I confess. I’ve been finding a wife.
And very unfortunately, you don’t find them easily, like in a grocery store.
And I must admit.
I’m probably the worst ever date you could imagine. When I first started actively looking for a partner in Singapore, when I met women in a cafe, I would insist on not buying anything. Why?
Because I wanted to save money.
One lady got so pissed that she told me I was forcing her to buy something at the restaurants we went to.
You can probably imagine why I haven’t gotten a wife so far.
So why listen to me?
I know. I probably sound like the worst guy to listen to, especially when I don’t have a wife.
But having worked as a social worker for 2 years in a family service centre in Singapore, I was responsible for counselling couples in distress. That helped me to see what would make or break relationships.
But beyond that, I’ve used the traditional methods of evaluating potential partners for business, in evaluating partners for life.
It may sound cynical and stupid, but it’s certainly helped me to figure out that those who are great in business, would probably be great in life too.
And having cycled through my fair share of dates from dating apps, you can probably imagine the experience that’s come from those bad experiences.
Here’s how you might want to think about the qualities, behind a great wife.
What works for me, may not work for you
Whilst there are certainly things I look for which may not necessarily work for you, this article seeks to establish some common denominators that work in good marriages.
But this article also shares how you might look out for these warning signs, especially when ladies might look oh-so-perfect when they come with you on dates.
But first, test the lady
I can sense the immediate reaction.
You may think,
John, this is not school! What tests do you need?
This sounds way too stressful, but ideally you would want to put ladies through a series of ‘assessments’, much like how you yourself would take assessments if you were going to an interview with Facebook.
Over and above all else, these scenarios would help you to truly understand who it is you’re marrying.
For example, some ‘assessments’ that help me quickly understand the innate qualities of potential partners are:
- Working with them on a small project, such as creating a media piece – this helps me to understand how reliable they are as people, and whether they can execute what they say they will do
- Asking about their money management skills
Stewards resources well
Some of the biggest conflicts I’ve seen in couples come when the wife spends money like water. Whilst this sounds like an exaggeration, I once heard of a wife who spent $7000 of her husband’s money, in a single week, on ornamental fish.
The next week, the fish died.
You can imagine the anger.
But how can you tell?
One big warning sign is if the girl expects you to pay at dates. I was recently at a date. I offered to order the food. At this point, it was clear to me that we were not anything. But when we sat down, she immediately said,
Thanks for dinner.
What a gross assumption. Granted, I was Mr Frugal, and this was only $4.50, but it was still money.
And it was still a terrible assumption to make, on a first date. As a guy, you may feel pressured to show off your money by paying for dates. But let me tell you this.
Don’t fall into the trap, as Dr Glover shares in ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, of ‘giving to get’. Just because you’ve paid for her meal, doesn’t mean she needs to love you. Or go out with you again.
I’ve had female friends who tell me that they have used dating apps to get free meals off guys.
Once again, nothing against women, but as a guy reading this.
You’ve been warned.
What’s a good sign? Some questions I like to ask a lady are:
- How do you treat yourself?
- If I start hearing of gross extravagances like $5000 spa packages, and hairdressing packages, I start thinking twice.
- How do you invest your money?
- Here a big bonus is if a girl knows how to invest her money. For me, this is the largest sign of financial independence.
- How do you manage your money?
- Basics like managing her income and expenses, making sure that she’s not living paycheck to paycheck, assures me that this is not someone who spends frivolously.
Stewards her gifts well
Something that’s deeply important to me is that a lady knows her gifts, and stewards them well. Talents don’t come by easily. But for someone to neglect their gifts, and do something that’s completely unnatural to them, strikes me as deeply wasteful.
One way to find that out is to ask her:
What do you think are your strengths, things that no else can do?
How have you demonstrated those strengths?
For me, that’s clear sign of understanding one’s skill, building out one’s skill, and finding the stages where that will flourish.
Knows what she wants with life
I’ve a thing for women who don’t really know what they want. Externally, they may say that they want something, but deep down, you hear something different.
One clear sign of this is in their career. Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay not to know what to do with your career. The 20s after all is, a very difficult time when you are still figuring things out and trying to understand what you are good at, and what you want to do with this life that’s given to you.
What does ring alarm bells is if the lady is not sure, but not making efforts to find out. For example, something that always concerns me is if a lady is in a weigh station job, but not taking effort to figure out what she wants to do with life.
