Wednesday, July 09, 2008

An Ideal Husband - One Who Won't Maul Your Happiness

Try not to pass out from shock. This is indeed my second post of the week. (I'm procrastinating on doing my International Law reading)

"But there is one thing worse than an absolutely loveless marriage. A marriage in which there is love, but on one side only; faith, but on one side only; devotion, but on one side only, and in which of the two hearts one is sure to be broken."
Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband

A friend sent me the following story and in a world where divorce has become so sensational that it consumes the headlines - thank you A-Rod and Christie Brinkley - I couldn't help but appreciate its relevance. What happens when you wake up one morning and realize that the person sleeping next to you isn't the person you thought you'd married? "Father Pat Connor, a 79-year-old Catholic priest has spent his celibate life — including nine years as a missionary in India — mulling connubial bliss. His decades of marriage counseling led him to distill some “mostly common sense” advice about how to dodge mates who would maul your happiness."

“Hollywood says you can be deeply in love with someone and then your marriage will work,” the twinkly eyed, white-haired priest says. “But you can be deeply in love with someone to whom you cannot be successfully married.”

Oh so true. I will never forget the story Pastor Ken Gurley told during a Worth the Wait seminar once about a (very young) couple who wanted to get married and when he asked them how they were going to survive financially they actually had the audacity to tell him they would "live on love." Right. Good luck with that. Let me know how it goes when he asks what's for dinner and you say "love" or when the electric company sends the bill and you write "love" in the paid by line.

Father Connor's marital advice can be summed up in the following 9 points:

1. Never marry a man who has no friends.

Amen! Hallelujah! Glory to God!
This usually means that he will be incapable of the intimacy that marriage demands. I am always amazed at the number of men I have counseled who have no friends. Since, as the Hebrew Scriptures say, ‘Iron shapes iron and friend shapes friend,’ ask yourself - what are his friends like?

2. “Does he use money responsibly? Is he stingy? Most marriages that founder do so because of money — she’s thrifty, he’s on his 10th credit card.

3. Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, who never makes demands counter to yours.
It’s good to have a doormat in the home, but not if it’s your husband.
Here's a personal tid-bit for you. I've never met a woman who thinks that wimpiness is attractive. There's a reason that manly men are more attractive.

4. Is he overly attached to his mother and her mythical apron strings?

I know some men who could benefit from this advice.

5. Does he have a sense of humor?
That covers a multitude of sins. My mother was once asked how she managed to live harmoniously with three men — my father, brother and me. Her answer, delivered with awesome arrogance, was: ‘You simply operate on the assumption that no man matures after the age of 11.’ My father fell about laughing.

6. A therapist friend insists that ‘more marriages are killed by silence than by violence.’ The strong, silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive. Ouch. That's a bit harder to swallow. I love the strong silent types. ~sigh~ John Wayne.
That world-class misogynist, Paul of Tarsus, got it right when he said, ‘In all your dealings with one another, speak the truth to one another in love that you may grow up.’

7. Don’t marry a problem character thinking you will change him. People are the same after marriage as before, only more so.

8. Take a good, unsentimental look at his family — you’ll learn a lot about him and his attitude towards women.
Is there a history of divorce in the family? An atmosphere of racism, sexism or prejudice in his home? Are his goals and deepest beliefs worthy and similar to yours? Imagine a religious fundamentalist married to an agnostic. One would have to pray that the fundamentalist doesn’t open the Bible and hit the page in which Abraham is willing to obey God and slit his son’s throat.

9. Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being — the willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous? Or is he inclined to be a fibber, to fits of rage, to be a control freak, to be envious of you, to be secretive?

Well, that certainly narrows the field but a guy (or gal) like that would definitely be worth waiting for.

1 comment:

aahrens said...

Great post- I'm with you, this really narrows the field, but one can always dream!