Have you ever asked yourself “How did a nice girl like that end up with a jerk of a husband?” I have and I can say the same about some nice guys with “not so nice” wives. In today’s post, I am sharing my tips on how to choose a good man.
First, I have to define “good man.” A good man is a man that is a works hard, provides for his family, puts his family first, respects people in general, especially his wife, an attentive husband and father and is an all around good human being. Is this too much to ask? No, not at all and you shouldn’t accept anything less or you will not be happy years into the marriage and neither will your kids.
Although I’m not a psychologist or relationship counselor, I do have some experience in this area. I was in a long-term relationship for 8 years and broke off our engagement, then had a long series of first and second dates for 10 years until I finally met my “good man” and now husband. We’ve been married for 6 years and have been blessed with two cute, healthy little boys. It took me a long time to find happiness.
For the ten years I was looking for a husband and future father to my children, my dates were very much like the movie “Must Love Dogs” starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. It is a very funny movie and I could relate to it a little too well. While I saw women around me finding a new man weeks after
their break ups, I kept thinking there must be something wrong with me that I couldn’t find a good man. Finally, a wise male friend pointed out I wasn’t the problem at all.
My mistake was lowering the bar when I wasn’t finding that my expectations weren’t being met. I thought maybe I was asking for too much. Maybe it was too much to ask for a guy to buy me dinner on the first date. Really? Am I just old school? I don’t think so.
Another big mistake of mine was trying to find a guy that was similar to my ex-boyfriend minus the drinking problem. I wanted my new guy to be tall like him, outgoing like him, etc. People told me I was doing it but, I didn’t see it myself for years. My husband is very different from my ex-boyfriend in many ways. Looking back, I know I never would have been happy if I married my first love.
I believe that there are many components to why we choose our relationship partners. Some of it stems from our childhoods such as, how our fathers treated our mothers and vice versa and how mothers treat their sons, and dads treat their girls. I believe these relationships set the stage for our future relationships. For example, if a mother is very nurturing, caring, and builds up her son’s ego, he will likely expect the same treatment of his future wife and look for his wife to fulfill the same type role in his life. This is important. I do think men tend to look for similar characteristics their mothers have with their wife. It is what they’ve grown up with and become accustomed to. Obviously, this is not true in every situation. If a son was very unhappy with his mother from childhood, he may look for very different characteristics in his wife but, many times I see the same pattern emerge even when he was generally unhappy with his mother as a child. For example, if a guy’s mother is controlling, he may find a wife that is also controlling because he used to being controlled.
Your man should treat you like a queen! That doesn’t mean he should spend his whole paycheck on you every other week. It means he should respect you and your feelings. He should NOT be selfish. He should be a man of his word. Marriage is hard even in the best circumstances because two individuals commingling their lives brings on its inherent challenges. The more similarities you have, the easier it will be to avoid arguments. You don’t have to agree on most things but, you should agree on the big things that will affect your life together. Don’t agree to things you have no intention of accepting. It will cause lots of problems in the future.
Here are my tips of what to look for when dating:
Does he have substance abuse problems? Don’t ever accept this type of behavior. This is what Dr. Phil calls a deal breaker and I completely agree. If you think it will be o.k. to be with an alcoholic, then I suggest you go talk to women or men who have been married to one. Ask them the impact it’s had on their marriage and children. As for drugs, that can be far worse. Stay away from it.
How does he treat his mother? Is he respectful to her? Does he visit her and do things for her? Look closely at the relationship he has with his mother. If she demeans him and is controlling of him, he may have issues. If he still lives with his mother after the age of 21, he should have a very good reason.
How does he treat people in general? When you go out to eat, does he treat the servers with respect? If his steak comes out well done and he asked for medium well, does he yell at the server and call the cook an idiot? Does he help his friends when they need a hand? Does he talk badly about people, in particular his ex-girlfriends? There are nice ways to say things. I find a lot of time when people are demeaning others, it is because they have a problem with themselves. Look out for these people. You’ll never be happy in a relationship with them, even if you are just friends.
Is he a man of faith? If he is involved in his place of worship, he will at least be reminded that he should live a life where he is treating others well. I know faith is not important to many but, this is where I think being involved in and finding your faith can make you a better person, husband and parent. Values, morals and a good character is important. If he yells at the server when he/she brings him an overcooked steak, what do you think he’ll do when you do the same years into your relationship?
Ask yourself this important question: Does he get better as you get to know him or does he get worse as you get to know him? This simply means that while you are dating, if you keep finding things that don’t sit well with you (red flags) then it will probably not work out in the end. If he keeps getting better, meaning he keeps doing things that set him apart from other men you’ve dated in a good way, then he is probably a keeper!
8 Important Things to Think About When You are Dating:
- Does he have substance (including alcohol) abuse problems?
- Is he mentally, emotionally or physically abusive?
- How does he treat his mother and father? How is his relationship with his mother, in particular?
- How does he treat your family? Your parents, siblings, your children from a prior relationship?
- Does he treat strangers with respect? Homeless people, waiters, airline attendants, cab drivers
- Is he financially secure? Does he spend money wisely? Can he provide for a family? Does he donate to charities?
- Does he have a difficult ex-wife who uses his children to get back at him?
- Are you in agreement with his religious faith or are you o.k. with his lack of faith?
- Does he want children? Do you agree on how to raise (i.e. discipline, religion, etc.) your future children? How does he treat his existing children?
(This list can be applied to women too)
These are very important questions to ask yourself and him. My husband and I went to a pre-marriage counseling session at our church that we found helpful. We discussed about 200 questions about our relationship. Some questions, I hadn’t given much thought to prior to the questionnaire. It really gave us a chance to think deeply about what we expected from each other. We went over any answers that were not the same as each other and discussed them with our pastor.
Who you marry is one of the most important decisions in your life! It could even be the most important in some cases. The outcome of your marriage(s) usually affect(s) your children the most. Careful thought should be put into selecting the right man, especially if you have children from a prior relationship. Choose a good man, treat him well (men need respect too along with a nice, home cooked meal sometimes) and you will be happy.
My name is Joanne Schweitzer and I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my husband and our 3 and 4 yr. old boys- one loves to eat almost everything often while the other loves to eat sweets and chips often! I put my career in Information Technology as a Business Systems Analyst and Quality Assurance Tester in the financial services industry on hold to become a Stay-at-Home-Mom four years ago when our first son was born. It was quite a transition but, challenging and welcomed. I believe in cooking good, quality food for my family and friends. I’d like to share my cooking, DIY and traveling adventures with all of you.