Picking a wife is the most important decision a man will ever make. “Is she the one? How do I know if she’s the one?” These are questions almost every man ends up asking himself. While divorce rates are the lowest in 40 years, it’s still wise to put serious thought into who you’re going to marry. Because the goal of marriage is not simply to avoid a divorce. The goal is to have a relationship that thrives. Here are five principles you can use to make a solid choice.
“Is she the one?” It’s the question that most men ask themselves at some point in life. Now, let’s be clear. I don’t think there is a ONE. Oneitis, the idea that each of us has a soulmate, the yin to our yang, the jelly to our peanut butter, doesn’t seem right to me. There are almost four billion women in the word. It doesn’t make sense that there’s only one of them that can enhance your life.
Plus I think it’s a pretty dangerous idea for either men or women. It’s bad enough to get your heart broken. There’s no need to add on the idea that the rest of your life is now ruined because your “soulmate” rejected you.
So the real question is “How do I know if she’s someone I should marry?” And that’s a helluva complicated question. There’s no way to answer it about any particular woman. But I can give you a few principles that will help as you ponder the question.
1. She needs to share your values. You need someone who shares your worldview. She should define right and wrong in a similar way as you. You both should apply those definitions similarly. You both should have a similar view of history and how the world is unfolding. You should both care about the same things. To be sure, no two people will agree on everything. None. So don’t expect it or require it. But, your religious, moral, and political leanings should be very similar. If your worldviews clash, you and your wife will clash on almost everything in life. And that’s no way to live.
2. She needs to share your mission. You’re probably not ready to get married until you have a sense of what you want out of life. You don’t need a full road map. You’ll spend the rest of your life filling in the gaps and expanding it. But you should have a sense of what you want. Do you want kids? How many? Do you plan to be an employee or an entrepreneur or both? Will you work regular hours and be home for dinner or not? Will you travel with your job or business? Whatever those details are, she needs to want them for you. And you need to have a clear sense of how she will enhance those things.
3. She needs to have a history of commitment. You should be able to see a history of long-term, healthy relationships in her life. Otherwise, you’re taking a huge risk. You’d be entering into a long-term relationship with someone who has not proven she can maintain a long-term relationship. Hopping from friend to friend, man to man, and job to job are serious red flags. They’re indicators that she (a) has terrible judgment or (b) bolts when conflict occurs. Those are not good characteristics for a wife.
4. She needs to be likable. Life is bumpy. It’s not fair. You will face obstacles. It will not go as planned. Money will be made and lost. Accidents will happen. Children will be born. Parents will die. Appliances will break. Houses will need repairs. In short, every marriage will face stress from every angle on a regular basis. The woman you marry determines whether you will face that stress with someone who eases it or someone who adds to it. A likable woman, one who doesn’t freak out when stressed, brings a peace to life that is priceless.
5. She needs to respect you. This may be the most important quality on the list. A man’s greatest emotional need is to be respected. We want to be liked. We want to be loved. But we need to be respected. And its hard to overstate the impact your wife has on this. She has the ability to make you feel like an incompetent loser. Or she can make you feel 10-feet tall and bulletproof. If you find one who makes you feel like you can conquer the world, you probably need a good reason not to wife her up.
This list is not exhaustive. There are other things that may matter more to some. But it’s a strong starting point. As you evaluate your woman, let me leave you with two important points.
Pay attention to what she does, not what she says. When emotions are running high, we’re tempted to say whatever we think will get us what we want. That doesn’t mean she’ll lie to you (although she might). It does mean that she may simply tell you what you want to hear. So, pay more attention to her actions than her words. If her actions don’t show you that she shares your worldview, that she can hold a relationship, that she’s likable, and that she respects you, I’d pass on her. There are plenty of fantastic women out there.
Get input from your friends. She’s not the only one who will be experiencing some serious emotions during this period. You will too. So your judgment will be clouded. You’ll see nothing but her physical beauty. You’ll only think about how she makes you feel when she’s around. You’ll be tempted to ignore red flags or rationalize them away.
But your friends can see her without clouded judgment. They can give you honest feedback about what they see. You’d be very wise to listen to them. That doesn’t mean they’ll be right. It means you should give serious consideration to what they say.
Ultimately, it’s your life, so you have to make the decision you think is best. But you’ll make a better decision after hearing some input that is not clouded by emotion. If you don’t have friends you trust to give you input on these kinds of things, you probably need to start there before getting married. Here are some resources on the topic. Picking a wife will never be simple, but having good friends significantly increases your chance of success.
There’s no decision that will have a greater impact on your life than picking a wife. Your wife has the power to make your life heaven or hell. Follow these principles and get the input of your friends, and you’ll have a much better chance of success. This is the man’s life. Godspeed.