Before I posted it, I wanted a guy’s opinion – someone who could read it without any prior knowledge of Anne of Green Gables and make sure that I was being fair in my assessments. So I let the BF read it. He said that it was good! Yay! But then reminded me of something: it’s not just on the guys to be upright dudes – girls have to pull their weight too.
Ladies, we talk about, dream about, and wait for our knights in shining armor, our Prince Charming, our Darcy, Knightley, or Wentworth. We wonder where our Boaz is and why is God making us stay single for so long!?!?!
We want a guy like Gilbert Blythe. But have you ever stopped to consider if a guy like Gil would want you?
So I decided to write a list for the girls. I’m not a relationship expert but I think there are some things that we girls need to understand or remember, otherwise, we won’t deserve the guy we want. It’s not an extensive list because that would probably look more like a book. These are just a few things that got me thinking and maybe it’ll do the same for you too!
Here we go!
1. You’re not always right.
I have a confession to make: my family calls me a know-it-all because I have a hard time listening. *sigh* I’m not proud of it and I wish I could deny it but…I like being right. There, I said it. This may seem rather elementary but it’s worth pointing out because knowing something in our heads isn’t always enough – translation into life is where it matters.
So listen up: YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. Sometimes we need to just shut up and listen every once and again. And again. And again. As women, we like to make a point and sometimes, we come in with that bullet point list of why we’re right. But just because you have something to say and it sounds right in your head doesn’t always mean it has to be said. Think before you speak. It’s a hard thing to learn but it’s a necessity for maturity. We’ve all been in the presence of people who’ve stuck their foot in their mouths and we’ve all probably done it ourselves one too many times. It’s not cool.
I get it, it’s hard – I’m a chatterbox who’s majoring in Communications! But believe me, you’ll get more done in your relationships when you listen with open ears, an open mind, and an open heart. The man of your dreams deserves someone he can communicate openly with, who will take him seriously, and will work together with him to solve problems as a team and love all the great things he has to offer.
2. He’s not here to fix all your problems.
You may have seen this woman before. She’s the woman that got into a relationship with a guy because, for whatever reason, she needed him to fix all her problems.
Maybe you’ve been that woman. Maybe you are now.
Ladies. No man is going to fix all your problems. That’s between you and God.
If you rely on a man to fix your emotional issues, you’re going to fall apart when he fails to empathize the way you want him to. If you rely on a man to fix your abuse issues, you’re going to fall apart when he has a season of weakness. If you rely on a man to fix your spiritual issues, you’re going to fall apart when he messes up. If you rely on a man to fix your trust issues, you’re going to fall apart when he betrays you. If you rely on a man to fix your self-esteem issues, you’re going to fall apart when he forgets to compliment your new haircut or the success of your project. If you rely on a man to fix your financial problems, you’re going to fall apart when he’s struggling to find work.
No man is perfect and he is going to fail you somehow, sometime just as you’re going to fail him. You have to be a whole enough person to be able to understand that and not put that kind of pressure on him. You’re sense of worth can’t be built on a man – that is not a solid foundation and never will be. Sure, relationships are about being supportive and working together and being emotionally available and all that wonderful stuff but there are things in your life that you can’t expect a guy to fix.
Pain is for real and there is a lot of it out there. If you have hurt or anger in your life that you haven’t dealt with, simply having a man isn’t going to fix that. That’s where prayer and counseling come in, that’s when you join a support group or take time away to recover and deal with what’s going on. A man isn’t a fix-it-all and he doesn’t deserve to be.
Your dream man deserves a woman who is doing everything she can to be a whole person and not waiting around for a guy to sweep up all the pieces and figure out how to put them together. Are we talking perfection with every hair in place, lipstick un-smudged and nails manicured? No. I’m talking about a woman who knows what her weaknesses are, knows the areas where she’s struggling, is honest about her needs and does the necessary work to grow, mature, and progress.
Life is messy, it’s hard and it’s painful but a man doesn’t deserve to clean up a mess in your life if you’re not willing to get a bucket and a mop yourself.
