Nice Girls Don’t Win

The news is out. Archie Andrews has made his decision. In the 600th edition of the 65 year old comic, Archie will propose to his on-again, off-again girlfriend Veronica. That leaves sweet, girl-next-door Betty stuck with Jughead and his weird hat. Or arrogant bad-boy Reggie.

We should have seen it coming. Archie’s always got his eyes on Veronica, even when Betty’s got her eyes on him. Or is Betty looking at Veronica? Oh dear.

Before you get mad at Archie, or “dis” Veronica, or feel sorry for Betty, let’s be real. Good girls don’t win in the game of love.

Dan Kiley described this principle more than twenty years ago in his book, “The Peter Pan Syndrome.” In it, he explains that Peter (the quintessential man-boy), though a part of him is attracted to Wendy and her mothering ability, will always choose Tinkerbell in the end. Yes, the same Tinkerbell who sells Peter down the river to Cap’n Hook out of spite and jealousy.

We all married little Peter Pans. The magical boy who was entranced by some aspect of our personalities. The one who swept us off our feet and carried us away to Never-Neverland. In our imaginations, Peter would eventually quit playing childish war games, risking life and limb for the sake of an adrenaline rush; he’d stop spending all his time hanging out with the Lost Boys; and he would grow up into a responsible man to whom we could safely entrust our lives.

If you’ve been married-or in a long-term relationship-you’ve probably learned at least two things by now. One, Peter never really grows up, at least not in the ways you expected him to; and two, he doesn’t appreciate all your mothering nearly as much as you thought he would. Disappointing? Yes, if you’re nothing but a Wendy. But none of us are “just” Wendys or Bettys. Every woman has a Tinkerbell spirit somewhere on the inside. (Read “Captivating,” by John and Staci Eldredge.)

The end of the Archie/Betty/Veronica love triangle illustrates the same principle. Betty has always “been there” for Archie. Veronica does as she pleases. Betty is dependent, Veronica is independent. Can you see the Wendy/Tinkerbell parallel, here?

Here’s the problem: Women, especially Christian women, are raised to be Wendys, not Tinks; Bettys, not Veronicas. While men’s culture-Christian and secular-glorifies the mystery, glamour and adventure of the Tinkerbells, women’s culture promotes the idea of becoming the best Wendy/Betty you can be. Want a real-life example? Brad Pitt=Peter Pan, Jennifer Aniston=Wendy/Betty, and Angelina Jolie=Tinkerbell/Veronica.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Betty. Betty’s a nice girl. She’s a great friend. There’s nothing wrong with Wendy, either. Wendy is a caretaker. She takes care of her father, her mother, Nana the dog, and her little brothers. When responsibility knocks, Wendy answers. Someday she’ll be a great homemaker and a good mom. But she doesn’t win what she wants most: Peter’s heart.

When it comes to being the woman of our husband’s dreams, we’d better dig out that sassy, sexy, independent woman who got buried under maternity clothes and burp rags and cookbooks. Why? Because that’s who he married, ladies! He married the Veronica, or the Tinkerbell, he saw in you, and that’s who he still dreams about. Don’t leave him wondering where she went!

Find your sassy, girls.

4 thoughts on “Nice Girls Don’t Win

  1. Karla Akins says:

    There is the possibilty, I think, that by comic 6 in the series (or is it 5?) Reggie changes his mind. Hmmm.

    I see your point and thank-you for encouraging me to do what I feel I need to do: get a backbone, stop being a doormat, stop playing the victim. Not in my marriage, but in life in general.

    I was pondering this very thing this morning as I was getting ready for my day. What DOES God think of a “bossy” Mom and wife? I don’t mean to the point of being controlling, but I have become so afraid of confrontation that I let a lot of things go. And guess who suffers because of it? You got it. Me. I’m the one that carries a lot of ick inside because of it.

    So, I feel God has me learning in the next few weeks how to stand up for myself, how to know the difference between being co-dependent and being a servant. That line is not easy to find, but I think under the microscope of God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, I might be able to find it.

  2. Rebecca A Emrich says:

    You’ve definately said some great things here. I’m going to have to rethink my own life because of this.
    I guess you can sum it up by saying, where is passion?

  3. Anonymous says:

    if only I could be a Tinkerbell – if only there wasn’t another Tinkerbell in the wings … if only….

  4. Niki Turner says:

    Hi ladies… watch for the sequel to this post, inspired by your comments. I just have to let it percolate a bit more.
    Bubble, bubble!

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