Women are wonderful. They are mysterious, affectionate, gentle, and they complement us in the most beautiful way. We fall for the way they walk, the softness of their voices, their pillowy lips, and the way they care for us. The enticing features of women naturally draw us out of our man caves to sniff around for closer inspection, but many men today have forgotten what to inspect. It is not the pillowy lips, nor the dreamy eyes, nor even a distracting walk that keeps us bonded for life — though these things are important — but instead, it is virtue.
A woman’s honesty, commitment, generosity, patience, temperance, wisdom, curiosity, and courage are the things that her physical features call us to examine with greater interest. But the idea of virtue has fallen out of vogue as feeling good has supplanted living well. So we chase after the exterior of a woman, even though her flesh will surely decompose, while the unseen beauty of her innermost goes unnoticed.
Many men will never truly know the wives they marry, which is a pity, considering that there is an infinity inside each of us to learn and appreciate for a lifetime. When a man is ignorant of his wife’s character, he may well discover later on there are aspects of her he might not have chosen to marry. Without intimate knowledge of his wife’s unseen world, and that of his own, a man sets himself up for heartache, divorce, and torment. Our society considers this outcome an eventuality, but it is really a choice.
Most people choose not to dig deep into the important questions before marriage because those questions are inconvenient. If you really want your marriage to thrive and last, here are some important considerations.
1. Do I care enough to take care of her for the rest of my life, even if she were to be horribly maimed or mentally incapacitated?
This question separates the men from the boys, and it puts your interests in perspective. If you treasure her innermost parts and know her better than anyone ever could, your wife will be a treasure that shines despite age or condition.
This question is revealing of a man’s inclination toward sacrificial love. Sacrificial love is distinct from “modern love” in that the needs of your lover come before your wants. If you are willing to endure suffering for the good of your partner and for the strength of your relationship, you have something special that can withstand the test of time and the pressures of society. If you don’t have that kind of love, you can make it every single day by placing intimate knowledge of your partner’s character above your want for pleasure.
2. Do you have similar intellectual curiosity?
One thing that can be devastating to a relationship is a difference in intellectual curiosity. Warm and fuzzy feelings may mask this discrepancy for a short time, and often even long enough for a couple to go through with marriage. But when the honeymoon goggles come off and you are left to stimulate something other than each other’s genitals, an intellectual gap can spell certain misery.
If you prize intellectual rigor, if you aren’t content with face value, and if you need to dig deeper into truth, there is a wife out there who can satisfy your needs. If you can see yourself banging your head against the wall and lamenting that you cannot have a proper philosophical discourse with your beloved, then seriously consider the arrangement. It would also do no good for your wife to feel like she wasn’t smart enough, or somehow inferior or incapable of stimulating you in such a way that you need.
3. What’s your lifestyle like?
Imagine your perfect day. Go from start to finish, and then retrace that same day with your future spouse. Your partner would want to share your perfect day with you, just as you would with her (excluding visits to the nail salon). Serious differences in lifestyle can be subtly overwhelming sources of tension between you and your spouse. If you are a fitness enthusiast and your wife is a couch potato, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment when you wish she’d be active with you, or vise versa.
To go along with lifestyle: What kind of house does she keep? Is she neat or messy? Is she health conscious or no? Is she a night owl while you’re an early riser? Does she set the toilet paper over or under? (Half kidding.) None of these amount to deal breakers by themselves, but when you ask these questions you get a broader picture of your compatibility as marriage partners.
Of course it is impossible to find someone who matches every little category you could possibly imagine. And even if you could build a wife, that would take away much of the challenge necessary to grow together. But it is important to discover your deal breakers and red flags now, because if you jump into a marriage and have children, you’ll have no easy opportunity to simply back out and start fresh.