Updated 22nd July: The ever-growing, but definitive list of Essential Criteria for my husband

"The Rules of Life" book


Addlog:

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22 July 2018
Someone who will pull his own weight domestically, without needing to be asked, begged or nagged

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22nd April 2018:
A man who understands the power of discipline, order and routine
Someone who will tell me (and other people) the truth!
Someone who owns his own decisions

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17th April 2018:
Coming soon, my own points of development to work on:

I’m so sorry if at the moment this post sounds like a huge brag-fest:  I’m so amazing at this, and I’m so amazing at that!
On one hand, to be searingly candid, yes, I have worked a lot on my own character. Please believe me that I have invested serious time, effort, tears and prayer into developing my character over a total of many years and pursuing my relationship with God, many, many, many times more effort than I have invested into writing my blogs and translating the Bible altogether.  On the other hand, there are still so many areas remaining of my personal character that I so very desperately want and need to work on, and continue to work on. 

Chief amongst these areas is humility. I am extremely ambitious.  I know that this is the one reason why I have to be utterly relentless in pursuing humility. I also have to embrace it as a lifetime pursuit. I know that pride is one thing which would very reliably “take me out”. I hope that it will always be true over the course of my life that if nothing else, sheer ambition will keep me pursuing humility.
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14th April 2018:
A man who is able to apologise, sincerely


You know, the idea for this post occurred to me literally just half an hour ago before I started typing this, if that. But it seems so obvious!  (PS, on reflection I think I might actually have started something like this a few years ago, but it did not last very long – I’ll have to take from that list to populate this one!)

So here it is:  I have spoken A LOT about “essential criteria for my husband” on this blog.  However these “essential criteria” are scattered around the blog, so it might be quite hard for someone, possibly a future husband, to keep track of what these criteria are.

ALSO as I write this, I realise/acknowledge, yet again, that it might seem so unspeakably arrogant for me to maintain a list and to tell a future husband that he needs to measure up against them.  It might sound as if I think that I am already at the pinnacle of excellent character, so that I think I can be telling someone how he needs to measure up to be good enough for me.

To be perfectly candid, I have worked a huge amount on my own character. For each characteristic on the list I guess it is only fair for me to talk about my own attainment on that characteristic, and how I plan to improve. Candidly, I feel it is hypocritical to expect standards from other people that I cannot or will not meet myself so I hope it is fair to say that I will already have achieved and surpassed anything that I could ask from anyone – except people who are supposed to be better than me.  Like, ahem, a husband!

I am also willing to grow in different ways to meet my husband’s own specifications. That is, I hope I can offer to him a strong and solid base of all round excellent character.  But if there are any specific character traits that are especially important to him then I would be willing to work extra hard on those!

Ever – Growing:  This list is ever growing because new ideas are constantly occurring to me, and I will think to myself:  “Ooh, that’s essential!”

>Added 8th April 10.00 So on investigation, it turns out that I have already written at least a couple of “essential criteria” list posts before. However, neither of these was ordered in any particular way and at the time I found it quite hard to keep track of each list and to keep adding to it, so eventually both of these list posts got buried and forgotten under the weight of other blog posts. However, please feel free to check them out here: “The Character Characteristics” and here “Tosin’s List” and please see how I have been consistently saying the same things in different ways, over and over again!


Alphabetical list: Items listed in purple like this are linked to fuller entries in the expanded alphabetical list below

***All for Jesus!***

*A man who is able to apologise, sincerely
*A man who understands the power of discipline, order and routine
*Gross habits: I’ll work on mine, please also work on yours!
*Someone I am deeply attracted to!
*Someone who is committed to telling himself the truth and then dealing honestly with what he discovers
  – Someone who is definitely not going to be a glass ceiling over his wife
  – Someone who is striving to keep improving on his character, and who is committed to keep striving forever
  – Someone who will tell me (and other people) the truth!
-Someone who will pull his own weight domestically, without needing to be asked, begged or nagged
 – Someone who owns his own decisions


Alphabetical list, expanded:

All for Jesus!
I have actually already written at least 3 posts about this:
First Characteristic: All for Jesus!
 All for Jesus continued
All Sold Out!

