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A good husband is not determined by how much he will do with you

What do women look for in a man when selecting a husband? I hasten to say that far too many women do not really know what the characteristics of a good husband are.

Many women want a man to have a good job with enough money to pay the bills, purchase a house, put food on the table, and support their personal needs so they can keep all their money to spend as they wish. Some women want a man with enough money so they would not have to work outside the home. In exchange, the man will lead the home by making all major decisions and having the last say. They will cook the food, and produce children for him. This is what I call a “transactional relationship.”

I am proposing that these “characteristics” constitute a poor formula that often leads to abuse. It is important that a husband have a job. It is also important that a husband be a leader, primarily of his own life, and be willing to lead with his wife. What is certainly not good is when a woman begins the relationship as a dependent. These are not the ancient days when women had little or no value and could not be educated, nor have a job, or a bank account. Before a woman or man enters a relationship, both of them should be independent, self-sufficient, well-adjusted, mature adults. It is imperative that a woman be totally independent and has no need of a man before she really seeks one.

I have observed that there are still some young brides who leave their parents’ homes on the wedding day as dependent young adults and join in holy matrimony to independent men who feel honored to take care of their new wives. Typically, while dating, the men paid for all the meals. The men have good jobs, and the young women depend on them for funding all entertaining activities. The young women have never or very rarely been in a position to contribute to the financial decisions made before marriage. This is a recipe for disaster. Women, if you need a man with money because you do not have any, you might be setting yourself up for a miserable relationship. That is not a good characteristic of a good husband. In fact, that is not even a good characteristic of a good wife.

It is my view that a woman should not begin dating until she is able to control her own destiny in the relationship. Do not allow the male with whom you are hoping to have a relationship to have the upper hand. Perhaps it is important for me to define the term “dating.” In my own words, dating is a relationship with an end in mind. What kind of end do you have in mind? Is it sex, a baby, or marriage? If you do not have an end in mind before you start dating, soon an end you did not consider might occur. That’s painful.

I appeal to you, men, not to be controlled by the cultural expectations that you are to hold the money bag and be in charge of the relationship. You might enjoy having her with you, but at some point, you will hurt her or she will hurt you. If you need to show your power and manhood by paying all the bills, then you are misguided and will ultimately become a weak man in the eyes of the woman. One day all the money might be gone and your power will be stripped and so will your manhood. Then the risk of being abusive will increase.

Marriage specialist Dr. John Knoles says that a good husband “knows that, as his responsibilities increase, his rights will decrease. Is willing to give up everything except responsibility for his actions. Realizes his integrity has dynamic, influential value. Desires godly integrity: not just an image.” A good husband loves unconditionally. He seeks not to control but to serve. He shares power with his wife. His daily passion is to serve and love his wife.

Women, remember being a good husband is not determined by how much he will do for you, but by how much he will do with you. You can only know if he will share with you if you bring your own strengths and independence to the table. Go and find a good husband.

• Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or comments to
question@soencouragment.org, telephone 327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org.  

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