I often tell men I mentor, “Whatever you do, don’t ever talk bad about your wife or girlfriend to another person.” Why? Because it only reveals the quality of your decision-making abilities. If she’s really as bad as you say she is, and you chose her, then maybe something’s wrong with “your picker.”
I learned this lesson the hard way after my 16-year marriage ended in divorce. Yes, it was mostly my fault, but somehow, I still successfully pointed out all the flaws in my ex-wife that contributed to me being a selfish, insecure, unfaithful, and insensitive husband.
You can’t be happily married unless you’re first successfully single.That’s when I learned a valuable lesson: “You can’t be happily married unless you’re first successfully single.” In other words, I had to fix me and my deficiencies first, before I could ask God to help me “fix my picker.” And as a single dad, I couldn’t afford to screw up finding the one (again). So, here are 3 ways I improved “my picker” and found my current wife (“the one”) who has radically changed my life and made me the husband my ex-wife deserved.
1. She should make you a better version of yourself.
After I was divorced and became successfully single, my teenaged son asked me, “Dad, your life is great now; why would you want to ever get married again and mess it all up?” I told you he was a teenager.
I said, “Because I don’t need to be married to be happy; but I want to get married because if I meet the right woman, I could be so much better as a man.” My son didn’t quite understand, so I had to explain.
The woman of your dreams (“the one”) should be a person who’s your teammate, cheerleader, and coach. A teammate who will stick, stand, and stay by your side; a cheerleader who encourages you to do your best regardless of the score or your record; and a coach who’s willing to get in your grill and tell you the truth, even when it hurts.
In other words, the woman who’s “the one” will always make you a better man WITH her than WITHOUT her. Her love for you, her heart towards others, and her unshakeable faith in God should always inspire you to be a better version of yourself.
2. She should love you in spite of, not until.
The typical marriage vows say, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, til death do us part.”
Unfortunately, most couples have selective hearing, because when the marriage goes wrong, all we remember is “better, richer, and health,” and we conveniently forget “worse, poorer, sickness and til death.”
If you want to know if she’s “the one,” make sure she’s not only willing to forgive your past mistakes, but she’s willing to forgive your future ones too. This is vitally important.
Divorce can’t be an option for her IF you don’t get along with her children; you file for bankruptcy; you develop an addiction; you lose your job; you don’t satisfy her sexually or emotionally; or you no longer “make her happy.”
As you know, marriage is not always rainbows and unicorns; it’s mostly rollercoasters and uncertainties. So, make sure she’s a “Ride or Die” wife, not just a “Wine and Dine” woman.
3. She should love God more than she loves you.
The FIRST commandment in the Bible says, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.”
That’s in reference to money, work, children, or anything we consider or treat as more important than God in our lives, even spouses. In my first marriage, I ignored this wisdom. I selfishly allowed my ex-wife to make me an idol in her life; and because of my insecurities, it felt good. There was no doubt she loved me, and I loved her. But I couldn’t continue to live up to the lofty standards she had set.
Yes, you want to be the man of her dreams, but you don’t want to be the god in her life. Trust me, she’s either not the one or not quite ready to be the one, until she gives her heart to God before she gives it to you.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but they were the non-negotiables for me when I was a single dad. And now, 7 years later, and remarried, my son and I both agree, it was life-changing.
Sound off: What do you think is the most important factor in choosing the right person to marry?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Do you want to be married when you’re older?”