Am I asking too much of the husband that I don’t have?
Maybe you never did this, but when I was a teen it was popular among girls of my stripe to write ‘wish lists’ of what we wanted in our future husbands. Since I was a goody-goody nice Christian girl, I wrote a lengthly list containing things like ‘must be passionately chasing after Jesus’ and ‘must serve in a church’ and eschewed shallow things like ‘tall, dark, and handsome’.
Mmm… tall, dark, and handsome.
As I age (yeah, the ripe age of 24, ha ha) my lists have taken on a pragmatic edge. At fourteen I could barely look a guy in the face. Now I’ve had the joy and pain of working with heaps of them, including a couple of tall, dark, gorgeous jerkfaces. The more I know what I definitely don’t want, the more the good comes into sharp relief.
But I’m beginning to think even this new list may be too idealistic. Let me list off a few items, and you can give me some feedback.
1. Must Not Live With His Mother
I don’t condemn the guys who live in their mom’s basement… exactly. I know there are good reasons, and given the chance for a do over, I’d stay there a little longer too. But I moved out of my childhood home at eighteen, and have been autonomous ever since. I’ve forgotten what it was like to have a self-replenishing fridge, and self-washing dishes, and to get home from work and have dinner waiting for me.
I figure, if I would enter a relationship with a young man who has not lived independently, I will just replace his Mom as the fridge-replenisher and become the bad guy who reminds him to pay the rent bill and pick up eggs after work. I want to be on equal footing with him. I’d rather duke it out over HOW to run the home than have to teach him how to use a washing machine.
Is that horrible of me? It sounds horrible when I read it.
2. Spends Very Little Time on Video Games
It’s not that I’m against video games, but the idea of a grown man spending hours in front of a TV, fighting imaginary battles, playing imaginary sports games and racing imaginary cars is unsettling and borderline on ridiculous. I’m sorry.
Some might say the same about writing fiction, I don’t know.
Is life so boring that he must escape into an imaginary world? Does he have no real battle to fight–no passionate pursuit? Is he just lazy? I can understand a bit of TV or gaming to unwind. But hours upon hours of valuable time that can never be replaced?
3. Has Basic Financial Competency
If he can’t make a monthly budget, I don’t care if he looks like a GQ model. I have worked VERY hard to learn financial skills. I’m no accounting whiz, but I respect my money and do my best to be fiscally responsible. Does he have to be wealthy? Heck no! Gainfully employed with a realistic picture of his cashflow? Absolutely.
Now, how does one ask about this without sounding like a nosy gold digger?
4. A Desire to Do Better, Be Better
In a word: ambition. He may not know what his life’s work will be yet, but he isn’t content to coast through life. Whatever job he has, he does his best at. He reads and learns constantly. He examines himself and when he sees something he doesn’t like, he works on it. He wants to leave a legacy, not just a grave marker, when he dies.
Turns out, this is a tall order. I have met very few young men who pursue excellence. But because excellence is so important to me, I know that if he does not, I will not be able to respect him as he deserves. It is very important to me that I can respect my husband. I ask no more of him than I ask of myself. Not perfection, but a hunger for growth.
5. A Man of Courage and Character
I’ve worked with men who lie when the truth is inconvenient, cut corners to save effort, and would rather ignore (or rant about) a problem then fix it. I doubt they realize how detrimental this is to relationships. They lie to save my feelings, or cut a corner rather than correct me. They want to be liked–I get that. But I don’t trust them, so their amiable personality means little.
Over the years I’ve learned that truth isn’t as black and white as I thought, and honesty is much more difficult than just not telling a untruth. But I need to know that he isn’t a coward. He tries his best to do what is right. He’s not going to lie to get himself out of a hard place. He’s not going to cheat on something because it’s little and ‘doesn’t matter.’
If he cheats at a card game, he’ll cheat on anything. It’s just a matter of time.
6. A Man Who Loves Jesus
Honestly, the other four don’t mean anything without this one.
The passionate pursuit thing? Life experience tells me that the burning flame of enthusiasm waxes and wanes, but love stays the course no matter what. I have a passion to write. Sometimes writing is fun, even euphoric. Sometimes writing is drudgery. But I never give up. Same deal here.
To love and to be loved by Jesus is transformative, and this man’s life will bear evidence of that transformation.
So How Am I Doing?
Are any of these unrealistic?
I said it already: I don’t ask of him any more than I ask of myself. And I don’t want him to BE me. I’d probably kill him. One of me is enough, trust me! But could there possibly be a man who lives life as intently as I do? Or am I expecting too much of the poor sap?
What would you add to the list?
6 thoughts on “Do I Ask Too Much of a Husband?”
A man who would care for you in your old age as well!
If I had a 24 year-old sister looking for a man, I would not only confirm your list, but add a few more.
a) be able to fix things around the house. Plumbing, electrical, fixtures and appliances – those are yours dude.
b) be debt free and be invested toward retirement. Other than having a back-breaking monthly mortgage, owe no man anything – including no car payment. And have started a 401k, 403b, IRA, or other retirement plan – even if it has less than $10K invested. (You’re gonna marry my sister with no plan?)
c) be kind, but also be tough. Walk little old ladies across the street and all that. but if some other dude derides you for these niceties, beat the crap out of the guy.
d) read; it should be a habit.
e) stand up to your wife and take ownership of your role as husband. (Why you married into our family is a mystery to me – but as long as you are here, make your voice heard.)
Ha ha, I like your list. :). I agree. The financial specifics needn’t be there, but you are definitely right about having a plan.
For me, important things in a partner for life are mutual respect and attraction. But i do think those are the only things. You don’t choose who you fall in love with, not even whether they are male or female, live with their parents, are monetarily ambitious, happen to have the same religion as you, and already be converted to it…. but if you are still in a position where you completely respect each other, I think any one of these things can be overcome. However, you really do have to respect them. If having no money or a different sex or being a different religion makes you unable to be attracted to or respect them, it won’t work. And if they don’t respect you, you shouldn’t try to make it work. Shopping lists are great, but I could never have made my bloke up with a fantasy list and he’s… despite being of different religious beliefs, now financially dependent on me (but working towards a pretty impressive ambition), and *sigh* somewhat more into blooming computer games than I am… on my wavelength, deep and interesting to speak to, attractive and ….. just right. Good luck.
Some things are set in stone for me–like religious beliefs. Others I’m willing to bend on (plays video games).
I DO believe that love is a choice, but I’m (uncomfortably) aware that it probably won’t look like I pictured it.
Thanks for weighing in!