Marriage is a wonderful institution. There is nothing like having the perfect mate to travel along the journey of life. What makes it special is when you have chosen someone that not necessarily shares all the interests you have, but at least respects them. And you respect hers as well.
Sure, marriage has its challenges. The key is choosing the right mate from the very beginning. By the end of this writing, I hope to have shared a bit of wisdom on how to choose a mate wisely and carefully. Having been married once and to the same woman for 20 years, my marriage has not been perfect, but it has grown and succeeded because I chose well...in the beginning.
Men, understand that women are different. They think differently than we do! They love unlike men. They hurt unlike men. Some can be more forgiving; some less forgiving. That is why it is essential that you get to know how she thinks, how she reacts to situations, her values, her upbringing, why she does what she does, etc. (it is even more essential that you know who you are as a man!).
Unfortunately, as men, we tend to focus on those visual things that stimulate us and choose based solely on these things (see picture above). Physical beauty, wonderful words, affection and sexual prowess are things that some men signal in on initially. Sometimes, these things become the predominate reasons to begin and continue a relationship. While they are important, they should not be the highest priorities in engaging in a long term relationship that could lead to marriage.
I have talked to men that have been in relationships for over five years and many of them are downright miserable. Some are scared of their mates. Some dread going home to nagging. Many engage in extra-marital relationships because communication and physical activity has diminished. Women may disagree, but many men cheat because they have tried and tried but the spouse does not reciprocate (this is not a justification, it is an explanation). Women should not be hurt in relationships and men should not be miserable in them, either.
Enumerated below are some tips that should be helpful in finding the right mate for a lifelong, marital relationship - based on mutual respect, love and trust.
1. Do you share similar interests and beliefs? The woman you marry should have many of the same beliefs and interests as you. This doesn't mean that she can't have her own. It means that there should be interests and beliefs you have in common. It’s fine to have differing opinions. But it’s important that you agree on the big things – money, family, children, sex, etc. Have these discussions with the woman you’re considering choosing for a wife before you marry her, to make sure you’ll get along.
2. Does she have a good upbringing? She should be brought up in a loving home or at least have strong values and a good understanding of family life. She should respect others and love her parents. She should have good manners. If the woman you are considering marrying is rude, uses a lot of profanity, looks down on others, is excessively moody, argumentative over minor things and/or is generally ill-tempered, DO NOT MARRY HER! This type of person will turn on you and make your life miserable. It is best she be left to her other unmarried female friends. Leave them to whine and commiserate over why no man wants to be with them in marriage. Maybe she will finally figure it out.
3. Is she successful? A good wife will have achievements and successes that made her successful long before you came around. When you choose a wife, choose someone who has goals and aspirations in life that go beyond wanting to get married. Marry someone that is well educated. By this, I do not mean someone who has numerous degrees. I am talking about someone that is versatile and can have a discussion on various topics. I know women who have high school diplomas but can have more interesting conversations than those that have doctoral degrees.
4. Is she attractive to you? Again, I am not just talking about looks here. Does this woman attract you? Are you drawn to her? Is her quirky humor something you love and do her dimples make your heart melt? She doesn't have to be a bombshell, but there's got to be something about a woman, more than externally, that makes you want to choose her as a wife.
5. Does she have a sense of humor? Life is not only about work, kids, career, etc. Life and marriage should also include loads of laughter, fun and humor. DO NOT MARRY a woman who is always angry and/or depressed and doesn't laugh at the silliest things. Laughter and fun should come easy and not be forced. You should be able to laugh AT each other when appropriate and WITH each other.
6. How is she with material things? Money? If the woman you are considering marrying is materialistic and seems consumed with having money - especially yours, DO NOT MARRY HER. This is very easy to determine. If she spends money freely but questions when you take $20.00 out of the ATM, you have a problem on your hands. If she consistently has to have nice things but fails to even provide you with a gift during special times, you need to run away as fast as you can! This person is stuck on herself and will drain you dry financially and emotionally in a marriage. This doesn't mean that you should be cheap. It means that you should carefully watch and analyze her in different situations. Find out if she has any bankruptcies, judgements or a bad credit history. Trust me, she is trying to find this out about you. Don't be stuck on stupid, men!