3. He needs your respect.
We want a man to be this that and the other for us. We want manly-man who will work hard, solve problems, take the high road, be romantic, wear a clean shirt, spoil us, and tell us we’re beautiful every now and again…
we come short on the respect.
Men need respect. That’s how they’re wired. And I’m not here to talk about gender roles and argue about whether or not men and women are essentially the same, and all that, this isn’t the post. All I’m saying is that men need respect.
Well, duh, Elyssa! Everyone needs respect.
Okay, yeah, so you agree with me. Men need respect and in the context of this post, we’ll keep it here.
Don’t throw him under the bus in front of people. Don’t constantly question his judgement calls. If you have a question, ask him about it later and don’t make him look a fool in public. This goes back to being right all the time. If something is truly concerning, then address it at an appropriate time and be open to conversation. But needlessly arguing in front of people because you have something to say isn’t respectful. Constantly correcting him isn’t respectful. Constantly questioning him isn’t respectful.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying keep your mouth shut at all times and never have an opinion. And I’m not saying agree with everything he says or does. But have enough respect for the guy in your life to think before you speak and listen to what he has to say. You don’t want to be known as the girlfriend or wife who’s constantly harping on her man, who’s giving all the directions and never let’s him get a word in edgewise. And you don’t want to be the girlfriend or wife that’s constantly rolling her eyes and making snide remarks about whatever ‘dumb’ thing he just said or did. You can’t expect to win a strong man and have a successful relationship while you emasculate him, it just doesn’t work like that.
The man of your dreams deserves the woman who is going to stand beside him, not in front of him or behind him. A woman who values his opinion. He’s not going to get it right all the time and he knows that but he deserves a woman who will be there even when everything comes crashing down and instead of saying, “I told you so!” she says, “It’s alright, baby, we’ll do better next time.”
4. He deserves your very best.
Every woman deserves a guy who will treat her like the wonderful she is, yeah? Well every guy deserves a woman who will treat him like the wonderful person he is. This is basic but it’s worth mentioning.
Ladies, he deserves your best. I’m not talking about always having your hair and make up done whenever you see him. I’m not talking about always having dinner on the table when he gets home. If you can manage that, great, but that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about. I’m talking about your approach.
We often put our best foot forward for people outside our homes and then kind of let things drag when we get behind closed doors. I’m still kind of in that stage with the BF. We’re just dating so a lot of that best-foot-foward stuff is still there. But it’s been several months now and he’s seen Elyssa get upset, he’s seen her cry, he’s seen her frustrated, fed up, and irritated, fall behind schedule, be late for appointments, and go around without hair done or makeup applied. And he’s still here.
We definitely need to be real with one another but I think that when it comes to the relationships that we hold dear, we should take better care to be our best for those people. We put on our best selves for strangers because of what we’ll get from them: acceptance, service, business, friendship, etc. We should offer our best selves for those we care about because they deserve it. It’s not about being fake. It’s about an honesty that says, “This is who I am, it’s not all beautiful, but I’m going to give you the best of what I have.”
A good guy will get that and accept that and love that. The man of your dreams deserves the best of what you have and as the years go by and you grow and mature as a person, that best will just keep getting better.
So what do you think? Are there things you wish girls understood? Maybe not about relationships but life in general. Sometimes we get so focused on what we need, want, and deserve that we forget that other people rightfully need, want and deserve things from us too.
Let me know in the comments, I’d love your thoughts!
Gilbert Blythe. The name alone is enough to make hearts swoon!
When I heard that Jonathan Crombie died two weeks ago, I cried. Call me sappy or too sentimental but I did, for real. Not only was he just too young, he brought to life literature’s most beloved boy-next-door and I felt like a tornado swept through my childhood and the memory of those sweet, sweet years will never be the same.
So, what’s the big deal about this guy, Gilbert Blythe? Why do girls fall for him so easily? While women everywhere have swooned over any number of literature’s leading men over the years, from Darcy to Rochester, it is my humble opinion that L.M. Montgomery’s dear Gil is the best.
So, if you’ll allow me, I’m going to indulge in a bit of sentimental fan-girling. I write this for Green Gables fans, of course, but I write it first for the little girl who grew up with Anne & Gil and will always cherish the memories of movie marathons and worn paperbacks.