This is the single most important criterion for my husband. I am a born-again Christian, so to some extent I HAVE to say this!  This is good and proper, and communicates to other Christians reading this that I am a Proper Christian. However this goes beyond satisfying other Christians. In fact, in truth, much of the time I ignore what most “Proper Christians” say, for instance about tithing, and the role of women. This is because there is often a huge, gaping chasm between what the Bible actually says, and how “Proper Christians” choose to interpret it. However, please believe me that when it comes to the Christian commitment of my husband, there is no room for negotiation whatsoever.  This is for two very good reasons.  Firstly, I have No. Qualms. Whatsoever. about ignoring the man-made (that is, unbiblical) edicts of “Proper Christians”.  However I am sincerely committed to the teachings, instructions and commandments that genuinely come from the Bible. And the Bible categorically says that as I am a Christian I also have to make sure that I marry a Christian, if only so he can properly demonstrate leadership over me as the head of our home, which the Bible also says he will be.
Secondly I really love myself, in that I have a very high regard for my own peace of mind!  From experience I know that it is sincerely true, that someone’s behaviour will be most consistently lovely and wholesome and edifying to others around them when they truly strive to be like Jesus! So many Christians are in church and they all endlessly spout Bible verses and Christian platitudes.  And yet *so few* Christians truly strive to be like Jesus!  My husband is going to be one of the exceptions!

My own attainment:
Candidly speaking I too am one of the exceptions. The fact that I am “all for Christ” has taken a bit of a battering of recent months and years, because I just have not been able to invest the time I would usually do into nurturing my relationship with God through praying and reading the Bible. And I can really feel it in my character. That is also why I have not been actively updating my Bible blog in such a long time, because I know that my intimacy with God has been greatly lacking of late.  All the same, this remains the true north of my life. To this I keep returning time after time, and I keep renewing and reinforcing my commitment. My “100% for Christ” is not about all out commitment to “The Church”, or any one particular church.  It is not even about all out commitment to “Christianity”.  Rather it is about all out commitment to Christ Himself. Jesus, God and the Bible, the three great and enduring loves of my life. If you really knew me, you would know how true that is.

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A man who is able to apologise, sincerely
I believe that being able to apologise when you have done something wrong is a hugely important life skill. And yet so many people find this so difficult.  The idea of humbling themselves to acknowledge when they have done something wrong, and sincerely asking for forgiveness, is apparently unthinkable. And it is definitely a humility thing. 

Love means never having to say you’re sorry?
This is such a lie. Rather love means the exact opposite, being ready to humble yourself and admit it when you have done something wrong. However you don’t have to apologise falsely, when you have not actually done anything wrong.

No-one’s perfect?
Here is the thing. Everyone knows that no-one is perfect.  Everyone is able to acknowledge that they are not perfect. When you apologise, all you are doing is acknowledging a specific instance in which you were not perfect!  If you are able to admit that you are not perfect altogether, why is it so challenging to admit to a single incident in which you were not perfect?!

Sometimes when people cannot bring themselves to apologise, they have a few ways of trying to get around the situation.
Sometimes they will just hope to carry on and act as if nothing happened. Seriously?!
Other times they will apologise, but try to foist the larger weight of blame onto whomever they are “apologising” to: “sorry that I did that but you should not have done whatsoever, you made me do it because….”
Even if the other person was partially at fault, why can you not just own your own part of the blame without bringing in whatever they may have done?

Another wonderful non-apology is “I’m sorry if you felt hurt….”  When people try this one it is almost as if they are suggesting that they did not actually do anything wrong, rather it is almost as if it is the fault of the other person for choosing to feel hurt. There will be some times when this is appropriate, when you have taken a completely innocent action, and it has offended someone or hurt them in a way that you could not possibly have predicted. But when you knowingly did something wrong, or with impure motives, it is such a cop-out to say “I’m sorry if…”  What you should say is “I’m sorry that” – and then itemise those things that you did.  You are apologising first and foremost for what you did wrong, so identify those things to make it clear that you know that they were wrong, and then also apologise for the very predictable consequences your wrong actions might have had, and perhaps any unforeseen consequences too that happened.

