By Teri M Bethel
You have probably heard many times over about the wish list some women have when considering a life mate. It’s quite common for ladies to have an exact list of what they want. As a matter of fact, when approached holistically, it’s wise. Those whose list is limited to the usual handsome, church-going man with money, however, are usually the first to discover that it was not sufficient to make their marriage work.
As a 2009 marriage and divorce study by the Barna Group indicated, there are just as many divorces in the church as outside. Further research by author Shaunti Feldhahn showed that Barna’s Christian category included people who professed a belief in Christianity but did not live a committed lifestyle. While love, sex and church attendance are fundamental parts of a marriage, it should not be considered the extent of a successful marriage.
Emotional connections are not enough
Unfortunately, women can sometimes get overly sensitive when it comes to issues of the heart. If you are thinking about marriage, your choices shouldn’t be based solely on your feelings. Feelings void of truth and practical wisdom, laced with overactive hormones as well as a mythical expiration date, make a cocktail for bad decisions. There are a few questions you may want to ask yourself about the man in question. Bear in mind that some men would be better and do better if they knew how to. This is not an exercise to condemn a potential candidate. Instead, it should help in determining the type of man better suited for marriage.
If a man lacks development in crucial areas, such as his identity, communication, job security, and character development, it is worthwhile to take some time to allow a little more growth in the areas that require attention. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s not the one, it just means you are allowing each other ample time to develop so that you can be better partners. A force fit situation can leave the man feeling pressured and the woman feeling as though she is the lead person in the relationship. For even an under-developed man, that’s usually a big turnoff.
Ignoring wise advice
Ladies, if you really want to have a successful marriage, you must be willing to be honest with yourself. A young lady shared with me her eagerness to get married to a younger man in her church. She thought that since they were both at the same church, benefitting from the same teaching, they would be compatible.
Despite his family’s cautioning and a strong warning from her pastor that the young man was not ready for marriage (emotionally, spiritually, socially or financially), she went full-speed ahead with the wedding. Her desire to defy her self-imposed marriage expiration date clouded all practical reasoning. She believed she could mould the man into the perfect mate, even though he was happy as he was. Today, after more than 10 years of trying to make the marriage work, she has had to move away for her physical, emotional and financial well-being.
What questions should you ask when choosing your man
Apart from first, determining if you are sufficiently prepared for marriage and not looking for someone to complete you, here are a few questions you can ponder when considering a husband:
• What are his spiritual values?
Are you on the same page, or will you be continually bickering because your beliefs are different? Is he morally sensitive, or does anything go?
• Is he really interested in you or is he playing both sides of the fence?
Some men, like women, believe marriage is the key to settling their hormones. Whatever issues exist before marriage, however, are carried into the marriage and continue if they were not dealt with.
• Do you communicate well with each other?
Men, in general, do not talk as much as women. However, when you do speak, do you show him honour and respect?
• Does he treat you with respect?
If a man was not raised in an environment where women are respected, he might not know how to handle the fairer sex. Settling for improper treatment may very well block the path of someone who will treat you as you deserve.
• Can he support you and a family?
Women are sometimes so eager to find a mate, they settle for an underdeveloped man who is dependent on their finances instead of being a financially independent man. A potential husband should be actively supporting himself through legitimate means with the ability and willingness to contribute to the support of his family.
• Is he kind and gentle or jealous and violent?
A gentleman, when he finds a lady should be kind and considerate. Jealousy and violence are indications of impending danger and not worth the trouble.
• Does he invest in developing his skills?
In our changing world, it is often necessary to update your skills to maximise employability. A man who continues to learn and invest in his abilities is an asset to his family.
• Does he have a plan for his future?
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Being busy will keep him occupied, but upward mobility may not be his lot in life. If you are ambitious, you won’t be satisfied with someone who isn’t.
• Does he have integrity?
A man who lacks integrity will violate your trust. He will have you caged in suspicion, questioning his every word and action even when he may be telling the truth.
• Is he willing to learn how to have a successful marriage?
Most people don’t invest in developing their relationship. Taking a marriage enrichment class and reading books like “Before We Say, I Do…” and “My Marriage Matters” (authored by me) can help you to avoid unnecessary hassles in your relationship.
Among the essential attributes of a good husband are men who are:
While many men are sound and have their heads screwed on straight, some need to be mentored by an appropriate role model before becoming relationship or marriage ready. When you do find a possible candidate for marriage, recognise that like you, he will fall short of perfection and will need the space to develop without criticism. This will allow him to maintain his dignity and present himself to you whole and without the marks of being hen-pecked.
• Teri M Bethel is a publisher and an author of relationship enrichment books which include: “Before We Say, I Do…” and “My Marriage Matters”. She has also published romance and adventure novels, purse-making and fabric painting DVDs. Additionally, Teri provides a free online directory for local authors to showcase their family-friendly books. She and her husband have two adult sons. Visit her website, www.BooksByBethel.com, or e-mail her at email@example.com.