How to Attract a Man Who Will Make You Happy for the Rest of Your Life
"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it." Somerset Maugham
An educated, successful, and attractive woman (we'll call Jane) reports that she "really wants to get married." When asked what she's looking for in a husband, her response is a blank stare. She just wants a husband, she says. She's already picked out her engagement ring.
Most of her friends are married or getting married, and she's sick of her mother's weekly calls announcing the weddings of her grammar school classmates. She's tried speed dating and singles' dances. She's made plans for drinks, only to endure the humiliation of being stood up more than once. She's had blind dates, which invariably end with her getting out of some man's car and hoping he'll call again. He usually doesn't, and she wonders what is wrong with her. She never considers whether she even liked the guy.
She has made marriage her goal. She may achieve it one day, but she'd be so much better off if she made a happy marriage her goal. She must rub the vision of herself in a Vera Wang wedding dress out of her mind. First, she must determine the qualities she desires in a husband, and also exactly what she expects from marriage. Otherwise, she could end up with the wrong man. The consequences range from a life of misery to death at the hands of an abuser.
Another woman (we'll call Pat) has been married for twenty years. Her husband buys himself presents for her birthday, like the soap dish and wine glasses he wanted but she didn't. More insultingly, he gave her Dr. Laura's new book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.
He has a rotten temper. Once, he threw their toddler's Barney furniture off the back deck and smashed it into pieces because it cluttered the kitchen.
Pat complains that her husband monitors her spending relentlessly. He decides when the heat and air conditioning can run and at what temperature. One brutally hot day, he screamed at her for having the audacity to turn on the ceiling fan without his permission.
Pat maintains that her children love their father, but they don't like him. They steer clear of him whenever possible, especially since his method of punishment is to lock them in a room and make them listen
She and her husband both have good jobs, but she is "much better educated" than he. So, how did she get stuck with this creep?
Pat met him when she was 23. He was 29 and from another part of the country, which made him seem worldly. She was so flattered to be with an older guy, so caught up in having fun, that she forgot to take account of his values.
"He used to talk about how his grandfathers ruled the roost," she says. "All the women in their family were beholden to their husbands. He even used to tell me the things his grandfather would do to his grandmother.
This man told her flat-out that his family diminished women, but she was having too good a time to let it sink in. Twenty years later, she's depressed, frightened, and unhappy. She has no self-confidence. Even though she has a good job, she is terrified to go it alone without her husband. She's a prisoner.
Unless Jane raises her standards, she may find herself in Pat's situation one day. She must stop being desperate. She should make a list of the good qualities she has to offer and read it whenever she starts to feel bad about not being married. She should make a list of the qualities she desires in a husband ("kind" should trump "rich"). Reading this list several times a day will help her attract men with these qualities.
She must stop viewing every guy she dates as a potential husband. She must observe a man coolly, rather than cling to him as if he's the last bus out of the depot.
It's critical that she listen carefully when a man talks about other women. Does he look up to his mother, or is does she still make his bed? Does he treat his sisters with respect, or is their main purpose in life making the potato salad? How does he talk about the women in his office? If his boss is female, does he resent her?
It's key to see how he behaves among other men, as well. Is he always playing "top it" with the bigger car, the bigger TV, or the bigger whatever? If so, Jane should tread carefully. He's insecure. Eventually, he's going to take it out on her.
Women can learn much about a man by the way he drives. Does he tailgate? Does he weave in and out of traffic, or is he respectful of other motorists? Does he drive considerately in residential neighborhoods, or does he blaze through? Does he toss burger wrappers out the window at stoplights, or does he treat public property as he would his own?
It doesn't matter whether Jane is 17 or 65. She must never make excuses for a man's bad behavior because he might be her last chance. She must shut off the brainwashing machine. No woman ever has to get married! The single life can be fun and full of adventure. No woman should ever give that up for the wrong man. Marriage does not always equal happiness. Marriage does not always equal success.
But, if Jane plays her cards right, it could. Once she raises her standards for the men she'll go out with, better men will appear. (This is a promise.) She won't have to jump through hoops to find dates. The losers, abusers, and No-Show Joes she used to put up with will disappear. They'll sense that she's out of their league.
Jane will be on her way to finding not just a husband, but also a man who makes her happiness as important as his own.
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