Candidly speaking as I write this I have no respect whatsoever for someone who cannot bring himself to apologise, especially if that person is in any kind of Christian leadership. (And so many of them are!  The same ego that prevents them from being able to apologise is the same ego that propels them to want to win prestige and honour for themselves by garlanding themselves with “leadership”.)  I cannot even pretend to respect someone who cannot apologise. Without fail I will walk away from that “leader”, as to me being able to apologise is such a basic aspect of maturity. How can you presume to lead people when you have not grasped even this basic point yourself?! Watching people verbally dance around, being seemingly unable to bring themselves to say necessary words is so unedifying. However, as I am writing this I’m wondering whether this might ever have to change, if I ever watch in shock and amazement as my deeply loved and long awaited husband stumbles over his own tongue in a similar situation and I think to myself “Oh. My. Goodness!”  Somehow I suspect that I am going to magically find some patience to deal with this if it is my husband concerned!

My own attainment: Excellent!  Candidly speaking, by the grace of God, I can apologise, and I do, very liberally. Sometimes it is embarrassing to apologise in person, so I will do it in writing.  Other times, I can apologise in writing first, to “break the ice”, and then apologise in person.  This means that I can polish my apology until i am satisfied with it, and I am not umming and ahring in front of someone else, or possibly distracted from what I wanted to say by a question that they might ask.

A word to Mr TDA: I hope you can understand why I chose not to apologise to you face to face. I was just thinking about it and thinking that because everything happened in person, it would have made sense for me to also apologise in person.  It might seem a little cowardly for me to be hiding behind that letter and this screen. Considering the circumstances and the real reason for my behaviour the idea of apologising to you in person really did not even occur to me. It would just have been too risky. The one thing I can say for sure is that if I had tried it, there would have been no doubt in your mind as to the sincerity of everything I’ve told you. (Sad smile)
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A man who understands the power of discipline, order and routine

This is so important that I am sure it is what many people would put as their first criterion.

Ultimately, this is about finding the best way to do something then doing it that same way every single time. I must admit that I am actually a very late comer to this understanding myself.  But now I have finally “got it” – Hallelujah!
To put it simply, to be successful, every business etc must have a consistent procedure for dealing with different things.  As we work in a business, we get trained in the consistent procedure for achieving different things. So we know what to expect from one another in the business, and outsiders also know what to expect from us.
As it is with a business, so it is with an individual life, or a household. Doing things consistently means putting things away in consistent places so that you don’t have to spend your entire life looking for things: scissors…sticky tape…your keys.  It also means that you can build on consistency to achieve great things, by consistently doing little things bit by bit.

If you want to achieve great things in life then you have to embrace order and discipline. But here’s the thing:  everyone you live with also has to be disciplined, otherwise the indiscipline of their life will frustrate you in your dreams! So you might always put the scissors away properly in their place, but someone else might come along, take them from where you have neatly kept them – and then before you know it you are spending the entire afternoon looking for a pair of scissors! This is close to my heart, because it feels in some ways as if I spent my entire childhood looking for pairs of scissors…and sticky tape…and keys.

However, if someone does not understand the power of discipline, then the likelihood is that you will not only be dealing with a single misplaced pair of scissors. Oh no! Rather everything will be in the wrong place, or used at the wrong time, resulting in absolute chaos!  Meaning that instead of doing what you need to do to work towards your dream at the time you need to do it you will be clearing up, or trying to put everything back in order. This is a very good recipe for never achieving anything tangible.

So many rules!
Discipline means that many or most areas of your life will be subject to “rules”. Examples include:

Bedtimes, when to wake up
Dietary habits
Spending money and saving
Using time
Cleaning up after yourself, chores
Putting things away

If someone does not understand or get it, they might complain that there are too many rules. They might think that you are nagging, or trying to somehow curtail their freedom.
I can’t imagine how frustrated I would be to have to be gently trying to encourage a grown man regarding these things, only for him then to accuse me of “nagging”.

With all that said though, I think that it is extremely important to say this:
Discipline in and of itself, as important as it is, does not equate to character!  Many people act as if these two things are synonyms – that is not true
If I had to choose from the two, I would still choose character! 
However big discipline plus big character plus big effort equals greatness.

