Sunday, April 22, 2012


for May 2012

Most women want to be loved. How to achieve that? Step one, be lovable.

I read recently an article about nine types of arguments [“fights“] a woman should have with the man in her life. An underlying theme: getting her fair share of whatever. Not lovable.

I know of a couple who negotiated their pre-nuptial agreement to the point where each got most of what each sought. Love was destroyed. Not lovable.

The Boy Scouts take an oath that has a nice list of admirable attributes. A Scout is “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” My beloved wife, Tina Su Cooper, tells me that her Girl Scout oath was much the same. To be lovable, adopt these…at least.

Notice that “assertive” is not on this list. Do men really want an assertive partner? Not lovable. It may help you succeed at work, but do not bring it home.

You can drop “obedient,” too. Neither partner in a marriage need “obey” the other, though each should be sensitive to the wants and needs of the other.

I don’t see “sexy” there, either. Admittedly, one would not be pushing “sexy” for kids, but even between adults, sexy does not equate to lovable. Many a girl who dressed and acted provocatively ended up wanting to be loved rather than loving to be wanted.

Let’s hear it for “cheerful!” Hard to love a depressed and depressing person. Someone who values life and approaches it optimistically is a real asset. A sense of humor often reflects a sense of proportion about oneself and about life’s ups and downs.

You can’t go wrong with “kind.” Even when you disagree, the kind person will present that disagreement in as non-hurtful a manner as possible. Sometimes, being kind means saying less than you might otherwise.

Men and women admire bravery. One of my favorite movie characters is the plucky teenage girl in John Wayne’s True Grit. Kim Darby was the actress and her character was Mattie Ross, dedicated to avenging her father’s murder, regardless. I found her quite lovable, though probably not everyone’s cup of tea. Our Tina’s father, the late Prof. G.J. Su, encouraged his little girl to “be a brave soldier,” and as an adult she has endured her crippling multiple sclerosis with a bravery admired by all who know her.

Within reasonable limits, thrift is a plus. When I dated my dear Tina in college, I had very little money. She was an inexpensive date, a girl who once insisted on walking a couple of miles back to her dorm with me in a light rain rather than calling an “expensive” taxi. As a wife, she has been very careful with our money, too. Her health problems as we got older have been made more manageable by our considerable savings.

How about “reverent“? Sharing the same religion, if possible, is a plus. Acknowledging the existence and importance of a Higher Power or of higher ideals can produce better behavior and lovable humility.

Being attractive physically helps. Keep in shape. Dress appropriately. Emphasize your best features and minimize the others. I am not telling you anything new in this regard.

St. Augustine wrote that morality could be summarized in a few words, “Love God, and do as you please.” As a corollary, if you two love each other, you will be good to each other and good for each other.

To be loved: step one, be lovable; step two, be loving.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a freelance writer, writing coach, and retired physicist, author of Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, available from Outskirts Press,,, or from the web site, His email is

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