Commenter Me has requested a concise post on being a husband. While the post isn’t concise, the list is. The path to becoming a husband very much starts with one’s path to becoming a man.
Have a Goal
I’ve seen this referred to as having a mission, a path, one’s life’s work. Whatever you choose to call it, it boils down to deciding what you want to make out of your life and pursuing that goal without apology. This should be what drives you and it should be your main focus. A man is able to reach a goal in many different ways and his path is completely up to him. Some men decide to stay single and pursue their goals on their own, doing everything that is required to make it happen (including all the daily chores that must be done: food, laundry, cleaning, et cetera). Some men do well enough to hire out help so they can spend more time pursuing their goals and some men choose to find a woman who will help him reach his ultimate goal (this is often called a helpmate). For those men who wish to marry the need to complete his task must never be replaced. It must never be lost. The woman he chooses is there to help him with this task and to complete his mission. For the women reading this, if you’re new to this, you might be thinking “What about my goals?” This is one of the reasons why I said you will want to think about what you want at a young age. You do have the option to pursue your goals unapologetically in this day, just like a man. The so called “good men” are mostly looking for a helper in their lives. If you have goals that you truly wish to pursue, you may not ever marry or you may marry a man whom you have difficulty respecting. As I’ve said before, you can’t have it all and there are decisions that must be made. Once they’ve been, they must be accepted. They are yours and yours alone to take responsibility for.
A man looking for a wife must choose her deliberately. Finding a good wife is going to both hinder you and help you in completing your mission. You will be responsible for another person now and presumably for more people down the road. Your goal might morph a bit, but it will still be whole. You must choose a woman who is willing and happy to help you pursue it. Keep in mind that she is likely to have some things in her life that she wants to complete as well. Are these things compatible or are they something she is willing to put off for a while? If not, you must keep in mind that if you change your goal, if you pursue her goals instead of yours , she will very likely lose respect for you and resent you while not really understanding why. You will have put her above yourself.
The woman you choose should have equal worth to you. That not to say she is your equal in every way (men and women are too different to be equal. What we each tend to pursue from life is too different to truly compare). She can have equal worth in your marriage (and society) while you, the husband, remain the leader. What she offers must be somehow comparable and complimentary to what you offer (her ability to have children, remain loyal, be beautiful, care for you and help you in reaching your goal). If she does not have equal worth, if she cannot bring to the marriage things that are comparable to what you are offering her, then she is likely not worth your commitment.
That’s the ground work: determine your path, begin working toward whatever end you’ve discerned is right, and find your compliment (since the assumption for this post is that marriage is desired). With this understood, we can move on to the requested list of actions that will lead to a state of good husbandry.
Attend to your Duty
If a man chooses to marry he has a duty to his family. He has an obligation to care for and protect them. If you choose your wife carefully, she will likely inspire this from you and it won’t feel so much like an obligation. It will be something you wish to give to her. You must keep in mind that you are securing her and your family. There will be things that you will choose to do that will not make her happy. This security is not about her happiness. It’s about your duty to your family. You must decide and follow through with what must be done. If she is unhappy about some aspect of it, as long as you know that you are doing right by your family, her unhappiness is of no concern to you (if, however, she voices a reasonable concern you should listen. The final decision lies with you). As an example, with hurricane Sandy recently rolling through our area Maritus had some serious concerns for our well being. It was his duty to ensure our safety both during the storm and in the aftermath. As he is quite prepared for most situations, all we had to do to prepare for the storm was a regular grocery shopping trip, pick up a bit of extra water, some goodies for the kids and some kerosene. We had everything else we needed for warmth, food, cooking, hydration, communication, power, et cetera. What else could I ask for during a storm that bad? He provided everything we needed while I helped out with some of the grocery shopping and remembered a couple small things we might need. If the storm had been worse in our area, I would have been in charge of the food, cooking, some of the heat issues, and keeping the children entertained while he would have been in charge of the more dangerous aspects of a storm like that.
Make Every Big Decision
You are the leader of the house. All of the major decisions are yours to make. Make those decisions, own them, and then get out of the way. You are providing the dwelling and the structure of your family and your wife will be providing the details. All of the detail decisions are hers to make so that you can focus on your goal. You are there to break the tie or to help her through some of the other decisions she may need help with, but mostly you are there to lead through the major things. I do suggest not leaving your wife out of any of the major decisions. She is there to help you and those decisions will affect her as well. Also, she will likely have some major input to give you that you may not even be aware of (this happens a lot at our house, especially when it comes to homeschooling. I teach the kids and am the most knowledgable about the whole aspect of it. Any major decision that needs to be made about it is on Maritus. However the decision can’t be made without my input as he does not have all of the necessary information on his own).
Follow your Interests
Once you have fulfilled your duty and made the major decisions, follow your interests and do it unapologetically. You now have time to do what you’re interested in and can do it without guilt. Your family will follow. You are masculine and you will attract the feminine. She will want to go where you go.
Put Her on a Pedestal
Now wait! Men, come back and listen. It’s not what you think. Put her on a pedestal of your own making. Not one that is above you, but one that you’ve created in your own dwelling. You put her there not to worship her, but because you have said she is worthy. You are the king of your dwelling and you have gone down into the peasantry and chosen a Queen. You are lifting her up to help you in your life and in turn she will help you and will likely inspire you to be more than you thought you could be. If she does that for you, she deserves the respect and admiration for it. Worship, no. You are the leader and will forever remain so, but if your wife is your helpmate, if she inspires your masculinity, helps you strive for more, brings love, comfort and loyalty to your life she deserves a high place within it. Not above you and not on par (remember, we are too different to be equals – in the very fact that you are lifting her up there cannot be equality) but a definitive place within your life.
I know that this might strike a foul chord with many of the men here. The idea is she goes on that pedestal when you say she does, when you deem her worthy. The choice is always yours. For example, you don’t buy things for her because someone told you to or because she expects it (Valentine’s Day, Anniversary). You buy her things for the simple reason that you want to. In being feminine and providing for you she will inspire a happiness in you that you wish to reward. You don’t place her there for any reason beyond the fact that you have deemed that she should be there. Earning this place in a man’s heart, knowing that he dotes on you for the simple reason that he deems you worth it and not because he is attempting to manipulate happiness, or because someone told him that is the thing to do is a very powerful thing. The proper place for this pedestal should remain under the husband’s umbrella. It is a place that a woman will strive to stay as she will know that the minute she fails she will be removed.
A Word about Looks
A lot has been said about how women are more exacting in what they are looking for in look from a man and when we are looking a photographs I would agree. When a man’s looks are all that we have to go by we will be very precise in the wide shoulders and chest with a small waist and a good strong face that draw so many of us. However, in my opinion, masculinity will trump looks every time. Will good looks help a man get his foot in the door much faster? Yes. In a marriage is a woman going to be more primally attracted to a well muscled and healthy man? Yes. But the will be most attracted to his masculinity and his looks will be a nice bonus only. I do suggest staying in good shape, even excellent shape. However, not only will your wife enjoy it, muscles and the difficult work that is entailed in obtaining them enhance a man’s masculinity in a very specific way. It brings a confidence that can be palpable.
If a man brings these things to the table of marriage he will have a good and strong one with a wife who will work hard to remain on the pedestal he has created, and she will love him.