Dating is weird, right? You’re basically interviewing (and being interviewed) for a job you don’t know how to do, and a job you maybe haven’t even seen done well. So, how do you know that person has what it takes to be your husband or your wife?
Here’s 3 things, characteristics, qualities, your significant other has to have before you even think seriously about “I Do.”
Kids are great. However, I would never want to be married to one. I mean for the obvious reasons that that’s gross, but also they don’t have any sense of responsibility.
My kids have chores starting at 4 years old. We say, “Four means chore.” We already do things like cleaning up their room, occasional “helping mom” stuff, but at 4, you get your first responsibility. (It’s sorting the clean silverware into the drawer.) When I open the dishwasher to unload, the kids are there to do their job. They actually get angry when I decide to do it for them because they’re outside playing or whatever. John says “Just leave it for me, mom, or call me inside. It’s MY job.” (He’s five.)
My kids have more responsibility than some people. Sad, but true.
Responsibility is not an easy lesson, and some people will never learn it. You can be friends with those people, I guess, if you want, but never marry those people. They will cause you nothing but heartache and pain.
Does your spouse take responsibility for the way things are in their life, are they actively looking to both grow and maintain what they have? Are the things in their life stable or going?
Obviously, marriage is a commitment. However, it should never be the FIRST commitment you’ve ever decided to make.
Has the person you’re interested in ever finished something they’ve started, or maintained a long-term commitment to a job or a hobby? Have they finished a degree, whether that be high school, trade school, or university? Have they used all of their sick days calling in from work because they can’t get out of bed?
People like to pretend marriage commitment is different than, say, waking up every day to go to work, but it isn’t any different of a commitment. Sooner or later, you’ll be fighting and everything in you will want to walk out that door and stay at your mom’s house, and the thing that will keep you standing in that room is the fact that you made a commitment. Do you think your spouse is responsible enough to uphold a commitment like that?
When I had my wisdom teeth out, my then-boyfriend Brian drove me to my appointment, stayed there while I had the procedure, held my hand while I was coming down off meds and apparently saying some crazy crap, and drove me home where he tucked me in to bed and lounged around the house in case I needed him.
Did I mention, he’s the best?
Girls tell me stories of their boyfriends sometimes. The girls will get sick, and the boyfriend will literally tell them, “oh, that sucks. Well, call me when you get better.” They’re interested in the girl at their best, but not the girl at their worst.
There will come a time when you need your spouse to take care of you, from simple colds to major medical procedures, to those occasional emotional moments when you just really need someone to listen and be there for you. You need to know your spouse will be intensely attentive to your needs. And, what if that medical need lasts not a week, but months?
If you’re wondering whether your boyfriend will be the same way, it’s pretty easy to snuff out, even if you don’t have a close relationship with him. The things that he is responsible for, whether that be a pet, apartment, house, sister, etc, are those things not only surviving, but thriving? Does he care about the state of those things? Does he look worried when his dog is sick? Does he spend money taking care of those things? And as you have needs, does he take care of you, even if you’re perfectly able to take care of yourself? And, if you have an occasion where you CAN’T take care of yourself, like my wisdom-teeth situation, is he there offering care? Is he able to take control of the situation and divert resources to you?
I knew my husband would help me through the ordeal of pregnancy and kids because of the wisdom teeth ordeal. I know if I got hit by a car tomorrow and lost the use of my legs, he’d take care of me.
A big thing to remember is that we are all works in progress. We can’t be looking for the perfect person, but a person who holds these characteristics, or is actively working on them, will make your marriage start off on the right foot.