To actually stay married for life?
If so, good for you. It's possible. A good goal. Not gonna lie, it's hard, but it IS possible. The best headstart you can give yourself is choosing a good man to marry. They are out there!
Yesterday we held out 10 qualities to see if your man is a keeper...a man that will make a good husband in the long run.
Today, let's talk about YOU. Your outlook on life and marriage. These are outlooks that will help or hinder you from being the wife that he can marry one time, for life.
1. Marriage works best when two whole people, confident and complete within themselves, marry each other. If each person feels like a half, searching for someone to complete them, they will most likely end up disappointed in marriage. No other person can complete you. Work on becoming "whole" yourself, in your own identity and in your relationship with Jesus, the ultimate Fulfiller. Choose a man who is complete on his own also, confident in himself and his relationship with God. Two wholes make a marriage. Two halfs make a hole that will never be filled. Are you looking for someone to make you feel better and complete? Or are you your own person with confidence and goals, who happens to find someone you'd like to live your life out with? Have your own dreams for your life. Be a whole person with or without him. Be confident.
2. Don't marry a dream. What you have is what you get. Aren't girls infamous for thinking "I'll change him?" You won't. Or "things will be different when we're married?" It won't. So, don't marry what you want him to become, or the idea of what you want marriage to be. Look very clearly at what you have NOW because that is what you have. If you don't have it dating, you won't have it married. Is that too blunt?
3. Keep your standards high before marriage. Don't marry what you're not willing to live with. This is tricky, because some girls' standards are so high they will never marry. Then again, some girls explain away flaws that they'd rather not see, in order to not be alone. That understood, it is still important to keep your standards high if you want a really good man. This leads us to point #4.
4. You want to have high standards before marriage, but depending on how you think, with some girls it's a fine line between high standards and expecting perfection. Even in high standards, you can't expect perfection. You won't get every single thing you want in one man. It's impossible. Be picky, but not unrealistic. No one is perfect and guys will make mistakes. As will you. Which leads me to point #5.
5. You need to have someone older and more mature in your life to help you decide if some mistakes are immaturity and forgivable, or if they are deal breakers. Sometimes you can only see that if you're older and have lived longer, so a mentor friend is very valuable. More on that below.
6. Don't unfairly judge your man based off of what has become dubbed as "chick porn". Chick porn consists of all the love stories, books and movies that portray boyfriends as perfectly charming, impossibly good looking and always "on" in the ultra romantic department. They slay dragons and run through the crowded streets of Manhattan to chase a taxi down in order to propose to the waiting female. Most guys aren't going to live up to that romantic Hollywood ideal. That's not entirely real.
You don't want to be judged by guy porn, do you? Girls that aren't entirely real? He shouldn't be judged on our girl version of porn, utter and total perfect romance at all times. It makes for a great movie, but then many are dissatisfied with the real guy next to them on the couch. Think about it.
That said, I would worry about a dating relationship where there was NO romance, pursuit or adventure. Most guys will muster up romance during the dating phase to win you over and that is a big part of dating! It's good to feel pursued and romanced, to know that he really wants you.
7. Let a good guy be a good guy, without having to be THAT guy. Banners and posters, flying leaps out of airplanes, and heart shapes mowed into cornfields are not going to last. They are endearing, yes, and make for great memories and pictures. But sometimes a guy who simply asks you, face to face, to the prom (or to marry him) is a good guy. (For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, asking a girl to a dance, a prom or to marry him has of late become an art form. One that I wonder about- are guys intimidated by this? Have girls become too demanding in their expectations of romance and exploits for simple invitations? Guys, be thoughtful, respectful, charming and maybe even romantic in your invitations to girls, but save the big one for a marriage proposal.) Girls, if he's speaking to you face to face and is sincere and thoughtful, receive it, even if there's not fanfare. If he happens to be strumming a guitar singing a song written just for you, good for you, enjoy it!
8. Tell yourself the truth. Girls, we are SO good at lying to ourselves, seeing what we want to see and explaining away red flags. Ask friends who care about you and are brave enough to tell you the truth. The ones you're afraid to ask. If a lot of people close to you are questioning you two as a couple, listen carefully to that. Ask yourself why you're afraid to talk to some friends about him. Listen to family. Be honest with yourself about any red flags you see. Everyone I know who is now divorced say they ignored red flags before getting married. Divorce is an extremely painful process. Listen now, even though it's hard. It'll be harder later.
9. Take it slow. Enjoy the process. Enjoy friendship. Don't rush it. We live in an impatient culture that hurries everything along. Instead of acting like you're married, (going on trips together, spending Christmas morning with them, living together, having sex, having him read marriage books with you) just date and see if you enjoy each other. Hang out, have fun, be friends, date. You can add all those other things when it becomes appropriate. Some things are better and less complicated when waited for.
10. Make your decision a matter of much prayer. Follow peace in your heart. God will direct you. He wants good things for your life, so let Him in on this decision- the biggest decision of your life. He knows your heart, your life and what is best for you.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself-
1. Do you really, really love him?
2. Does he bring peace or drama to your life?
3.Does he make you a better person? Are you freer to be yourself or do you feel controlled?
4. Have you lived through each season together? Summer, fall, winter, spring? Have you been through some "life" together? Hit a bump or two? it's good to be together long enough to have a challenge or two to work out.
5. Are the things that bug you when dating deal breakers, or livable? If it bothers you now, it will only escalate in marriage. Ex. If the issue is that he's messy, you are able to deal with that. You may not like it, but you can learn to deal with it. If the issue is he cheated on you when dating, that's a deal breaker. Talk it over with your older mentor friend who has lived longer than you. Almost 100% of affairs I've heard of in adult married couples had cheating involved during dating or engaged years. That's a serious issue that will probably be repeated, so you need to talk to someone about it.