I think that this post is most relevant for women who are single and looking, encouraging them to insist on the very best character from potential husbands.
This is one of the post titles that was voted for in the recent poll of posts to write for December.
The main idea of this post is that for many women, they don’t really hold out any true standards for their husbands. Taken cumulatively, this might be why many men might think that all women are cheap or easy to get – and from this treat all women casually or cheaply.
I think that most women would say that they do indeed hold out standards for their husbands. I personally think though that the standards that truly matter in relationships are the standards of character. This is what truly makes someone worthwhile. Character is what is truly costly and painful to develop. However it is equally available to each one of us, no matter what background we may be from. If you as a woman accept anyone with less than excellent character, then I believe you are making yourself cheap, because you are accepting from a man less than all he could be, less than what you should accept from a future spouse; you are not insisting on the very best character as a prerequisite for submitting all that you are to him; you are giving him the future permission to strongly affect your life with his less than excellent character.
This post is actually just another way of expressing the “two-year thing“. I am growing more and more committed to this “two-year” idea. It has recently been brought home to me very strongly that I truly need to insist on getting to know someone very well before putting myself in any place of consistent submission to them.
The way dating usually works: A short, concerted effort
This is the way dating usually works. A man might put on an elaborate effort for a few months to take you out and woo you and impress you with all kind of exciting experiences. If however, he turns out to not have amazing character after you are married, then by letting yourself be impressed by those dates, it means that essentially you’re selling whole years, possibly decades of your future happiness for a few months of exciting meals and dates. And then, because many women embark upon relationships in just that way, many men will think that all that they have to do to win the women that they want is to put on a lavish performance for a few months without needing to be fundamentally excellent in who they are. And then once they have won you in marriage, then they can simply revert to being their true selves, knowing that you are now committed to them.
I think that dates are good especially after marriage which is where I firmly believe that they belong. However, I think that as women we need to appreciate how easy it is for people to pretend to be different from what they are. Many men find it so easy to push our buttons, because they know exactly what to say, and exactly how to say it. All that a man needs to do in many cases is to say “I love you” and immediately the woman starts swooning. Seriously?! Thank you very much for your love but for me to be won over I need to satisfy myself that your love is worth having! This is a very humorous true story. While I was on holiday with my Mum a few years ago in Nigeria, my Mum and my Auntie were out busy conducting some business while I remained in the car. And then along came a guy, spotted me in the car, and got chatting to me. On hearing my accent, he immediately developed a fancy to me, and he proclaimed right there and then that he loved me. And that was someone I had only just met that very moment.
“Tosin, don’t you understand? I love you! I love you Tosin!” (Yeah, I made the mistake of telling him my name!) And then he gave me his number, and actually expected me to call him.
Seriously?! I’ve only just met you mister! Do you honestly expect me to start jumping up and down at a proclamation of love from a guy I don’t even know?! I could just imagine what his “love” could lead to in the future – he sprawled out lazily on the sofa in a string vest, swigging back a bottle of beer – or ten, TV blaring away while I would be struggling with armfuls of kids, doing my best to keep the place clean while he refused to lift a finger. And I would sell myself into this dreadful future why?! Because of his “love”?! I thought to myself: “You can keep your love!” Obviously he had not actually done anything to rule out the possibility of a more positive future with him. However, he had not done enough to prove that this scenario above would not be my future with him either. To be honest, from the way he behaved and expected me to respond the above scenario was probably positive compared to what the reality would more likely have been. Just what kind of woman did he think would be excited at this kind of declaration from a complete stranger? What does this say about the way some men view women, that they think that all they have to do is declare their love, for us to drop everything to accompany them? You know what? I am so excited at the prospect of winning the love of an amazing guy. I can’t wait to hear him tell me that he loves me so that I can shyly reciprocate – assuming I’m feeling shy that day! Even if it genuinely is a case of instant and all-consuming attraction, then I hope he will at least give me the chance to get to evaluate his character before expecting any kind of conclusive response! (Shaking my head!)
And it is not as if Emmanuel (yeah that was his name!) and I were talking for any considerable length of time in which we could honestly have connected on a real level. This whole conversation was concluded in about 10 minutes, within which time he made his heartfelt declaration. Definitely not enough time to seek him out on Facebook! And to think that he chose me, with my no-nonsense views on relationships and men, out of all the women in Africa, to play that game with! So that was quite humorous, and thankfully I was securely locked up in the car, so I did not feel as if I was in any real danger.
Playing hard to get?
