Monday, June 27, 2011

Spouse Questing 101 : Lesson #3 Draw me a picture

I read Should I Marry Him? and thought it was an excellent article on the topic.
When I was looking for a husband I had a picture in my mind of what sort of man he needed to be. It was a list of what I wanted/needed in a man. I was looking for an overall well balanced human being and I had the list divided into categories that deal with his whole person : mind, spirit, physical & future - this is a random order. Even while I was dating, the priorities on this list sort of jockeyed back and forth for top position -- none on the list was expendable:


  • Fidelity - he had to be someone that wouldn't go out on me and cheat. I didn't want to be ANYONE's sloppy seconds. I was worth more than that.

  • Character Virtues - like honesty, integrity, etc. It's nothing you can train a man to have -- either he comes to you with a solid character or he's not worth having. His parents either did a good job in this area or they didn't.

  • Have a relationship with Christ - This was really important and often showed itself by having the above virtues. I looked for fruit of this in their lives like compassion, maturity, and balance in their reactions to stressful situations. As I personally grew in my Catholic faith, this evolved into wanting a Christ-centered Catholic husband. After dating some very nice men from different denominations, I knew the world-view differences could tear us apart and I needed someone who at the minimum would be willing to convert.

  • Intelligent - I really wanted someone who was smart enough to look up to. What was inside his mind was as attractive to me, if not more attractive, than how he looked. He didn't have to be 'book-smart', he could be fabulous with fixing things or a math-whiz, but an area he'd tilled the soil of his mind to become someone who excelled.

  • Common Sense -- I wanted to be secure in relying on his judgment, particularly in areas that I'm weaker.

  • Secure Self-Identity -- I wanted a man who knew who he was. It's hard to respect someone who doesn't have a good self-identity (you can feel sorry for them, but not respect them). I also wanted someone who was confident enough in himself, to allow me to be myself. If I decided to start a business, go back to school, take up para-sailing or painting, I didn't want a husband who was too insecure to allow me to follow my dreams -- even the ones I hadn't started to dream yet. Plus, I have a VERY strong personality and I wanted someone who could hold their own with me. I didn't want a puppet, but a man.

  • Be madly into ME -- I didn't want someone who was in love with love -or- didn't respect my boundaries -or- just wanted to talk about himself...but someone who thought the sun rose and set on ME and wanted to make ME happy more than he wanted to please himself.

  • Treat me like a Princess - I wanted a knight who valued my dignity and treated me with kid gloves. I knew that, as a helpmate & a nurturer, it's easy for a woman to be taken for granted. Even while that's bound to happen, I wanted a man who would be looking out for my best interest - looking for my better-self, not just use me. Using isn't relegated to the physical, but things like watching what I wanted on TV or deferring to my wishes in multiple situations. *ALSO* this category was vital to the safety of myself and my future daughters. A man, no matter his stature, is stronger than a woman. An angry man is really, really, really strong. They are potentially very dangerous. I wanted a man who could keep his anger in check, no matter how mad I made him.

  • Hard Worker - I explain this under "Looking to the Future".

  • Perfect kissing height - I'm 5'6", so to stand with feet firmly planted (not on tip toe) and have to tip my head back in a comfortable position, he needed to be about 5'10. [at the time I didn't realize how much our kissing would be when one of us is sitting down and the other is leaving the room]
Looking to the Future

  • Hard Worker - Even if we didn't accumulate financially, (which would be nice but wasn't top on my list), I wanted someone who wasn't lazy. I'd seen fun, lazy dads who allowed their children to suffer from want of something and who didn't go get a second job, go back to school, or do whatever it took to care for their family. I wanted a dad who would provide for his family.

  • Nurturing - I was NOT just looking for a husband. I was choosing a father for the 5 or 6 kids I wanted to have. The example of a dad for a boy who will eventually become a man is immeasurable - he needs a model to know HOW to become a man. The gentleness and attention a girl needs from her daddy to become confident and secure can not be replaced by anything else.

I studied a prospective mate like I was going to have to take a test on him. I am/was a child of divorce and knew the devastating consequences of failing this test. I wasn't willing to put any sweet baby God gave me through the pain of being ripped limb from limb that divorce brings with it.

I didn't go into this process thinking I could change a man. A man is a man, and is often an immovable object. They will change, as will you, but not in ways that can be foreseen or manipulated, even by the best of intentions. I'd seen very very sorrowful women try to change the men in their lives and it left them with regret.

After you've made your list - read this article by Elizabeth Foss. Balance and competing advice from another loving Catholic mom all help you mature and see the world in all its complexity.

#1 Job - Pray. Know yourself well enough to know what you want. Pray.

#2 Job - Pray. Draw a picture of what your ideal spouse would look like. Put it on paper. Read it over. Look for those same characteristics in your dad, uncle, best guy friend. Pray. If you find a characteristic you want in your husband, add it to the list. Tape to your bedroom wall. Pray.

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