The List

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I love making lists. You know, the ones with nice bullet points so I can easily refer back to them. One list all women have either written out or inscribed in their minds, whether they enjoy making lists or not, starts with something like, “What he must be…” About five years ago, my grandmother asked me what was on my list of requirements for my future husband. Let’s just say it was a very long list that even included hair and eye color. I’m not kidding. These types of lists, though, can be dangerous. Why? Because they make us fall into sentimentality. With sentimentality, we fall in love with the idea of a man to the point where we objectify him and can fall into lust. It is important to have standards for a husband, but not a shopping list of must have options. So what standards should you have for a man whom you may marry? Here is a bullet point list of questions to ask yourself about him (and he should be able to ask himself these questions, or a slight variation of them, about you.)

  • Is he a practicing Catholic? Does he live out his faith and accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church? We are often told nowadays that it doesn’t matter if we marry a Catholic. If Jesus Christ and His Church are #1 in your life though, you are going to want to marry a Catholic. He needs to understand the sacrament of marriage and be completely open to life. If he is not a strong Catholic, you’ll have a difficult time raising your kids in the faith and keeping them faithful to the Church, too.
  • Can he support a family and is he ready to be a father? If you want to stay home to raise your kids, he’ll need to be able to support your family on a single income, though that doesn’t mean he has to make six figures. You also need to evaluate if he is mature and responsible enough to be a father.
  • Is he mentally stable? Things can happen in life and people can become mentally unstable, but if he is already mentally unstable before you are even married, you need to ask yourself if you can handle him being this way, or possibly even worse, for the rest of your life. If he even suffers from frequent outbursts of anger now, this can get worse after the stresses of married life.
  • Does he suffer from any addictions? I don’t think I need to tell you that this will in no way get better after marriage, especially alcoholism and those addictions that give him lustful pleasures.

This is a basic list of standards for your future spouse, and here are some variations of these for yourself. In reference to the second question above, you need to ask yourself if you can live on a budget, and if you are mature and responsible enough to be a mother. If you plan on homeschooling your kids, study up a little on the different methods and curriculums. To expand upon the fourth question above, women often develop sentimentality and lustful pleasures from romance novels. This isn’t just limited to just Fifty Shades and Harlequin. There are many supposedly Christian romance novels that aren’t very, well, Christian. So, hold yourself to the same standard you hold your future spouse to and throw those novels in the trash.

Of course, you won’t necessarily outright ask him the above questions. Most of these questions you’ll get answered from observation. You’ll want to ask trusted family and friends what they think are the answers to these questions, since your judgement will be clouded.

Don’t forget to pray that God will prepare both you and your future spouse for your vocation to the married life, if that is what He is calling you to. Trust that if God is calling you to the married life, He will send you a spouse that meets His standards, in His timing.

10 thoughts on “The List

  1. I would add one about him and her understanding the nature of sacrificial love and be willing to commit to it. That has been one of the cornerstones of our happy marriage for 50 years.

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  2. In this day and age, a man with an addiction to pornography can easily hide it. He doesn’t need to buy Playboy or have a boatload of x-rated videos. Instead, he watches it on the Internet. My advice is to ASK the questions about pornography . . . you won’t necessarily figure it out by observation and he’s not going to be watching it with you in the room. He watches it when he’s alone. I wish I had asked the questions of my now former husband, who chose the porn over our marriage.

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    • I’ll be keeping you and your former husband in my prayers! It is not only important for us women to directly ask, but have trusted male relatives and friends ask as well. I would really recommend to young women out there to read Steve Wood’s The ABC’s of Finding a Good Husband which talks about this.

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  3. Every vocation requires patience and love. Trust and faith in Our Lord’s will requires these in order to find the path He favors us to have. Finding the right spouse for a true Catholic/Christian must incorporate Our Lord and His time. Too many listen to their temporal inner clock, which results in marriages that don’t last. You do incorporate this in your article in not so many words. Great advice. Let us pray that the continuing zeitgeist of divorce in our society diminishes. This mentality has encroached upon many of our Catholic brethren to where divorce is thought of as a justifiable out for choices that were less than desirable. Choices with God and Church as our focus leads to fulfillment. Thank you for this column, prayers, and your example of fidelity to our faith.

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