Greatness is not just about big public achievements that other people will recognise and fawn over.  In truth, people often choose not to recognise or acknowledge truly powerful things.
Greatness is also about those small quiet things which will remain hidden away, which perhaps no-one else will ever see, or know. Things like – having a peaceful and loving relationship with your chosen spouse – an example which easily springs to mind! Regarding my own hoped-for marriage, I’m definitely bringing my A-game to this, Mr Huggie-Wuggie.  I hope that you are too!

My own attainment:
You know what?  This is an area in which I have historically been very weak. I’ve tried so many business ideas and yet this has been the one thing that has almost guaranteed failure in whatever I’ve tried without my truly understanding it: failing to understand the importance of consistency.  Furthermore, this is enough to break marriages. I am absolutely certain that if I had married someone and he was a man of discipline, either he would have had to very patiently teach me, or he might not have been able to handle it. And if he was like me, then we would simply have frustrated one another! This is why I am so grateful that I finally get it.  But please do bear with me Mr Huggie-Wuggie, I am still getting up to speed with this and there remain various aspects of my life into which I am frantically trying to instil discipline.

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Gross habits:  I’ll work on mine, please also work on yours! (Yeurgh!)
Yes, I have a few gross habits of my own.  It is somewhat embarrassing to admit this. I am definitely not going to spell out what these habits are! However I am willing to work so hard on these, if only to never have to encounter a gross habit from my husband. So please, Mr potential Huggie-Wuggie, please tell yourself the truth and start working on these.  I really don’t want to know about whatever these could be, as I’m sure you definitely do not want to know the things I also do absent-mindedly!

My own attainment:
Desperately working on it!
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Someone I am deeply attracted to:
Existing post here

God and I both know that behind all my holiness there beats an unapologetically superficial heart, which happens to like smiling attractive guys!  So why fight it?!  So it turns out that Mr Huggie-Wuggie will have to be holy and hot!  Actually, it occurs to me that it might be useful to write a post about my spectrum of attraction, about all the different ways that I personally might find myself deeply attracted to someone, ranging from physical to emotional.  I could also act like there is something such as “spiritual attraction”.  However for me that has not happened yet, and I believe that for me there has to be a strong undercurrent of emotional attraction which undergirds everything.

My own attainment:  Obviously this is subjective because it depends on whether someone could be attracted to me too!  However I hope that God will bless me with a husband who will be irresistibly attracted to me as I will be to him.  Also I hope to work on myself to make myself as generally attractive as possible. For me this has been a difficult balance to strike as “awareness of my own attractiveness” + “feelings of loneliness” can sometimes result in flirtatious behaviour on my part which I would try to avoid, so for that reason I sometimes deliberately err on the side of looking unremarkable. However when Mr Huggie-Wuggie does turn up and I know I’ve made the right choice and we are safely married, I definitely plan to pull out all the stops in terms of presenting myself attractively for his benefit, and I hope he will do the same for me too!

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Someone who tells himself the truth, then deals honestly with the results

I’ve just searched this blog for an existing post about this and I am somewhat shocked not to find one!  I know that at one point I may have started writing one, or I may have unpublished it!  More work will definitely be needed on this soon, to possibly dig out or publish an existing post, or if necessary write one from scratch, because it is one of the most important criteria. It is such an important criterion because it would deal with so many other things.  Practically every other thing.  Things like “not being a glass ceiling over your wife“, or sexism, or racism.  It can be difficult and painful at first as you probe the depths of your own heart and find – whole oceans of unloveliness. This is probably true for absolutely everyone of us who is not Jesus. But as you begin to deal with these things slowly but surely and find the right response and the right mindset to adopt about a wide range of issues, looking into your own heart becomes a vastly more positive experience, and it becomes easier and easier to be honest about yourself to your own self, as well as to other people around you, because it is always going to be easier to reveal and “own” positive character.  Also it is easier to work on residual negative traits when you largely feel positive about yourself and who you are.

If there was just one single gift I would give to everyone in the whole wide world, it would be this: the ability and willingness to tell yourself the truth about who you are and why you truly do what you do. It certainly would not be pseudo-faith as practised in most churches that I have attended.

If you tell yourself the truth then:
-You won’t need other people to flatter you by telling you how lovely or wonderful you are. You will know the real truth for yourself, so you can work on it accordingly. Your self-esteem will truly come from inside. This way you will be more immune to people trying to manipulate you either by witholding their appreciation or by being excessive in their praise.
-You can persevere in things that you know are important and worthy, even if other people do not seem to recognise or appreciate them.
-You can start to see through other people’s behaviour more easily, and discern the real reasons why people act the way they do. I honestly don’t know why this is true. However it definitely is true!
-Also you will make an amazing spouse!