That is to say, this post is for me.
But, you will have, of course, noticed the second half of my title: Why Guys Need to Pay Attention. Yeah, this one is for the guys too – if they can sit through it. Ladies, pass this on to the gentlemen in your life and see what kind of conversations it’ll start. If you’re a gentleman and you’re reading this, I have five things to say to you:
Excuse the profuse sentiment.
You’ll notice a Guy Tip at the end of each item – that’s for you. If you want to just cut to the chase and read those bits first, go for it!
If your girlfriend or wife made you read this, suck it up, read it and then give her a hug and ask her why she thought you should and reallylisten to what she has to say. Be open to a new conversation.
You’re about to find out why, if you didn’t yet know, the lady in your life had has such a huge crush on a fictional character.
NOTE: If you haven’t read the books, you won’t recognize some of the references. If you’ve never watched the movies or read the books…well, you decide how you feel about spoilers!
So, here’s my list in memory of Jonathan Crombie.
(This post contains affiliate links)
1. He lets Anne be Anne.
Oh, Anne Shirley! She’s a wonderful mess of imagination, goof-ups, temper, drive, and dreams – and Gilbert loves all of that about her. He never tries to make her something she isn’t. He lets her be herself and admires her for it.
This most definitely does not mean that he’s a pushover! If he has a differing opinion, he’ll state it and stand by it. (You may recall their discussion about Leslie’s husband in Anne’s House of Dreams). These two chums-turned-lovers don’t always agree, and their lives aren’t free of struggle – they’ve got issues just like everyone else. Gilbert doesn’t think she’s perfect but he loves her for the person she is and the person she’s becoming.
Guy Tip: If you really like a girl, let her be herself! Great relationships aren’t about what you’re going to get out of the other person, they’re about how you bring out the best in that other person. Bring out the best in your lady and if you’ve got a keeper, not only will she shine, she’ll do the same for you too!
Gentleman, if you’re married, this is even more crucial. We all change over time and I’m sure that if you’ve been married long enough, both of you can say that, in some ways, you’re not married to the same person you stood next to at the alter. And that’s okay!! That’s the way life is and it’s a good thing as long as we’re growing and learning and progressing. Let her grow and learn. Let her mature and change. Let her thrive. Again, if you’ve got a good girl, she’ll do the same for you and the two of you will have a good thing going.
2. He works hard.
Gilbert works hard for what he has and isn’t showy about his successes. He simply shows up, does his best, and lets his work speak for itself. You see this all through his years in school and later as a doctor. He doesn’t let obstacles throw him and he pursues excellence. And Anne knows this. Even before she falls in love with Gilbert, she knows her best guy friend is somebody who chases dreams and does the hard work. She knows that he’s not flakey and she can trust him cause he’s proven to be dependable.
Guy Tip: If you haven’t already, figure out what you want to do in life and then work hard to make it happen. It’s not about having all your ducks in a row right this very minute but rather doing the best with what you’ve got and always pursuing excellence. That may mean sacrificing stuff you used to enjoy when you were a kid. If you find yourself having to decide whether or not to study or work longer on an assignment for your job rather than hang out? Congrats, you’ve entered adulthood. If you have to start at the bottom again even though you know you’re worth more? Congrats, you’re entering a new season of life.
Working hard means paying your dues in the pursuit of what you’ve deemed important. We’re all old enough to know that we don’t realize success overnight – it takes work. Life is a cumulative journey; we learn by and build on experience. Embrace it, work with it, and then let your successes speak for themselves. And, I assure you, the good girls will pay attention and they will applaud you because that kind of work ethic is attractive. I promise.
3. He’s patient.
This is evidenced in the TV series but so much more, I think, in the books. How incredibly patient this guy is! He fell in love with Anne long before the thought ever occurred to her that he could. And he waited. And waited.
The second book in the series, Anne of Avonlea, ends with Anne and Gil walking home from the wedding of a dear friend, Miss Lavender, who had married her sweetheart from years ago. Anne comments on how sweet their story was and how happy she was that the bride and groom came “together again after all the years of separation and misunderstanding.”
