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Not all women are after a man with a large bank account

The guy was extremely courteous and nice but obviously distraught. The five-page letter forwarded to me from a newspaper detailed the downfall of men.

That would be, in his opinion, women who only want money, not affection and attention.

"I have noticed," he wrote in long hand, "that when the money runs out, you women run out, too."

His words and beliefs are foreign to me because I know of no women like that, the ones who love, or pretend to, only for money. I am primarily acquainted with those who believe in loving hardest when the going gets toughest.

My kind of woman is this kind of woman:

Mama believed in putting family and home first, but when a dishonest employee ran up a mountain of debt on daddy's credit, pushing him near complete ruin, Mama took a job in a sewing plant. When the debt was paid, she returned to full-time mom and wife. Though, later, she would take in sewing, using the money earned to send me to college. Never once did it cross her mind to leave when the money ran out.

"Why heavens no!" she exclaimed. "That's when he needed me most."

Stevie never thought twice of being the primary breadwinner in their family while her husband, Darrell, chased his dreams of being a big-time NASCAR driver. She taught special needs children in a Nashville school, allowing Darrell to skip across the Southeast with a stock car in tow and a pocket full of dreams. It was years before he was financially secure enough to allow her to quit teaching but Stevie, who came from a wealthy family - her dad was president of a gas company - never minded the workload.

"He wanted to race more than anything and I loved him so much that I wanted him to have his dream," she explained with a simple shrug.

By the time Meg's husband came to her and told her the truth, he was suicidal. He was a hard worker but a terrible money manager, and he had driven his family's company to the edge of bankruptcy. In addition, he had failed to pay taxes, so what they owed in all was far more than they had ever made. She took him by the shoulders, shook him as if to shake good sense into him and said, "Now, listen to me. We will get through this and pay everything we owe."

She took a job in sales, using her smarts and marketing ability, and helped her husband to save the business. Today, they are financially secure and he always says, "I'll never forget what she did when I needed her. I would try to move the earth if she asked."

Besides children, the greatest gift a woman can give a man is her independence. Not so much independence that he feels useless, but enough that he doesn't feel used. Southern women are known to excel at that, knowing when to stand up when required and to back down when needed.

"Are men intimidated by strong, successful women?" I am often asked.

I always smile and shake my head. "Not any man I would want. After all, what man in his right mind wouldn't want a woman who brings her own equity to the table? An independent woman who is a partner, not an appendage?"

For a man who marries an independent woman, he will always know that she stays because of love. Not money.

So to the gentleman who wrote the letter, I have only this to say: Sir, it sounds like to me that you're picking the wrong kind of woman.

You should pick my kind of woman.

Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of "What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should)" and "The Town That Came A-Courtin'."