My own attainment: If I cannot give everyone this gift, then I can certainly give it to myself, and please believe me that this is just one tremendous gift that I try to give myself all the time. I try to tell myself the truth about everything, and to make honest decisions about what I discover about myself and what I can feel brewing in my own heart.
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Someone who is definitely not going to be a glass ceiling over his wife

I’ve already written a very, very long post about how a husband might be a glass ceiling over his wife, here. 

Please don’t be like this, Mr Huggie-Wuggie!  If you know that these impulses exist within your heart, then please start dealing with them now. If you don’t know that these impulses are there, please search deeply within your heart to make absolutely sure that they are not present – many such impulses can hide very subtly. I’m not going to be angry at you for not being born perfect. I was not born perfect.  I too have had to work on many issues within my own heart and I constantly have to be searching my heart for traces of negative impulses.  However I will be frustrated if you eventually present to me less than you could be because of a failure to deal honestly with any glass ceiling tendencies in your heart. However I think that you would be even more frustrated at yourself than I could ever be.

My own attainment:
I can safely promise you Mr Huggie-Wuggie that I will never (ever, ever) be a glass ceiling over you.  I know it can work both ways, that wives have their own ways of controlling their husbands or keeping them down.  I never want to assert the slightest power over you – or over anyone else.  This is why I strive to share every empowering thing I know with the whole world so that even if one day I did feel tempted to manipulate someone, I would already have shared with them so much understanding in terms of self-esteem and empowerment that they would easily shrug off any tacky attempt that anyone might make to control them, even if I was the person to make that attempt.

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Someone who is striving to keep improving on his character, and who is committed to keep striving forever

I’ve already written so many posts about cultivating a commitment to keep striving after excellent character!
There is one here “The difference between no-one’s perfect and no-one’s perfect
And another one here:  “The race of character

My own attainment:
Please believe me that I am absolutely committed to keep striving after excellent character. Once again, this is one of the things that has taken a real bashing of late.  Lately what I have been striving after has been work and I’ve been striving to get ahead financially. But pursuit of outstanding character is so important to me. And especially humility. It is hard enough to be humble when you are “in the wrong”.  But it is especially hard for me to remain humble when I know that I am emphatically “in the right” and everyone else is “in the wrong” – and they are refusing to admit it, or apologise.  I’d love to think that I would demonstrate extra patience for my beloved and long-awaited husband. However I don’t know how long that extra patience would last.  Possibly a year, or two, max. Huggie-Wuggie, you have been warned!
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Someone who will tell me (and other people) the truth!
I’m not saying that he needs to tell me everything, but rather that I’d want everything that he does tell me to be true!

My own attainment:
Does anyone else experience this?  When you are talking with someone or thinking about something, there is a way that you want to represent it to present yourself in the best light or in a sympathetic light?  Perhaps not to lie outright but to perhaps sand the edges of the truth?  That is a temptation that I face all the time. I have to be aggressive about bringing my heart before God and telling Him the absolute truth about what is truly going on in my heart. It is based on my willingness to humble myself before God and admit the often unflattering truth about myself and what is happening in my heart that I can then be candid with other people.  Not that I even remotely tell everyone everything about myself – are you serious?!  Of course not!  It can be extremely hard work, of course, but the most important thing is to be honest with God and with yourself.  And then you can slowly start building it up with other people, stumbling in embarrassment at some of the things that you have to say.  But guess what?!  The things that you reveal are exactly the same things in everyone else’s heart too.  The embarrassing things that you struggle with are exactly the same things that everyone else struggles with too! But as I say you don’t have to tell everyone everything. And there is certainly a level of prudence in knowing what to reveal and what not to reveal, and when, and to whom. Also, being able to be candid brings a certain confidence and strength.  However I encourage you that if you are not able to reveal the truth about yourself to any other human being, pour it all out before God in prayer. Don’t stop, just let the whole thing flow out.  It will literally be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
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Someone who will pull his own weight domestically, without needing to be asked, begged or nagged:

I must admit that this is the kind of thing that makes me cross just to think about it in relationships.  It is this kind of thing that really emphasises to me that I have to be so careful about whom I marry, no matter how lonely I’m feeling. This is the kind of thing that stops me from throwing myself into a relationship. This is the kind of thing that would literally make me feel livid in my own marriage.  It is even enough to make me walk away from a relationship, even a marriage.