“Yes, it’s beautiful,” said Gilbert, looking steadily down into Anne’s uplifted face, “but wouldn’t it have been more beautiful still, Anne, if there had been no separation or misunderstanding…if they had come hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but those which belonged to each other?”
Get’s me every time. Here’s what happens next.
“For a moment Anne’s heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert’s gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways…perhaps…perhaps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.
Gilbert wisely said nothing more; but in his silence he read the history of the next four years in the light of Anne’s remembered blush. Four years of earnest, happy work…and then the guerdon of a useful knowledge gained and a sweet heart one.
In our culture of hook-ups, shack-ups, and split-ups, it’s all the more satisfying to read about a patient guy. Gilbert decided to bide his time and work hard so that he could offer Anne a future. So the two set off for Redmond College to pursue their academic dreams.
Enter Roy Gardner. You book readers will remember Roy from Anne of the Island. Anne fell for him because he was the epitome of perfection she had conjured up in her dreams. Poor Gil!! But he still held out. Oh, it hurt him to see is best girl going around with another guy but he waited. He knew he couldn’t ever love anyone the way he loved Anne but he never pressured her even when it seemed like he was going to lose out all together. That my friends, is not just patience, but good, ol’ fashioned, long-suffering love.
Guy Tip: You can’t force someone to love you or be with you. The whole time Gilbert was waiting for Anne to come to her senses, he went on with his life, pursuing his goals and working hard. He didn’t pine, he didn’t stalk, and he didn’t guilt-trip, tease, gossip, or gripe. By the time she came around, he was a whole individual with a full life to offer her. Yeah, it was incredibly tough because he didn’t know if she’d ever accept him. And what would have happened if she never chose him? His heart would’ve taken an unbearable hit, yes, but he would have still been a whole person with a full life to offer whoever his Mrs. Right would turn out to be. That’s called quiet strength and gentlemen, I promise you, it speaks volumes! Be patient, let things happen naturally, and don’t put your life on hold in the meantime.
4. He’s a class act.
Roy Gardner may have been Anne’s ‘perfect man’ but Gil more than outshines him as a class act! He’s sensible, grounded, and not silly or self-absorbed. Think young Gregory Peck or Jimmy Stewart. I consider a person to be a class act when they just go about their business responsibly, graciously, and unselfishly. They’re humbled when you compliment them, they don’t make a lot of fuss about themselves and they’re not out to toot their own horn. That’s Gil. He knows how to have a good time with his friends but he’s not all that concerned with the latest fads and trends. He doesn’t get involved in things he knows he shouldn’t. He’s not perfect but he’s prudent. I know, it’s not a sexy word but it’s an invaluable trait. As he grows up, he tucks into the pocket of his adulthood those things that make a real man – integrity, honesty, loyalty, and real love.
Guy Tip: Yeah, yeah, girls want a guy who’s good looking but she also wants one with a stand-up character. A sensible girl doesn’t want an immature airhead, a clingy boy, or a self-absorbed workaholic. Seriously consider those things you know you need to work on and, that’s right, work on them. If you don’t know what your character flaws are, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook – ask someone you trust and who will tell you the truth! You want a good girl, gentlemen, you gotta be a good guy. You gotta be a class act.
5. He’s secure.
Remember when Anne and Diana beat Gilbert and Moody Spurgeon at the three-legged race? And remember when Anne beat Gilbert during the spelling bee by correctly spelling ‘chrysanthemum’ (and best better believe that, to this day, I spell that word with Anne’s voice in my head)? The beginning of Anne and Gil’s relationship was purely competitive. They worked hard to outdo one another in school. When they became friends, they helped each other in their studies and when they became professionals, they supported each other in their respective fields. All the while, Gilbert was never threatened when Anne succeeded. He didn’t have to prove himself and he didn’t always have to be right. He worked hard and was secure in who he was. That security allowed him to genuinely rejoice in others’ successes even if he was the one who lost.
One more thing worth pointing out – remember, in the third movie, when Anne was busy ‘co-writing’ her book with Jack Garrison and didn’t have as much time for her dear, fiancé? Gilbert knew she was working on something that mattered a lot to her and gave her the space to do so. He was also secure enough in their relationship that he wasn’t threatened by her professional relationship with Jack.
