Is He Husband Material?
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” -Anonymous
The dinner party seemed sweet enough. Then 4 wives of my man’s best buds plus one chick’s mama cornered me in the kitchen for the whole “when are you getting married” convo. In the past it was easy to laugh off, but today they were serious. By the time one woman said that I was “playing myself” by dating so many years without jumping the broom, I was in tears.
Never mind that when we met I was in college. Forget that I had no desire to be married. I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that these women were all married and miserable. Call it PMS or the fast march to 30, but on this day they had me. I thought that I was unmarried because I wasn’t ready, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe I just wasn’t wife enough.
Unfortunately I didn’t realize until after the rock, the Ritz-Carlton wedding and the place in Westchester that he wasn’t husband enough.
Human beings are communal.
We need each other to get through this world. However, not everyone should get married.
We’ve all seen women fighting over some dude that seems unfit for one, much less two. These “Tyrones” seem like obvious vetoes, but what about the superficial Good On Paper guys? They can also be “GOPpys,” as in guppies, small fish. He may have the right look, career path and pedigree, but nobody’s degrees (not even your own) are going to snuggle with you.
What about being wife material?
Much is already made of being “wife material.” From the absurd “can you make a hoe a housewife?” to the reductive “are women too picky?” We will have lessons about this in the future.
Here are 8 qualities to look for to determine whether the object of your goddess affection is Mr. Right or just Mr. Right Now.
1. Self-love, vulnerability and availability.
These critical qualities are usually not considered when discussing the measure of a man but if he can’t love himself how will he love you? If his idea of self-love is a flashy car, go deeper. Is there anything else there?
In terms of vulnerability, is he open and available? Is this person emotionally present and physically available to be in partnership with you?
2. Vision of love.
The vision for your love life is a map of your joint thoughts, ideals, shared values and expectations as a couple. What is his vision for your relationship? Part of the annoying beauty of life is that there is no certainty. However, if you’re trying to get to Paris you need to make darned sure that the plane you’re on is heading that way.
3. His “relationship resume.”
The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. We all have the potential to grow but the only man you can change yourself is one in diapers. Does he have the capacity to commit? Would his exes would come forward to testify on his behalf?
Love is a daily choice. When the sexy endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin take a break you need a foundation. Are you friends? Can you talk about hot button issues? Can you say, ‘Babe, I love you but sometimes you suck?’
5. Emergency capacity and spiritual foundation.
In a perfect relationship you inspire each other to be better. However, one or both of you may need the counsel of a therapist, marriage coach or pastor at some point. Does he seem open to the idea of pre-marital counseling? Life happens. Is this a ride or die dude?
When I say that a man must be generous some women picture shopping sprees. That’s fun too, but I am talking about selfishness and selflessness. Being a partner and certainly a parent will require sacrifice. Is this person capable of that?
Researchers from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project studied emotional generosity in marriage. How often does he show affection? Is he willing to forgive? Someone who is emotionally stingy may not be capable of loving when you disappoint.
In terms of being spiritually generous, does he give to other human beings? Does he give to you willingly? Sorry to be blunt but a cheap bastard is probably going to remain cheap.
7. Conflict resolution and communication.
Often in soulmate relationships, you meet and the person seems perfect. Then all hell breaks loose because you trigger each other’s childhood issues. Does this person have the capacity to get through this?
The Gottman Training Institute can predict the likelihood of divorce based on how couples fight. If people learned how to reconcile after a fight, marriages became stable. Get communication tools. Check out the “5 Love Languages,” Imago Relationship Theory or learn your partner’s Myer’s Briggs personality category to give you an edge.
8. Sense of humor.
Sure, he can laugh at Kevin Hart but can your man laugh at himself? Life is (hopefully) long and filled with mishaps. It’s going to be rough going if he can’t see the lighter side of things.
Marriage can be a beautiful and life-giving institution. Give yourself and your family a fighting chance by choosing a partner who is committed to passionately growing with you and co-creating a powerful vision of the best life adventure possible. Make sure that you also have all of the qualities that you’re seeking.
This Week’s Homework
Complete these questions in a notebook. You may want to form a Love School Playgroup with your friends to do these assignments. Take 5 deep, cleansing breaths to get centered and begin.
1. If you are seeking wedded bliss, write 3 paragraphs about why marriage matters to you.
2. What makes you “wife material?”
3. List 10 values that matter in your life.
4. List 10 non-physical or material qualities that you seek in a life partner.
5. Write a mission statement for your love life. What is your vision for your life with another person?
- I am open to marrying the love of my life.
- My marriage is loving, caring and compassionate.
- My partner loves, honors, cherishes and adores me. I am safe.
- I deserve to love and be loved, fully and completely.
Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, evolved sexuality and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to JET and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Find love class worksheets, advice videos, coaching, and more at “Abiola’s Love University www.AbiolaTV.com. Email questions to kissandtell@abiolaTV.com or tweet @abiolaTV or #loveclass.