I hope that it is not too much of a stretch to say that many men get married for the sake of having someone to look after them domestically just like many women still get married primarily to have someone provide for them financially.  As I have written many times before on this blog, I do not think that there is anything wrong with that.  The most important thing is that as a husband and wife you are in agreement; frankly whatever I might think about your marital arrangement is completely irrelevant, as long as it works for you both.  However this is definitely not who I am as a woman. My primary goal in getting married is to meet my emotional needs, and perhaps a few other kinds of needs too, but definitely not financial! As I have quite significant ambitions of my own I am looking for a partnership where my future husband and I can support one another in our dreams. 

I was not brought up to believe that a man, any man is inherently more important or more valuable than a woman;  biblically speaking he definitely is not (OK, we can make a concession for Jesus!), but then many people who presume to speak for the Bible are not actually speaking from the Bible.  I am the kind of person who would shrink in disgust from the idea that anyone is inherently more important than I am (once again, except Jesus!), for whatever reason (do you need me to spell out a few of the obvious reasons?!) So in things like housework, naturally I would automatially expect an equal partnership.  Where men do not automatically pull their own weight in housework, whether they realise it or not, they are asserting the idea that they are more important than women, or their time is inherently more valuable than their wives’.  I resent this idea so much that I would walk away, just as I have already walked away every single time someone has thus far tried to assert this idea over me.

Respect?
Men are always shouting about their need for respect, how respect is the single greatest thing that a man needs from his wife. Well guess what, as a woman I also put a high premium on being respected in a relationship where I am investing a lot of effort, and at heart this issue is all about respect and disrespect. This is why it is significant enough to warrant walking away.
In my experience, (male) people tend to minimise what is not personally important to them. So if you are the kind of man who could comfortably function in a pigsty, you might not understand what the big deal is about my need to have a clean environment. But I am not asking you to “understand”, rather I am asking you to simply take it seriously because it is important to me. When you refuse to do that, then you are showing me disrespect; you are willingly choosing to ignore my needs in something I have communicated is very important to me. I don’t know why men think that a great strategy for winning my respect is by showing me disrespect, but in my experience  largely from supposed “Christian leaders”, this has consistently happened, that while men are busy shouting about their own need for respect they have no qualms about showing me none, whatsoever. If I have taken the time to patiently, repeatedly explain to you why this is important to me, and you completely ignore it, or you consistently “forget”, then that is disrespect, plain and simple. Trust me, I don’t take that from anyone (ask those Christian leaders!) I could say “try it and find out”, but if you would be like that, it is definitely not in my own best interests to let you get close to me at all. This is why I would rather sift you out before you have a chance of getting close to my life at all, rather than playing any silly games to prove a point, so I can reserve my best efforts for that wonderful man who will respect me appropriately, whom I can also deeply respect in return.

Discussing it before marriage: as this could prove to be a dealbreaker:
Because this could prove to be a potential deal breaker, it would be wise for me to make sure I discuss this with my future husband before marriage. This is one of the reasons I am writing about it, nice and clearly on my blog, so that potential husbands could honestly assess themselves and stay away from me as necessary.

A good honest discussion please! 
The big challenge regarding this is how to have a truly honest discussion. I guess when you are in the throes of romantic excitement it is easy to promise anything: “I will pull my own weight, you will not need to ask me!”  Please.  Pur-lease! Obviously I would love to think that as my future husband you are the one man who is going to be different, but statistically speaking as a man you will not pull your own weight at home, not even remotely, not even if you consider yourself enlightened. Statistically speaking even in homes where men “help”, women still do the lion’s share – or rather the lioness’s share – of the work (because you know that in the world of lions the females do all* the work, right?! The lion will definitely let the lioness do all* the chasing…of the prey. (*90% according to the link))