Guy Tip: Develop your talents and celebrate hers. If you’ve got a keeper, she’ll support you and push you to be the best you can be but you have to do the same for her. Both Anne and Gil are dreamers and doers, that is, they both figured out what they wanted to do and they worked hard at pursuing their passions. Have fun, throw in a little friendly competition to keep you both on your toes. Hold each other accountable when appropriate. Ask her about her latest project, be interested in what she’s doing. Give advice and ask for her opinion on whatever you’re working on. And if she beats you at your favorite game, just give her a wink, congratulate her and say you’ll get her next time!
6. He’s a romantic
Okay, so we know that Gil pulled Anne’s hair in school and called her ‘Carrots’ but we find out later that he really was a super sweet guy and just as romantically inclined as Anne. You movie watchers will remember when Mr. Phillips made Anne sit by her nemesis, Gilbert, in school one afternoon, but it’s the book readers who may recall that Gilbert, who was truly sorry for teasing her “took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, “You are sweet,” and slipped it under the curve of Anne’s arm.” (Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 15). Anne promptly crushed the candy with her shoe without glancing at the gift-giver but years later, she was reminded of that incident. One Christmas during college, Gilbert sent her “a thread-like gold chain with a tiny pink enamel heart as a pendant. On the accompanying card was written, “With all good wishes from your old chum, Gilbert.”” (Anne of the Island, Chapter 37). Sweet, yeah? But get this: she was already going steady with Roy Gardner.
It gets better. In the midst of finals and graduation preparation, Redmond was buzzing with the gossip of Roy’s impending proposal to Anne. And then Gilbert sends her flowers for Convocation. But not just any flowers, these were lilies-of-the-valley like the ones that blossomed at Green Gables. Gilbert knew that even though Roy Gardner was her chosen man, he still had something that Roy didn’t have: the history of a beautiful friendship. So he capitalized on it and sent her flowers on the day the two of them had dreamt about for years. The sentiment touched Anne’s heart and whose flowers do you think she carried that day?
Guy Tip: Romance has less to do with flowers, chocolate, and expensive dates on special occasions and more to do with remembering shared moments and making much out of the small, simple things in life. And romance isn’t just about how to talk sweet to a girl either. When we say a guy is a sweet talker, we’re usually referring to a guy who knows how to use his words to get what he wants from a girl. That’s not a man, that’s just a boy with a decent vocabulary. A real man can treat a woman with love & respect regardless of whether or not she reciprocates it. Gilbert didn’t give Anne flowers in an attempt to win her back. He was being a friend and saying, “Hey, we made it! Congratulations and good luck!” No shooting stars, no candlelight, no touch, but oh, how very romantic. Why? Because he cared.
Girls want to know you truly care and it’s your job to figure out how to best show that you do. For some girls it’s flowers, for some it’s good morning texts or a handwritten note, for others it’s a copy of her favorite book or a well-planned date. Actually, I can almost guarantee you it’s a combination of many different things and those may change over the years! Find out what’s important to your girl and do those things even if you don’t get it. Why does it have to be that brand of chocolate? It doesn’t matter. If she means that much to you, you’ll take note and buy her that brand of chocolate. She can open a door and she can hold her own in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter, hold that door open and ask if you can help out whenever possible. Yeah, it takes effort, but if you’ve got a keeper, guess what? That’s right, she’ll take the time to do the same for you. And if she forgets or is going through a particularly busy season, that’s okay, hang in there. You’re going to want her to understand when you’re going through a crazy phase and forget the anniversary of your first date!
And gentleman, if you are already married, this is even more important! Just because you said “I do” doesn’t mean you don’t continue to put your best foot forward. You have to work twice as hard keep her happy now because the honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever but romance must always stay alive. There’s no magical age where we stop developing and changing. Like I said before, we change as the years go by. If you’re married, you’ve committed yourself to a lifetime of studying your wife. Be a romantic by doing your absolute best to making her happy and bringing out the best in her.
