Who would have thought that there are some perks from growing in a broken home and witnessing a broken marriage firsthand? Well, I do.
I grew up in a broken home and witnessed broken marriage firsthand. I watched my parents grow apart from each other – no terms of endearment, no holding of hands, no sweet late-night pillow talks. One had the master bedroom for her own, and the other technically married the couch. I have heard unpleasant shouting, and have seen them hurt each other – verbally and physically.
It was quite the environment one wishes not to grow up in. But I love my parents; I’ve forgiven them for the pain they’ve caused me. Believe it or not, the situation I grew up in did not make me indifferent towards marriage, and I have God to thank for that.
For what it’s worth, it made me extra cautious and wise in dating as I age. I do not take courtship lightly and I’ve always made it a point to set marriage as a goal for prospective partners. I have built lofty standards for a future partner that it became a tough wall to break, and my game was not always easy to pull off. Guys get pretty intimidated and rumor has it that I’ll end up single my whole life. That was how I came to believe that men who can successfully climb the wall mean serious business.
While there are lots of disadvantages in my upbringing, I also see some benefits from this experience that I can apply when the time comes for me to get married. In order for me to get there, here is a checklist that I’ve developed over time, which will serve as a guide to the man I am marrying someday:
He doesn’t look at dating as a joke.
I had to put this on top of my list as I want to emphasize that dating is not a game and should not be taken lightly. Dating is different in every culture, but with mine (in the culture I embraced for myself), I don’t allow myself to be with someone who I don’t actually want to end up with. I am careful in going out with the opposite gender alone. I prefer having the getting-to-know-each-other stage with a larger group; preferably, my trusted circle because there will be less time to fake it and more time to be real. I prefer friendship to be the foundation of my relationship.
He has faith in his beliefs.
Oh yes, this could be a cliché, but you can’t go wrong with this. Knowing that he is a man of faith would make me feel secure because it takes humility, perseverance, and commitment to stick to religious principles. Having that strength of character would come in handy especially since relationships tend to be a rollercoaster ride.
He loves his family and is willing to love my family.
At present, many have become strangers to family intimacy. It’s harder for some to respect their parents. I want to be with someone who wants our relationship to be a blessing to our families. One who would understand curfews and other practices that the family honors. If he is not expressing his love for his family the way he should, how can I be sure that he will do it with my family and our future family?
He knows chivalry.
This is also one of the values that has been forgotten by the present generation. Some men nowadays are just courteous when they are trying to impress but in general, well, they don’t care. I said some… I still believe and see some men who demonstrate common courtesy. So yeah, when you find one, keep him.
He gets along with kids.
This is not innate for everyone and I don’t blame personality differences, but I just want to see how he is with kids so I will have an idea as to how he will interact with our own in the future. Dealing with kids will also need a lot of patience so it’s quite a place to test his.
He sees his future with me.
It’s important for me that the man I am dating is interested in marrying me someday. I want him to envision our relationship as something that will end up in matrimony. I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that since marriage is not happening anytime soon, it’s okay not to talk about it. If he’s not ready for it, then don’t plan on starting yet – either he’s too young to date or his priorities have not been aligned. It will be a source of argument if one is already gearing towards it and the other is taking his sweet time. Besides, you don’t tell the person you’re dating that, “Hey, let’s just date for this span of time, then let’s call it quits!”
He can meet me halfway.
I don’t need a guy who will shove the passage about being a submissive partner to my face. While I also believe in that, I want to see a guy who also knows how to humble himself and apologize when necessary. He should not be a boss but a partner to me. In any relationship, I think it’s important to know how to meet each other’s needs.
The list could go on with a lot of specifics but for me, these are my non-negotiables in looking for a lifetime partner. You may have your own set of standards, and that’s okay — use those standards as your guide in picking the best person who you think will complement you. But remember, when you do list down these standards, make sure that you also live each one. Meaning, if you want someone who’ll be faithful to you, you should also be confident that you be devoted to him. Lastly, be gracious — we are all a work-in-progress. Give room for growth. He may not have “all it takes”, but if he’s willing to grow for the better, then he’s worth considering.