A successful marriage begins well before you meet the woman you want to spend the rest of your life. Your success is secured like any other goal – you prepare. Here is a list that will challenge you to think about yourself and the life you desire with a mate. Before you even ask the ‘BIG’ question make sure that you are prepared to be the man of her dreams. While you are at it – make sure you have made a few of your own dreams come true.
Have at least one platonic friendship. If you ever want to earn your future wife’s complete trust, then you cannot have sex with or date every one of your attractive female friends. You need to be able to show restraint and that you care about more than a woman’s physical appearance. Otherwise, she will believe that anything that walks by and winks at you can lead you astray.
Accomplish all your educational goals. It is great to build a foundation together. But unless you met your future spouse as adolescents, or young adults, it is likely that you will have to build a foundation strong enough for you and your family. Complete your education, all of it, before you meet, court, and marry your spouse. Furthermore, a woman does not want to feel like she is the only reason you are just now pursuing your education or any other goal. Finally, with the intense academic regimen behind, you will have more time to dedicate to your family and the goals you define together.
Affirm your career choice. A wanderer is extremely frustrating for a woman. She can appreciate a starving artist that is committed to his craft more than a job hopper. Besides, no one wants to hear the constant complaining of how you are over-qualified, unfulfilled or not being challenged by your career. Even worse is the guy that is living so far in his past that he is missing the present. You were a great athlete, but that is not your present career. If this applies to you, then it is time for you to move on and commit to your present life. Dedicate yourself to your current opportunity and maximize your future.
Live alone: without a parent, a partner, a live in ‘relationship,’ a child or a roommate. Each person must be able to distinguish for themselves the value of independence. It may be the last time that you will not rely on someone else to meet your goals, or have someone depending on you to meet theirs. It may seem lonely now, but there will be times in your marriage when you would pay top dollar for moments of solitude. More importantly, a man must develop skills of self-reliance. A woman of great worth values a man that wants her; not needs her because he cannot take care of himself.
Purchase at least one vehicle of your choice and with your own resources. There is a strange connection between men and machines. Cars are likely at the top of the list. A guy does not have to be a car aficionado to have a list of dream cars. Maybe it was dad’s or grandpa’s old Chevy pickup or a sports car from your favorite movie. A guy has a list of dream cars, or motorcycles. Purchasing one of those cars before marriage provides a sense of accomplishment, without the guilt associated with foregoing more responsible decisions like saving for your kids’ college. Do it now – before the wife becomes your voice of reason. But don’t get too attached in case you have to sell that two-seater and purchase a vehicle with room for a car seat.
Take at least one guys’ trip. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like a road trip with the guys. Whether it is to a regional fishing hole or a major sporting event like the Superbowl, a testosterone filled excursion will provide memories to last a lifetime. Friendships are deepened and fables are created through these moments. When life becomes saturated with couple’s retreats and diaper bins, he will always have the ability to escape to the time when the guys had an epic weekend. Remember discretion is the key.
Take at least one international trip – regardless of the purpose. The world is much larger and more diverse than any of us can imagine. Experiencing other cultures and traditions will deepen a man’s appreciation for his own heritage, and enlarge his palette for a richer life. Besides, it is much cheaper to travel as one. Something can be gained through reading, but it is a much more tangible experience to visit.
Have a healthy relationship with parents and siblings. Healthy is subjective and depends greatly on the parties involved. But if a man has an estranged connection with his parents or siblings, then he may invite those seeds of contention into his current relationship. Resolving familial relationships also provides a sign that he will stick around when the times get tough in the marriage. If he will leave his mother, he will certainly leave a marriage.
Attend at least one play, ballet, or symphony. Whether art imitates life, or the other way around, women appreciate fine arts. And, women appreciate a man that can articulate an informed opinion or interpretation of the arts. A real student of art will stretch your imagination with the parallels art to life. A man must, at a minimum, be able to hold a respectable dialogue within this continuum.
Participate in one of your religion’s highest spiritual event. For instance, if you are a Muslim, then you will certainly want to take the Hajj or attend Savior’s Day before considering marriage. The Potter’s House’s Man Power is another phenomenal event. Spiritual maturity comes through experience and exposure; and is just as important as emotional and physical maturity. A man can only lead where he has been. His home, meaning the members of his family will look to him for spiritual direction and constant guidance. Participating in spiritually enriching events, at a higher level, develops a person immensely. No one can remain the same after a spiritually awakening.
Serve on a political campaign or non-profit board. A man must realize the impact that his surrounding community will have on the quality of life for his family. Serving on a campaign or non-profit board will give him a broader perspective on the dynamics that have the potential to help or harm his family. In addition, a serious ‘candidate’ for Mrs. Wife will also have likely served in a leader’s capacity for a social or political action organization. Your individual experiences will give you more content for those lively dinner table discussions.
Have/do something that is all your own. A man needs to have his own outlet. A hobby. A poker club. A neighborhood water hole. A Labyrinth. Having a family of your own is a wonderful thing. Yet, after you pamper the wife and invest in your children, make sure that you leave time for yourself. Make sure that your bride-to-be understands that your time alone, or the reasonable investment in a personal hobby, is a good thing for everyone. The more internal peace that you gain, the higher the motivation you have to succeed.