In my culture, imagine, this is actually how you prove that you have been well brought up as a woman: by showing your domestic skills, and making it clear that you will single-handedly do everything at home, excellently, without complaining: cooking, cleaning, child-rearing etc (unless you have domestic servants, as many middle-class families do in Nigeria). Even when you are also going out to work and putting in just as many work/commuting hours as your husband.  Even, get this, when your husband is not working or is “between jobs” and in practice is spending much of his time at home doing not very much, watching TV.  Many times he, and the community, and your in-laws, and even your own parents and family will still expect you to be doing absolutely everything at home, to demonstrate how you still “honour” him, no matter his financial situation. At this I just feel like screaming inside. Seriously?!  Seriously?!!!! Well clearly I have not been well brought up in the slightest, because believe me, I would complain. Even if we were both going out to work and he was not doing anything at home I would still complain, how much more so if I was going out to work and he was sitting at home doing nothing? The only way I would not complain, if he was doing nothing at home, is if he was going out to work and I was either totally unemployed or working from home. If things were to get bad enough, trust me that I would walk away.  But here is the thing, I don’t want to have to walk away from my marriage.  That is why I have to assess the man upfront.  This is why I have to be so fussy about character.  So the idea is to walk away from a man who would be like this right from the outset, rather than actually get married to him, then have to walk away from him.

I am not saying that wives should not honour their husbands – of course they should; I would just reject a definition of “honour” which looks like putting yourself into domestic servitude.

So in short, if you are one of those men who is wanting to get married (just) so that you will have someone to clean your house and cook your food, iron your clothes – please know that I am definitely not your wife.  Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with a woman doing all that for a man. I know that there must be many women who delight in those domestic acts of service for their husband and their family.  If as a woman you are reading this and that is the kind of woman you are, all power to you, and I say that in all sincerity.  I just know that that is definitely not the kind of woman I am.

The idea that I would try to deceive a potential husband before marriage regarding my attitude towards this, by pretending to be a wannabe domestic goddess is absolutely laughable. It is not that I don’t want to do anything!  I just resent the possibility that the housework is automatically considered my responsibility, and my husband thinks he is doing me a favour by taking his own dishes to the kitchen. That is why I am shouting it as loudly as I can now. That is why I make sure to discuss my feminist inclinations as soon I meet someone, tell him what I absolutely will not accept.  However, it is not impossible that there might be a woman out there who would be willing to try to secure a man for herself by pretending this. So I would caution men to be equally careful: if you know as a man that you want a woman to take care of you in marriage, please please hear me: that is not automatically a bad thing! Perhaps you are the kind of husband who would be happy to spoil your wife in myriad other ways, that many many women would love.  Perhaps the only thing that you would insist from your wife is that she does all the housework; perhaps there are many women out there who would think this arrangement beautiful, fair and desirable. I would say that as a man it makes sense for you to equally check out the woman thoroughly, to make sure that she is truly all that she claims to be.

My own attainment:
Well in my life just now I definitely cook and clean, and I hope I do it quite well!  I still err on the side of untidiness though, and I know that that can be sufficient to truly aggravate someone, even to make him walk away. I am working so hard on this though, to be beautifully neat and I have already thought of a few solutions so that a very neat husband might be able to tolerate living with me even as I learn to be as neat as he is!

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Someone who will own his own decisions

This is just about taking responsibility, especially for something as big as marriage. Perhaps it will happen that someone gets married, and it turns out not to be what they expected. Owning your decisions is about saying “This is not what I expected. However, I made this decision, knowing it was a lifetime thing, and I am going to stick with it.” Owning your decisions is about not trying to pin the blame onto something else or someone else, and thereby trying to wriggle out of the responsibility.
Here is the thing.  Beforehand, people will try to influence your decisions.  Owning your decisions starts even then, as you listen to people, taking on board whatever they say but ultimately realising that you will be responsible for the decisions that you take. So this means that you don’t let people influence you unduly. You recognise the limits of their advice and you act accordingly.

My own attainment:
Strong. I make my own decisions, and I take responsibility for the decisions I get wrong.  I don’t like blaming people for my own mistakes because that feels like giving those people a kind of power over my life, which I don’t like. To me it seems so weak. Once again I would struggle to respect someone who did this. This is why I take my sweet, sweet time to make my decisions, so that I can take complete responsibility for them afterwards.

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