7. How was she in a previous relationship? Your emotional, physical and financial security depends on you knowing how she acted in previous relationships, if any. Find out as subtlety as possible. You can't interrogate her or her friends and family like the FBI! However, you can ask questions in a non-prodding, non-intrusive way. Use humor to illicit answers. If you are listening carefully, watching closely for non-verbal signs, etc., the truth will be revealed. Let her know that you are not the man she was with previously. When necessary, let this be known clearly and unequivocally. Be very clear, if necessary, that you will not be disrespected nor mistreated, in any way. Let's be fair, she expects the same from you.
8. Has she ever cheated? When people are "openly dating," there is an understanding that no commitment is in place. It is understood and agreed by both parties that they will "see" other people. When a commitment is in place, both parties understand and agree that a monogamous relationship is in order.
For example, if a teacher gives an exam and clearly states that you cannot use any material to assist, an understanding is in place. If you decide to use methods that go against this understanding, you are cheating (whether you are caught or not). If the teacher states that an exam is "open book" and any materials can be used to assist, there is a clear understanding. If you decide to use your book, this is not cheating.
Men, don't be fooled. Women cheat on their boyfriends and husbands. This is a fact. Don't listen to those that try to excuse or justify the behavior of women that act inappropriately. If it is wrong for men to cheat, it is wrong for women. Period. You need to inquire of your potential wife as to whether or not she has engaged in this type of behavior. An affirmative answer alone should not deter you from marrying her. You need to find out the reasons why and determine if she justifies this behavior or if she is generally remorseful for the deceit. Do not believe the adage that "once a cheat always a cheat." We all make mistakes and its quite possible that you have cheated in a past relationship as well. But you have to be very careful and watchful. If your gut is telling you that your potential wife is cheating, DO NOT MARRY HER. For emotional, physical and health reasons, you have a right to know if she is exposing you to possible physical DRAMA with another man as well as serious sexually transmitted diseases. Ask pointed questions and be observant. Do not allow your potential spouse to get away with cheating just because she is a "female," "emotional," "misunderstood," or "its all your fault because you don't___________ "(fill in the blank). She does not want a potential husband that will put her life at risk. You deserve the same respect!
9. Does she love you? Really? Actions speak louder than words. Some of the best liars are outstanding communicators. That's what make them great at deceiving others. It is not what she says, it's how she says it and what she does. If your car stops on a less travelled road, will she get out of bed to come and get you without debate? Does she comfort you when you are sick? Does she side with you when you are right, even at the expense of losing a good friend, who is obviously wrong? Is she supportive of your career aspirations? Does she accept you for the wonderful person you are or is she attempting to change you? Don't just listen to her say she loves you. Observe how she loves you.
10. Do you have that feeling? More than any quiz, date or trial living arrangement will tell, you can usually know who to choose as a wife just by the feeling you get when you are around her. If you have spent enough time with the woman to truly know her, and if the thought of spending your life with her not only excites you, but makes you long for the day, then you've probably hit upon that precious feeling that will likely leave you on one knee. If you have any doubts, DO NOT MARRY HER. Men, we have intuition as well. START USING IT! Doubts about marrying someone don't pop up the night prior to the wedding. They are a culmination of the experiences you have had with this person since you met. Regardless of what talk show hosts or other relationship-less people have to say, you DO NOT have to marry a woman if you are unsure. DO NOT MARRY a demanding, threatening, nasty-acting woman. It is better to have a few weeks of displeasure at the loss of the relationship rather than a lifetime of pain and depression.
Men, it is important that you exemplify all of the things you want in a mate. Learn to communicate well. Be romantic. Clear up financial problems and be up front about them. Be able to converse on topics other than sports and politics. Be truthful (even if it hurts. DO NOT MARRY a woman that can't handle the truth). Respect and take part in that for which she has a passion. Be helpful. Be respectful; don't be rude. Watch your manners. Be supportive and appreciative of all that she does for you. Do not be verbally or physically abusive (if it ever comes close to this, just walk away - forever). Do not engage her in useless arguments (be firm and resolute; she will get the message soon enough). Clearly communicate the expectations of commitment in the relationship and the ramifications if it is broken. Tell her you love her, often. Touch her affectionately and playfully. Surprise her with unexpected gifts. Do not be a slob. Dress appropriately and use the good grooming skills your mother taught you.
With marriages ending in divorce at alarming rates, it is important for men to choose wisely and carefully in the very beginning. There are many good women that would love to have a charming, wonderful man. Be the best man that you can be and you will attract the right woman, who will ultimately be a great wife.