Things to know

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Friday, August 24, 2012

What to Look for in a Spouse


As sometimes happen, I failed to publish the following column two years ago. I alluded to it, but didn't follow through.

My thanks to reader "Mel" who realized my mistake and kindly pointed it out to me.

- Bro Jo]

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The One":

I know you've said that there is no such thing as "THE ONE" person whom we're destined to be but what are traits that can help you tell who is good marrying type guys and girls and who aren't?

Dear Readers,

The Above comment was left on a “Dear Bro Jo” column titled “The One”, which you can check out by clicking HERE.

I thought it deserved its own column, so here it is!

- Bro Jo

Dear Anon,

I’ve written before about “The 5 A’s of Why Not to Marry” (which can be read HERE), and on our Facebook Discussion pages both Guys and Gals have commented about what types of things they’re looking for or find attractive . . . but I think you’ve presented a great opportunity to discuss the qualities that are important to look for in a spouse.

I should perhaps start by saying that, while even though we’ve been together for over 20 years, I still find Sister Jo to be stunningly beautiful. I’m certain that we’re one of those couples that people whisper about when they see us, saying to each other “How did HE get HER?!?”

I honestly have no idea, except that, since Sister Jo is typically sober, bright and alert, it must have been one of those rare moments in time where I was smarter than she . . .

That said, some of what I love and find beautiful about Sister Jo now is stuff that, after many, many dates, I was educated enough to be looking for then, and some of what I love is stuff that I was not smart enough to be looking for . . . I think I just got lucky.

There are certainly different “types” of people . . . we’re all going to be attracted to different things (thank the Lord), but there ARE some general qualities that I hope my children, and each of you, are smart enough and lucky enough to find in a spouse.

To that end, here is:


1) Someone you can talk to.

2) Someone you can put before yourself.

3) Someone you love.

4) Someone you can respect.

5) Someone you can trust.

6) Someone you can support.

7) Someone who has the faith to be happy and positive.

8) Someone who you enjoy spending time with, in a physical way.

9) Someone who you enjoy spending time with when there’s no possibility of anything physical.

10) Someone who feels all those things about you.

Here are some other things to consider:

1) A spouse should be your Best Friend; someone you can tell your hopes and dreams, your fears and concerns. You DO NOT want to raise teenagers with someone who won’t advise you; after a long day, with the kids or at work or after you got in a fight with you parents, you’ll need someone who will listen to what you need to express; you’ll want a voice you can tolerate, an ear that gives you comfort.

2) Love is about sacrifice, you’ll need to do things you don’t want to do, at times that are amazingly inconvenient, often at some kind of risk, for the person you call Eternal Companion. Will you watch the kids even though you’re tired because your spouse needs a break? Will you run to the store to get them something even though you’d rather be doing something else? Can you put their happiness ahead of your own?

3) Do you honestly care about this person and their wellbeing? Does knowing them bring you joy? Do you wish for them to be happy, even if it means you’ll be sad?

4) Can you look this person in the eye? Do you hold them in high regard? Do you see them has having Great Self-worth? Do you admire them? Do they treat others well? I’ve said often, you can’t love someone you don’t respect.

Remember that even in the best marriage, conflict, disappointment and frustration are real. We make mistakes, we have regrets, we say and do things we shouldn’t. Marriage isn’t about being perfect; it’s about two people growing towards perfection, each helping the other to be a better person.

- Bro Jo


Jared said...

I wonder if you could elaborate on #3 Someone you love.

What is love? I would consider the definition of love to be the other advice given. Or do I have it wrong?

Dave Johnston said...

@ Jared -

See the clarifications above.

Especially about Sacrifice.

- Bro Jo