The other day my fiance looked at me and said, “I want to provide for you, Mandy”. He said it with such assurance and strength that I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat, and I about fainted into his arms. I just looked at him and said, “babe…you’re such a MAN.” I knew he wasn’t saying it because he thinks I’m incapable of providing for myself, or because he thinks I’m too weak. He said it because he is a MAN. And men want to provide, they want to protect, and take care of the people they love. They don’t cower in the face of commitment or responsibility. They take responsibility. And even though they are not perfect, they know what it means to love well. And what love does, is it lays down its’ life for the sake of another. As a woman who actually found much of my identity in my independence and self sufficiency for much of my adult life, it actually humbled and challenged me, to hear the man I love speak those words to me. But at the same time it reminded me of how incredibly thankful I am to not have settled when it came to my choice in my life partner. I think often as women, it’s easy to settle, simply out of the fear of being alone, and our longing for intimacy. But in doing so, we not only sell ourselves short, but we end up hurt, and waste one too many days of this one precious life we have been given. Trust me, I’ve been there, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years in the dating scene, it is the importance of paying attention. What do I mean by that? I mean….if you are paying attention, you won’t have to spend much time wondering if the guy you are with is a man. Men don’t play games or simply talk big to get what they want from you. They let their actions speak for themselves….and they live by the virtues of respect, honor, and faithfulness. By his words…but ultimately his actions, he will make things very clear.