just knew he was a gift from God in Heaven, and because I had been in two previously violent relationships, it was wonderful to meet someone who seemed not to get angry quickly; instead, he seemed very level-headed and not easily provoked, two qualities that a survivor of violence is hoping to find in a man.
The only “fly in the ointment” was the tremendous dislike that my spiritual mentor, a woman who was teaching me to allow God more say in my decision-making processes, took from the first moment she met him. She was convinced that he was not the man for me, but, I disagreed. To retain our friendship, she eventually backed off and let me make my own decisions about him.
I had met his family, all very kind people, and I had seen the way that he treated his mother and sisters, so I could not reconcile my mentor’s picture of him with what I saw with my own eyes. Of course, she had a lot of experience with men of all stripes, for she ran a boarding house full of men and only one woman who was me. I should have taken into consideration that she being in her 70s was a better judge of men than me. So, I did not listen and within a year, I married him.
As usual, everything went well at first. Then, one day, the name-calling started. I could do nothing right. I probably knew within six months that I had made another mistake, and that I should have listened to my mentor, but having been once divorced, I was determined to stay in this marriage, come hell or hot water. I also thought that if I waited long enough, he would return to being the captivating, charming man that I had married.
But, then hell came and it was treacherous. It came in the form of ridicule of my religion. While we dated, he was all in support of me being a Christian, even going to church with me, and it was one of the qualities he most liked about me: I was a good, Christian women like his mother. But, one Sunday when I came home from church, he asked with such an ugly attitude, “Are you all religious now?” I lost my religion right then and there, and if you had heard the curse words I was using, you would have never believed that I had just been praising God with the same mouth.
It became such a constant taunt that I stopped attending church, in an effort to try to find some peace and save the marriage. But, I missed so much the fellowship with fellow Christians praising God, and I missed the sense of being fed each Sunday with strength to get through the week. Everything started seeming out of whack in my life, and I knew that I had to return to church to find the peace that I was missing, whether he went or not, and that I had to not let him rob me of my spiritual health.
Finally, a Sunday came when I decided to ask him to return to church with me, believing that he needed God as much, or more, than me. So, I asked him what kind of church he was willing to attend. He said he wanted to go to the one with a lot of shouting and people running, so that he could laugh at them. I got so mad that all I could think about was actually killing him. I had never been so enraged in my life.
As I laid there next to him, I saw this red mist. As I stood up to go for a weapon, my mind closed down completely. Suddenly, I was unable to hear people talking to me or respond to any commands. It scared him so much that he called my mentor, and he told me later that the first thing she said to him was, “What did you do to her?”
When I came to myself about 12 hours later, I was in the hospital in the psychiatric ward, and that scared me so bad. Eventually, a doctor came in and we talked. I told him what had occurred, and I asked him if I was insane and would have to stay in the hospital. I was so relieved when he told me that I was perfectly sane.
He said that my desire to hurt my husband was so contrary to my nature that my mind shut down to keep me from maybe killing him. He said that it was like God had stopped me in my tracks. He asserted that I needed neither medicine or hospitalization, but I needed to get out of my husband’s life.
The doctor told my husband that, although he was taller and much heavier, I would have found the strength because of the magnitude of a rage fueled by constant criticism of my looks, my job, my parenting skills, along with his tendency to belittle me by telling me when he had a new girlfriend and always saying that his women were prettier and made more money than me. The doctor insisted to him that he was still alive only because God did not mean for me to end up in prison for the rest of my life. I was amazed that the doctor was a Christian!
I did not end the marriage until nearly a year later, mainly I was so shamed of making what I thought of as another stupid mistake. But one day as he took me to work, he told me that he was not going to help pay any more bills and that he was going to live with his newest girlfriend. He said that in exchange for his continuing to drive the car, he would come and take me to work every day, being aware of the panic attacks I had on buses.
I went into my job and started working. But, all I could think about was his declaration, and I wondered if my faith was so small that I would allow anyone to treat me that way. It was as though the Lord was trying to get my attention. I finally asked myself, “Are you so scared of being alone and of getting on a bus that you will allow yourself to be treated like that?” And the answer was a resounding NO.
At lunchtime, I hired a lawyer. After work, I got on the bus and hyperventilated all the way home. I had sweat running down my face and the terror I felt must have registered on my face, because people constantly asked me if I was alright and did I need an ambulance. I told them that I was fine, and that I would be okay once I got off the bus. By the time he came home to get his stuff, all of his things were on the porch
Years later after he was saved and had became a decent human being, I asked him why he picked me. He told me that he saw my desperation in how quickly I responded positively to his greeting, one that most secure women would have ignored. He said that he had been used by his ex-wife so badly that he was looking for someone to hurt in return, and, unfortunately for me, I was the first person he met after his ordeal. He said that he saw that all he needed to do was be charming and captivating, because it seemed that those are the qualities that women wanted, especially insecure women.
This episode taught me that captivating is not always reassuring or even good. It can mask ungodly intentions and behaviors.I learned that you have to look beyond the surface to what is in the heart. Even more, when someone in your life takes a instant dislike to someone, especially if that someone is a child, maybe you should listen, for not only did my mentor dislike him, but my youngest son hated him and was afraid of him. I thought at the time that my son was jealous of the time I spent with him, but Mac never came to like him or trust him. Children tend to have an instinct for judging people that we lose as we age.
Of course, not every charming man is a potential fool, but be careful. Don’t let a handsome smile and a courtly manner bewitch you into a relationship that God would not want for you. It is not the kind of love God wants for his daughters. But, captivating can be intoxicating, and the movies tend to make men with these characteristics the best thing since cornbread. Don’t buy it!