7. He loves her
I would be completely remiss if I didn’t highlight Gil’s simple love for Anne. Yes, this whole list has demonstrated how much he cares about her but I have to spell it out just a bit more.
You can see it on the screen when he looks at her. Jonathan Crombie did that look so well. It wasn’t anything creepy, seductive or even particularly charming, it was just pure love and adoration. He was completely smitten. It started out with a boy’s fascination with the new girl in school.
“Gilbert Blythe was trying to make Anne Shirley look at him and failing utterly, because Anne was at that moment totally oblivious not only to the very existence of Gilbert Blythe, but of every other scholar in Avonlea school itself….
[He] wasn’t used to putting himself out to make a girl look at him and meeting with failure. She SHOULD look at him, that red-haired Shirley girl with the little pointed chin and the big eyes that weren’t like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.”
And then, finally, after years of her implacable hostility, their fierce academic competition turned comradeship, and lots of hard work, and sacrifice on his part, Gilbert finally won.
“[It] was a happy and beautiful bride who came down the old, homespun-carpeted stairs that September noon–the first bride of Green Gables, slender and shining-eyed, in the mist of her maiden veil, with her arms full of roses. Gilbert, waiting for her in the hall below, looked up at her with adoring eyes. She was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won after years of patient waiting. It was to him she was coming in the sweet surrender of the bride. Was he worthy of her? Could he make her as happy as he hoped? If he failed her–if he could not measure up to her standard of manhood–then, as she held out her hand, their eyes met and all doubt was swept away in a glad certainty. They belonged to each other; and, no matter what life might hold for them, it could never alter that. Their happiness was in each other’s keeping and both were unafraid.”
Guy Tip: If you’re a guy and you’ve made it this far, congratulations! I’m writing this not knowing if any guy is going to take the time to wade through this fan-girling but I couldn’t write this any other way – it flowed so naturally. Here’s my last guy tip:
I’ve been talking about how Gil was patient and waited for Anne for years but I need to add a very necessary caveat. This is a made up story and I get it. Gilbert Blythe isn’t perfect and I get that too. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all Gilbert Blythe Formula and I’m not trying to say that there is. However, the traits that make women swoon over him are very real and you would do well to consider them if you’ve never done so before. BUT! That doesn’t always mean you’re going to get the girl you’ve got your eyes on right now. Montgomery knew how to spin a good story but as we all know, the guy doesn’t always get the girl no matter how much he may ‘deserve her’ or how ‘good he was to her’ or how ‘patient he was’. Sometimes, she’s just not the one.
‘Getting the girl’ may mean wading through some heartbreak, some loneliness, and some frustration before it all works out. I don’t believe in soul mates but I do think that you should wait for someone who loves you for who you are, and is willing to spend the rest of their life with the good, the bad, and the ugly both people will most definitely bring to the table.
There’s always talk about girls saving themselves physically and emotionally for Mr. Right, but guys have hearts too. So don’t be in such a rush when you see a pretty face. I think that a lot of times, guys really mean well but y’all don’t give it enough time. Sometimes, even if she is the girl for you, you’ve just gotta wait. But a good woman is always worth waiting for, guys, I promise.
Be a hard working, patient, class act dude who’s making himself a whole person with a full life and you’ll be worthy of a keeper. And when you get her, take the time to be romantic and love your sweetheart for who she is and I guarantee you, she’ll be one lucky gal!
I went on longer than I originally intended. I was even considering a Part 2. But here it is and while I don’t know if Marilla Cuthbert or Rachel Lynde would have altogether approved of such fan-girling, I’ve throughly enjoyed it!
If you’re a die-hard Green Gables fan, leave me a comment and add to my list. Why else do women love about Gilbert and what other guy tips can the gentlemen in your life benefit from our favorite boy-next-door?
If you’re a guy and you finished this post, I have two more things to say to you:
I hope you’ve gained some insight into the female sentiment.
Y’all have a great day 🙂
P.S. For all y’all movie watchers:
“Christine was engaged to somebody in her home town. I knew it and she knew I knew it…I knew college gossip credited us with being in love with each other. I didn’t care…There was nobody else–there could never be anybody else for me but you.”