Michel de Montaigne
Sweetheart, you are at an age when the possibility of you finding the “man of your dreams” will become more and more of a reality over the next several years. I know that once you are involved emotionally, it will be hard to offer you any advice that may seem to be negative or non-supportive. For this reason, allow me to suggest the following seven “potential husband” attributes that I think you should look for as you filter through the muddy swamp full of men to find the one that sparkles for you.
I hope he is handsome but I am more interested in him being happy with who he is. “Tall, dark and handsome” is much less important than “self-confident, content and happy”. If he is the latter, he will have a solid base from which he can grow his love for you. If he is comfortable with himself in the purest of ways…if his self-confidence is not based on other’s opinions, he will be able to love you in ways that reach far beyond the “tall, dark and handsome” mannequin in the window. His self-confidence will manifest itself daily because even when things get tough, he will not second guess himself in choosing you as a wife or in his ability to take care of you.
Industrious Hard Worker
We hope he is a man of means but I am more interested in him being industrious and a hard worker. If he comes to you penniless but is a working man, he will be a good provider and you will call your poverty a blessing. It will be temporary and you and he will work yourselves out of it. The weary bones and muscles that you will endure together as the decades pass by will be a balm to your souls. I am sure that he will be able to take care of you and your family if he is industrious and a hard worker. An additional benefit you will receive if he is industrious will be that your children will have a better chance of learning how to work and how to relate effort to outcome and expectations. You must make sure that your children learn the difference between caring for the needy and enabling the lazy. A husband who works hard for his family will help towards this end immensely.
We hope he loves you and we will know it by how much he respects you. The cuddly romantic displays of love are nice but not impressive to your mom and me. We want to know that he respects you as a person and appreciates the wisdom, intellect, and opinions that we have spent our lives helping you develop. If he respects you he will not try to dominate you. If he respects you his love will always stay vibrant and will survive the tough times that are sure to come. If he respects you he will love you as a person not just as his wife or mother of his children. If he respects you he will defend you and your honor and your passions and will always stand amazed at his good fortune to be your husband.
Committed to You
We hope he loves us but we are most interested in him loving you and being committed to you more than to us or to his own family. We hope he is a great son-in-law but we will be content if he is a great father and husband. We will see you at family gatherings and vacations and look forward to visits with the grandkids…but you will belong to each other and that will become the most important bond in your life. Decisions on where to raise your kids and how to raise your kids will be a joint decision between the two of you. Though you may get advice and counsel from the outside, a partner that is committed to finding the solutions that are comfortable for both of you will create more peace and harmony in your relationship.
Makes You Smile
We hope he makes us laugh but will be happy if he makes you smile. There is no reason to live your marriage in agony and stress. Those moments will come but they should be fleeting. I hope that he loves life. I hope that he is kind to you and to those around him. I hope that you enjoy being around each other and that laughter rings throughout your home even if you find entertainment in laughing at your own mistakes and foibles. I hope that you enjoy just being with him…that a car ride across the country with him would be entertaining to you because of his ability to create happiness amidst the misery. A smile on your face is worth far more than anything that money can buy.
A Man of Faith
I hope he is a man of faith. He does not have to have all of the answers but the questions should make him humble not cynical. It is a cop-out to quit on faith because you have questions that are unanswerable. It will take a man of deeper understanding to ponder the universe and to know that there is something bigger and more important than him. This will allow him to appreciate you in a more noble sense as he understands that he is not the center of the universe.
He Challenges You
I hope that he treats you like a princess but doesn’t do everything for you. It will be awesome if he opens the door for you but in things that really matter, I hope he allows you to be challenged. When you are challenged you grow and you will find contentment and satisfaction your whole life when you are growing. I hope he makes you bait your own hook and balance the checkbook. I hope you take turns managing the family budget and household finances. Sweetheart, be a princess and a giver not a spineless royal pain who takes and takes while always expecting more. I hope he demands the best of you without taking away your ability to try and fail and try yet again. The balance between expecting the best from each other while still allowing each other to be human is a talent that both of you should develop.
I am a man and I know men. I know what our weaknesses are and what our tendencies are. I know that my son-in-law will not be perfect…but I do want him to be capable of improving and growing because you will make him better if he lets you. He can and should be your best friend and the person that adores you the most in this world because when I am gone from this world, he will be just that. However, yours should be a mission of patience and love because it is not easy to get rid of our manly rough spots all at once. In fact, I think you may want him to keep a few of those rough spots, even if it may seem annoying to you at times. It may take years, but if he has the basics of self-confidence, is a hard worker, has respect for you, is committed to you, makes you smile and loves life, is a man of faith, and allows you to be challenged, you will have the foundation for a great life together.
I love you sweetheart. You are a treasure to your mom and me. And if, as fate would have it, you bring home a man who possesses none of the attributes I have described, know that we love you… and know that we will love him also…and we will love him as long as you can endure being around him and until such time that you throw him back into the swamp. If that time comes you will know it because he is just no longer worth the trouble. Use your brain in addition to your heart as you select the man with whom you will raise the next generation of our family.
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