As I’ve said so many times, this whole thing is not about playing hard to get. It is not about pretending to not be interested. How could anyone read this blog and think that I am not interested in the prospect of a relationship? Of course I am. I honestly don’t mind if everyone in the whole wide world (including Emmanuel, if he’s reading this!) knows just how much I would love an amazing relationship. My big point though is that genuine, deep, sustained marital happiness is (largely) spelt “C-H-A-R-A-C-T-E-R” or, more accurately “Y-O-U-R S-P-O-U-S-E’S C-H-A-R-A-C-T-E-R”, and time is the only reliable way of evaluating that character. Someone can pretend to be wonderful for a number of months, a year, even longer. However, it has been recognised that while it is possible to deceive someone about your character for a year, it is very difficult to maintain a pretence for two years. So that is why I advise everyone to sit it out for two years.
By accepting the lavish dates but not insisting on excellent character, you are selling yourself into a future of whatever his unproven character might turn out to be, for the sake of those few dates. In some cases, this unproven character will actually turn out to be excellent. There are some “Emmanuel”s in this world who will turn out to be amazing husbands: “He told me he loved me after only ten minutes…he turned out to be the love of my life!”
Most “Emmanuel”s though, I’m fairly certain to say, will turn out to be not “God with us” but rather “hell on earth”. (I of course don’t mean “Most men called Emmanuel” but rather “most men who would proclaim their love in this way, on such short acquaintance”.) My point is that by jumping straight into something you have not done enough to make sure that it is future happiness that you are securing for yourself, rather than prolonged heartache.
Many women think that they are putting a high price on themselves by insisting on posh dates, and lavish restaurants…playing hard to get. However, I think that if you have not also evaluated his character beforehand to make sure it is truly excellent, then you are simply making yourself cheap, cheap, cheap.
Be fussy ladies!
Seriously, I cannot encourage you too much to be extremely fussy in your standards regarding his character. Look for someone who tells the truth, to himself, and to others. Look for someone who acknowledges his own faults, and apologises, without necessarily waiting for you to point out what he has done wrong. Sometimes people innocently don’t know. Watch then for how he responds when you (gently) point out his mistakes. Does he humbly acknowledge the mistake, and work to put it right? Or does he angrily retort, making it clear that he thinks he is not capable of making mistakes at all? Imagine how much fun that would be in marriage! Or is he gentle on insisting on his own viewpoint?
Look too for someone who is striving always to improve in terms of character, who is actively growing, who is listening, who is learning, who does not think he is already as excellent as anyone can be.
And if you’re going to insist on this from someone else, then obviously you have to be this kind of person yourself, otherwise the excellent guy you dream of will not want to be with you!
If all this seems a little strange, why not give yourself a little time just to watch people? Give yourself a few months, and go into an environment, and see what you can observe about other people. From this, you might be able to start seeing the clues that other people give about themselves. Who would you say is truly kind? Who would you say is truly honest? Who would you say truly cares about you, or about other people? The point though is that a few months is not truly reliable in making this kind of judgement. The reliable timeframe to truly make this kind of judgement is two full years.
Here is a little irony to conclude. I have made it clear on several occasions and I continue to make it clear that I do not want or need anyone’s money to woo me. I will not need it within marriage, and I certainly will not need it before marriage. I do not believe in the idea of big lavish dates as a way of getting to know someone or evaluating him before marriage and within marriage I am more about spending quality time together anyway than spending quality money! It is totally possible that I could get to the point of marrying someone without either of us spending a cent on trying to impress each another. And yet with that, maritally speaking I am not “cheap” in the slightest. In fact, I flatter myself that I am as “expensive” as it is possible to be, because I am utterly unapologetic in insisting on excellent character from any potential husbands. And if someone turns out to not be as excellent in character as I would wish, then I simply, quietly walk away.
Some women like to make it clear that they have very high standards regarding men. Some people like to make it clear that they have high standards regarding friendships altogether, (usually based on things like the labels you wear, the money you splash around and the size of your car), and the likelihood, after sizing you up by the way you look, is that you’re not going to be good enough for them. You know how some people just go around screwing their faces at everyone else in disdain – have you ever met anyone like that? I hope it is fair to say that were it not for this blog, no-one would ever know that I cultivate standards for my husband at all. (Just like with my Guy Rules, which in practice are so gently asserted, that no-one would be able to guess I have rules at all. And yet magically, mysteriously, somehow no guy ever finds himself alone with me.) And then you know how some women try to reject men as loudly as possible, so that everyone knows that they are in high demand, but are also very “exclusive”, and hard to get? Well I try to quietly walk away from people while evaluating them before they have had a chance to express their interest, so that they do not know that they are being turned down. That said, I have only truly embraced the two-year idea in earnest this year. I hope that what this means is that I will never really have to reject anyone (except any Emmanuels who might be yet lurking in the future) but I will still somehow only find myself in continued prolonged contact with someone who could feasibly be “The One”.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
PHOTO CREDITS Photo of woman holding banknotes from Pixabay ———————————————————————–