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Is Your Man Marriage Material?

Five Qualities That Show He’s the Real Deal

Melissa had been dating Wes for a year and a half when she realized it was time to make a decision about their future together. Actually, it was her older sister, Sandy, who pressed her on the issue over lattes one morning.

“So are you and Greg going to get married?” Sandy asked in her typical no-nonsense style. “You aren’t getting any younger, you know.” “You don’t need to remind me,” said Melissa, who had just turned 35. “And, yes, Wes has been dropping hints about tying the knot. But it’s such a huge decision—something inside me is holding back.” Sandy arched an eyebrow. “The real question is this: Is Wes ‘marriage material’ or is he a ‘meantime guy’ until you find the real deal?” She explained that she’d recently heard the term “meantime guy”—which is a man to hang out with for fun and companionship while waiting for someone else to settle down with permanently.
That conversation stopped Melissa’s galloping thoughts in their tracks. It forced her to ponder the question: What exactly constitutes a man who is marriage material? Maybe you’re asking yourself that, too. And if you aren’t at this present moment, chances are you will sometime in the future. There are lots of ways to answer that question, but let us suggest five indispensible qualities of a man worth marrying:

He has made Aretha Franklin’s tune “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” his theme song. He respects himself and he respects you—completely. The fact is, you can’t maintain a happy, long-term relationship with someone you don’t respect and/or who doesn’t respect you. Mutual respect demonstrates value and high regard. It is an essential ingredient for any lasting, flourishing relationship.

He tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If you catch a whiff of dishonesty in the air, look out! A man’s need to lie is a telling clue about his character and emotional health. It may indicate serious insecurity, lack of integrity, or flimsy moral standards. And if deceit shows up while dating, it’s likely to get worse during marriage. But here’s the good news: a man who consistently tells the truth is a man who doesn’t have anything to hide. That kind of guy is a keeper.

He knows trust is as fragile as crystal and he wouldn’t even think of breaking it. Truth-telling and trust go hand in hand, but trust is also bolstered in other ways. Does he follow through on what he says he’s going to do? Do his actions back up his words? When trust is broken, love is diminished and damaged. But when trust is diligently maintained, love grows stronger and stronger.

He’s determined who is number one in the relationship—and it isn’t him. This doesn’t mean the man is a doormat, passively kowtowing to the wishes of his beloved. Not close. This means the man has chosen to nurture and nourish his woman’s well-being. In a word, this means he is unselfish. His attitudes and actions send the message, “Because you’re so special to me, I want the very best for you.”

He treats a lady like a lady. A man worthy of matrimony is courteous, considerate, and compassionate. He has good manners, and he’s not afraid to use them. He is polite and respectful. But how do you know if a man is just “being on his best behavior” while dating? The answer becomes apparent from the way he treats other people. Listen to how he talks about his mother, sister, and female coworkers. Watch how he responds to random people he comes in contact with — restaurant servers, store clerks, baristas. If he is gracious in the way he talks about and treats other women in his life, you can expect the same.

You could probably add to this list, identifying qualities you consider essential. But surely, if the five qualities above are present, that’s a solid starting point for determining if your man is marriage material.