What I mean is that when the lady meets you, you will probably start hearing a lot of complaints about her job, but when you suggest solutions, she is unwilling to take them.
This is classic.
But here’s something that stands out for me. With one of my colleagues, she recently gave birth. Childbirth is difficult. But after 2 weeks, she got her 2-week-old baby, and came with me to the workshop. I just thought,
Wow, this is commitment.
She’s been an inspiration for me in what I am looking for in a wife. Despite this being a difficult period of her life, having to stop her fast-growing career to raise a family, she’s continued to make something happen.
So what you should look for is someone who’s willing to try, even when she doesn’t know the whole way, rather than just complain.
There’s one quality that I prize above all, and that’s congruence.
When I was in Peru, she asked me,
What is one value you hold?
I thought for a long while.
She started tearing. She said she admired me for the wisdom in that reply.
Congruence is integrity. It’s the ability to be the same inside and out. When you speak to her, you can immediately tell that she’s not trying to hide anything. She’s not professing something on the surface, but then hiding something beneath the surface.
But yet it’s not authenticity. It’s transparency.
How can you tell? This is one of the most difficult. It will take time.
But beyond that, one way is to see how a lady behaves in a group. And that’s the difficulty of a dating app. You’re put in a very controlled environment, where you’re 1 on 1 with a lady. That can make it hard to see what she’s like. Of course she would be on her best behavior in front of you. But what is she like in her family? With her friends?
That’s why one of the best ways to tell if a lady is congruent, is to offer to bring her to a social gathering. It can be a random exhibition, or a dialogue session. But it will greatly help in terms of you sussing out whether she’s the same with you, and with everyone else.
Willing to submit
I know, I know. This sounds way too masochistic for the 21st century.
But as a Christian, and as someone who believes in the male being the head of the household, I believe that it’s vital that the lady is willing to submit.
There are going to be occasions where you disagree. During those points, you, as the man, need to be willing to consider things from the lady’s point of view, so that you come to a joint, balanced, and considered decision.
But on other times, the lady may need to submit to you.
Now that’s hard to find. Someone who’s willing to submit. How are you going to test that?
My tendency is to pose a controversial issue in front of them, to see how well they are able to share an opinion, but more importantly, to change their opinion in the face of differing evidence or viewpoints.
If they are able to rationally argue, and yet also compromise on certain points, I think that’s a great lady.
Resilient enough to stick through thick and thin with you
You don’t want a partner that will bail on you.
Now that’s hard to see. After all, how much can you find out if both of you are just having coffee?
One of my favourite ways is to go to a new, unfamiliar place, to see how the lady responds if I get lost.
During my first time dating someone, I (stupidly) did not search for directions beforehand. I would just depend on the lady to find our way for us.
Don’t smack me. I know it’s unbecoming of the guy.
But it also allowed me to see how the lady reacted under pressure, especially if the man did not live up to the expectations of taking the lead.
It shows you whether the girl will stick with you, through thick and thin, collectively finding a way out, or just blame you for a bad job.
Then there are all those partners I’ve never gotten.
One of the hardest qualities to search for, but which I believe is the most important, is wisdom. Wisdom is not just about being smart and intellectual, telling you about all the books they’ve read.
Wisdom is actually the ability to think in shades, to realise that there aren’t always straight (or correct) answers, and to realise that sometimes, life doesn’t turn out the way we want it to.
One example was a recent conversation I had with a lawyer. When I pointed out to her that she seemed to be working a little too hard, and that she might want to fence off her weekends for rest, her reply?
Well, sometimes life just isn’t so tidy.
That simple statement changed how I saw life.
But finding wisdom in a life partner, is tough.
I have no easy answers there on a ‘test’. If she’s wise, she will probably see through your test, easy! But what has helped me to realise the wisdom in partners is to ask, difficult issues I’m grappling with, and to seek their advice.
Lastly, you don’t want a clingy partner.
You want a partner that’s secure, regardless of whether you’re there. An important way to find out is to see if she has a life, and hobbies outside of you.
Finding a partner, is being patient
Don’t be that guy. Who marries out because he sees everyone else marrying, and thinks that you just need to settle, and accept, that there won’t be perfect partners.
That’s true. There aren’t perfect partners.
But settling for something less, is just discounting a potentially great life with a partner.