by Levi Fox
All the single ladies. Listen up. We men inevitably come to that point in our lives when we have to make those milestone decisions—where to apply for college, what to study, where to live, where to invest our money, etc. We carefully plan and strategize these choices, because they affect the outcome of our future career, finances and overall direction of our lives. But, perhaps, for the most important decision we will make, we men take very little time to develop any “rules” beforehand.
We were created to love. It is natural. And it is certainly a beautiful gift we all should enjoy. But, too often, our desire to love and be committed with someone blinds us from what we know to be most important. These ten steps are not a foolproof plan of lifelong marital bliss. Marriage is hard work, but without considering these factors, you are preparing your marriage for failure.
10. “Hooking up” with the wrong girl.
Nobody wants to be with a girl who has been with everybody. We all know who they are. These girls are your promiscuous night owls with a different frat tie around her third floor dorm room handle each night. Nothing screams uncommitted like a girl who doesn’t even know your name the following morning. Find a girl who saves herself for marriage. Yeah, I said it. As uncommon as this sounds, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you will trust her.
9. Time is love.
Girls are complicated. But one thing that mixes complexity with frustration is a girl who doesn’t have time for you. There’s nothing scarier than a popular girl who loves the limelight. She is proud to have you escort her to the football game, as long as everyone sees that she’s got a man. If the girl does not have time for you now, she won’t when you are married. The most satisfying aspect in a relationship is time spent with a girl who genuinely wants to be by your side.
8. Say no to manipulation.
Every father wants his little girl to play hard to get. He wants the man she marries to want her badly enough to go after her. But don’t mistake playing hard to get with manipulation. The guilt trips, the assumptions, he said she said, and self-pity are all signs of a weak, self-conscious individual. Smooth talk has no power over this. Not even Ryan Gosling. This is what we in urban America call “high-maintenance.” One would think a diamond ring would fix this. But not even a woman’s best friend can cure this problem.
7. Number one fan.
Nothing shouts love like sitting on the sidelines of your three year old’s soccer match and cheering as if you’re on the 50-yard line of the Super Bowl. Your wife needs to be the most encouraging friend you have. If your best friend does not give you the respect and support you need, you will be a frustrated, miserable man.
6. The Joker.
She has to know how to smile. These are the most precious and treasured moments. Life is not easy. The pressures and anxieties of life only get tougher. Here’s a tip to limit stress—having a wife who knows how to laugh with you until you’re two old beautiful souls. Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.
5. A standard of living.
We all have standards. Some of you might need to think about reevaluating yours, but we all have them. The frustration in marriage will only begin to burn if you’re with a girl with a world of standards apart from your own. One of two things will happen—compromise or divorce. Or both.
4. Family first.
Want a preview of what your marriage will be like? Just take a good look at the relationship between her and her parents. A top requirement for your bridal candidate must be a love for her family. The way she treats them will be the way she treats you.
3. Love me some people.
Run fast if you’re interested in a girl who loves to hate on other people. There is nothing more damaging than someone who can’t keep their opinions to themselves. Certain people tear others down in order to esteem themselves. These people don’t compliment relationships, they kill them.
2. Who said faith matters?
Marry a girl who shares your belief of God. This is the most fundamental step to consider. I will guarantee you a marriage of growing anxiety and misery if you marry a girl who does not believe in the God you worship. Also, God doesn’t approve either.
Marriage is for life. Don’t commit yourself to anyone you cannot see yourself with “til death do you part.” Divorce rates are only climbing, because boys don’t ever grow up into men. Fight for your girl every step of the way. A successful marriage requires falling in love over and over with the same person. A boy makes excuses and quits. A man understands the vow he made and never stops falling in love with his bride.
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This article was originally published on Counter Cultured’s “Gentleman’s Corner” column.