Coach North is back with lots of suggestions for being wife material. There is so much to unpack that I thought I’d divide this advice into parts, this one covering the first five points out of 16.
You have as your critiquer a long married woman analyzing a young woman’s idea of how to be wife material. I sure don’t always agree. Some things are universal and timeless, so let’s dig in.
#1 “Know how to handle yourself”
Coach North says that guys like their women to be independent. She sees this as both being able to do a number of things for yourself and not have to call on him to, say, hang a picture. She believes he wants his wife to be financially independent.
Regarding the former, I see much sense in this. The “damsel in distress” routine can be charming if used judicially, but annoying if overplayed. Constantly asking for his assistance with tasks you can do just as easily shows either an overplayed hand or a lazy woman.
As for the latter, financial independence upon marriage is always valuable for you never know what road your life might take, plus it demonstrates your pluck and verve. But if he expects you to maintain gainful employment AND bear and raise children during their younger years, I’d run the other way. If you have no children, you are most likely quite naïve about the stress continuing to work full time will put on you, your marriage, and your children. My advice is to marry a man who can support you for a few years during this unbelievably stressful and busy time.
Coach sums up this way, “Guys will respect you for it and they will be more likely to see you as wife material.”
#2 “You’ve got some brains to back up that beauty”
She begins, “This doesn’t mean you have to be a scholar coming out of Yale, but showing that you’re more than just a gorgeous face is one of the biggest things guys look for.”
If you are going to be partners for life, this is obvious. Any man worth his salt will want someone with whom he can have meaningful and thought-provoking conversations. In any partnership, wisdom is needed along with beauty (defined by me as inner beauty and good grooming) and kindness. Would you want to marry a guy who plants himself in front of the tube watching sports and is conversant only about ball stats? Heck, no, you want an intelligent and witty conversationalist, too!
#3 “You take care of yourself”
Coach mentions both appearance, health, and exercise, as well as assuring your potential future husband that you have set high standards for yourself for life, because “if a guy senses that you will let yourself go in the future, he’ll more than likely run for the hills.”
Casual is fine, but slovenly is not. Men are very visual and want to look adoringly at you. You don’t have to be Miss America, but you do need to take pride in your appearance. This goes for hygiene as well. Would you like for him to be slovenly and unkempt? Of course not. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
#4 “You force him to be a better man”
This is not as draconian a suggestion as it sounds. Coach North is just suggesting that you be supportive of him in his endeavors such as work, education, spiritual life. Of course, if you love him, you will want him to be all that he can be, and he, in turn, should be supporting you in the same way. If you can’t be supportive in all these areas, he’s probably not husband material for you. When this comes naturally, it is a clear indication that you love each other and want only the best for each other.
This is where I’ll add my two cents: marriage is 90-90, not 50-50. You are committing to another for life, just as he is. It’s not all about you. If you think it is, you are probably not marriageable material.
#5 “You get along with his friends”
This is where I disagree strongly! Coach Amy states, “That doesn’t mean you have to like them or want to hang out with them… but if his friends see you as ‘the cool girl,’ it’ll force him to really value what he has. Guys want to feel like they’re better than their mates so give him one big reason to think that he has the coolest girl in the world!”
If you don’t like his friends–not every single one, but by and large–where will you fit in? Granted, as you both grow older, and especially once you begin to have children, your friends will likely change to a greater or lesser degree. However, why is he choosing you as his possible future wife if you don’t enjoy the kinds of people he hangs out with? And the same goes for your friends. He should generally and genuinely like the majority of your friends.
This is where I begin to depart from Coach Amy’s advice. I am beginning to sense that she is about you being malleable for your man. I want to make clear that creating a relationship with another person for life is not about you changing for your future husband except to better yourself for this new phase in your life. It is more about enjoying his company so much, and him enjoying yours, that you will be creating a new life together as you both make changes to accommodate the other because you love each other and want only the best for each other.
My two cents in spades:
I come from long experience in dating and marriage although from a generation or two older than you, dear reader. Times have changed and not always for the better. However, there are universal, timeless truths. Here they are written to correspond with Coach Amy North’s first five suggestions for being wife material:
#1 “Know how to handle yourself” – Come into the marriage in a fairly independent manner, but enter the marriage ready to lean on your strong, masculine husband and allow him to lean on you for your softer, feminine manner. Two together as one are stronger than two fully independent individuals. There will be times when you will need to lean hard on him such as while pregnant and with young children. He needs to be prepared for this task–and you need to be prepared to let him take care of you. Trust me, you’ll need and want his support.
#2 “You’ve got some brains to back up that beauty” – Don’t hide your intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom, but don’t flaunt it like a know-it-all either. Balance and humility.
#3 “You take care of yourself” – Always be well groomed (read clean and well kept). You’ll expect the same from him.
#4 “You force him to be a better Man” – Be supportive of him, and he of you. And it bears repeating: marriage is 90-90, not 50-50.
#5 “You get along with his friends” – Take your man as he is. Don’t think that you’ll change him. Would you want him to be in the business of changing you? Now, this doesn’t mean you both don’t have room to grow, or that little to medium things won’t need to be worked out, but it does mean don’t marry him feeling smug that you’ll change this or that after you’re married. Be prepared to accept him as he is; any positive changes are a bonus. Trust, me–I know from experience.
Part 2 will cover several more points.