Diaries Magazine

Does Society Care to Ask What Makes a Man, ‘marriage-material’?

Posted on the 16 May 2019 by Sallygatez @salaminaM

‘A good husband makes a good wife.’ John FlorioDoes society care to ask what makes a man, ‘marriage-material’?I have been thinking a lot about marriage over the past few months. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that my husband and I recently passed the 10-year marriage mark. In fact, we will have been married for 11 years this coming September. I would go on and on about the ups and the downs of this journey so far, but that’s subject for another blog post entirely. What I actually want to reflect on now, is the fact that I have come across so many articles, posts and books that tell women how they can be ‘marriage material’, but so little has been penned on what makes a man a good catch for marriage. People do understand that this thing is a two-way street, right? Evidently not.
Disclaimer; I don’t profess to know it all. The first thing that I learnt about marriage, albeit begrudgingly, is that no matter how many self-help books you may read or how many marriage seminars you attend, your journey is so unique and so different to so-and-so’s marriage, that you may still find yourself drowning in it. This too is a story for another day. For today I am pondering on the other side of the ‘marriage-material’ coin. Are there things that make a man good material for marriage? My unflinching and very immediate answer is, yes, they are. I will also say though; anyone can be marriage material, whether you believe it or not. But this does require that they actually want to get married in the first place. 
The reality of marriage is anyone can walk down the aisle and get married. Anyone can also be married for a few years, think it's really working out but still find themselves in the divorced line, contemplating how hard it will be to start all over again. I have found that there are no formulas to this marriage thing, and this is what makes it so hard. People change over the years, people get bored, and some even surmount life altering events, after which they are never the same again. With all of this said though, they are still things that one can look for in the beginning of the journey, that I have found in my personal experience to have made living with my beau much easier. They say "a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It is a husband and a wife who take turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak." This means it is also important for a man to be capable of being emotionally available. Men also need to open up and share what is going on with them on the inside. If your husband doesn't feel like he can be vulnerable in front of you, I'd say that's a red flag you need to take note of. This goes hand in hand with the ability to be completely transparent and honest. This is the only way that the level of trust between the two of you will grow. Let me just say, this will take patience and time to build. It starts with sharing personal stories, even those unfortunate past dating stories and 'hit lists'- that depending on how honest you are at the beginning of the relationship, may require some uncomfortable editing over the years. The question you will have to ask yourself here is, are you someone who creates the space for your partner to be able to say anything to you? Another thing that I have found to be really important is my partner's ability to both lead and cheer. This has become increasingly important in our home in the last 4 years because we both embarked on our own individual entrepreneurship journeys. Society of course expects that without fail a woman must step up and support her man as he breaks his back to provide for his family. You see, the lead-part is almost exclusively reserved for the man in the marriage, and it is usually paired up with a mans ability to be the provider of all things economic in the household. But in most modern day homes that I know, they are two people working, chasing and hustling to bring home the bacon. Ours is this case exactly. So If my husband was unable to also step aside and watch me chase down my dreams, while at the same time cheering me on, it would have become increasingly difficult for me to cry on his shoulder or toast my successes with him...leaving an ever widening gap for me to have to leave the comfort of home to seek a shoulder, a hug, a word of encouragement. A red flag.  (Channel my inner- Beyonce) Ama-rough diamonds to the left, to the left...as I go to the right! Listen, by the time I met Mr- Lenyalo (marriage), I was so sick of the rough diamonds I had fallen for before him. I didn't want to raise anymore boys. I had, had my heartbroken and I was tired of all the investments I had made that had in the end yielded no permanent results for me. I was to blame of course. I liked to date 'projects'. People I could fix for myself, so that I could make myself feel better. I believe it's called the Saviour complex. So top of my marriage material list is definitely a man who is self-sufficient. Someone who is already capable of looking after themselves emotionally, physically, financially, and yes, this includes being able to feed themselves. Trust me, an independent partner is a happy partner. Relationships require mutuality, it's a back and forth of giving support and seeking support. For both parties. Please don't @me on this one. Ke feditse. I could go on all day on the things you will wish you had considered before tying yourself down to someone. There are not enough blog posts that can be written on this here subject. So in summary I will rattle off some others that I have found to be sticky material points. How does he handle conflict? This is a major one, because in your marriage there will be conflict. Pay attention to how he fights with you and with others. Does he fight fair? I can't stress this one enough. Having similar values is also really important. This is an area where a lot of fights could arise, if it is not something that you paid attention to at the beginning. This is not to say that you have to agree on everything, because that is not possible. You were raised differently and you are individuals with your own ideas and convictions. But something like- can you agree on how you treat money, or do you have the same thoughts on raising children, or even how do you treat people, whether it's people you know personally or those that will serve you in restaurants or petrol stations. This things matter more and more with time. Friends, friends, friends...his friends, and your friends. Does your partner like your people? I am talking about your 'ride-or-die-squad of girls' or if you are a person who just has 1 or two really close besties, how does he feel about them? Of course I am not suggesting that this one is important to everyone, but it was to me. I have people that have been in my life for even longer than he has. He will never have to compete with these people for my attention, but they are still very important to me and visa-versa they also understand how important making my marriage work is to me. I have in the past dated people who had issues with my core people. This made things very uncomfortable for everyone...and anytime someone needs to separate you from people who are part of your moulding, especially if you too trust that they are really your true friends, then I have difficulty in seeing how he is really for you. You still need to allow each other to have friends...other than each other. It has at times, been mine and hubby's saving grace. Add sexual compatibility to this list. But don't overthink it. I believe that sexual skills can be learnt and chemistry to a certain extent can be built upon. However, there still needs to be some level of desire for physical touch that you feel expressed towards you by him. 
Some would argue that I have barely scratched the surface of what makes a man marriage material in this post. To which I will answer by saying, at the end of the day, great marriages do not happen by luck or by accident or by us having everything on our long list of wants met. Great marriages happen when the two people commit to consistent investment of time, mountains of patience, truckloads of forgiveness, thoughtfulness, affection, mutual respect, hours and hours of prayer and of course rock solid commitment to staying on the same side. Its journey not a destination, so be kind to yourselves and to each other. Many blessings and please, do try to enjoy the ride. 😉😉

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