Sometimes, when I'm not able to catch a television show during its premiere, rather than watching it on On Demand, I'll put the title of it into Twitter (in hashtag form) to see what the viewers had to say (because sometimes that's far more entertaining). And bae-bay, there was a quote from a recent episode of Ready To Love that had folks wanting to pass the offering plate around…a couple of times. Drum roll, please:
"An unsure man is a dangerous man."
An unsure man is a dangerous man. #ReadyToLove https://t.co/92ddnulMVT— Oprah Winfrey Network (@Oprah Winfrey Network) 1543722000.0
Let's let that sink in for a moment, shall we? When a man isn't sure — pretty much about anything, but especially when it comes to matters of the heart — he becomes dangerous. Another way to look at this is when a man is uncertain or lacks confidence in how he feels about you or the relationship that he's in with you, he's prone to risky, unstable, inconsistent, hazardous and even harmful behavior. It's not necessarily that he doesn't love you. It's that he's uncertain about what to do with how he feels. And yes, that — is — dangerous!
Now put a pin in that while I go a bit deeper…
Recently, I had a conversation with a male friend of mine who happens to be a relationship coach. Because he got married fairly late in life (when he turns 50 next year, he'll have been married for five years) and I'm a never-been-married-before marriage life coach who's currently in my mid-40s, we always have riveting conversations on why it seems like so many good women get caught up in men who are not interested in long-term relationships, let alone marriage.
During one of our latest chats, after he asked me why it seems like when we as women know what we want and a man refuses to give it to us, that we won't accept that it boils down to a man not wanting us. I shared the conclusion that I've come to — partly due to observation and partly due to my own experience:
I don't think it's that we can't tell if a man isn't interested. I think it's that we get emotionally invested before doing two things first. One, getting clear about what we want before a man even comes along and two, refusing to get involved with someone unless they want the same things that we do.
That brings me to the title of this article. How can we really determine whether a man is marriage material?
Before trying to figure out if a man complements your lifestyle, shares the same values as you do, or is the one who you want to share the rest of your life with, find out if he wants to be married (or not) FIRST.
I know it sounds simple, elementary even, but you'd be A-MA-ZED by the number of couples I've worked with who have so much contention around this one point. Again, it's not that the man doesn't love his significant other; it's that marriage is pretty much the last thing on his mind.
It's not a goal. It's not a priority. It's not even really much of a desire.
However, because this wasn't something that was discussed off the rip (meaning within the first three dates), the woman figured that because there was a mutual attraction, because they enjoy spending time together, because in many ways he was being really good to her, surely they were building a future together. Meanwhile, all he was really thinking about is how cool things are going in the present. No more, no less. And, since the topic of marriage wasn't put on the table from the beginning, it wasn't a part of his agenda now.
I know I'm gonna get some push back on this, but when a relationship plays out this way, that doesn't make "him" the bad guy. It's a heck of a reality check but just because some of us assume that a long-term relationship should ultimately end in marriage doesn't make it a hardcore fact for the people we're dating.
And that's why I say that the most obvious overlooked indication that a man is truly marriage material is probably that he actually wants to get married. By that I mean he wants to do it without any coaxing (which is usually nagging), coercing, or convincing on the part of his significant other.
What are some telling signs that a man wants to get married?
Is he dating with a purpose (with that purpose being to find a life partner)? Does he say that marriage is a part of his life plan? Is it evident that he's preparing for a wife and family? And — please get this — does he state that he wants to get married sooner than later? (Meaning within a couple of years rather than him saying something along the lines of "I mean…maybe…someday.")
If you can confidently say "yes" to these questions because you've actually asked him and you heard "yes" come out of his own mouth, then yes, he is marriage material.
I already know. If you're in a new relationship, there may be a part of you that feels like this is an uncomfortable topic of conversation to have with a guy. To that, it's my turn to push back.
When you're on a date, are you uncomfortable asking him about his life goals in general? Are you uncomfortable inquiring about where he sees his life in the next year? If you're not, asking him if marriage fits into his life agenda shouldn't bother you either because — catch it — the only kind of man who is irritated by marriage questions is a man who doesn't want to get married.
Think about it. What if you were on a first date with an attractive man and he said, "So, how do you feel about exclusivity in a relationship?" The only way that question would make you go on the defensive is if commitment is something you're not interested in (or you're cheating on your current partner but that's another conversation for another time). Otherwise, you're totally open to sharing your perspective…right?
And that's my point. When a man is ready — equipped, willing, and prepared — for marriage, he's gonna make moves towards making that happen. Like a man does with anything else he wants in his life. But hey, don't take my word for it. Sometimes, in order to really "get" something, we need to see it live and in living color.
That said, when you've got roughly 45 minutes to spare, check out this newly-married couple's story. Long story short, up until their wedding day, she was a virgin and her now-husband waited for her. He was actually so into her that they got married ahead of their wedding day (so that they could live together with a free conscience) and he still was willing to wait to have sex until their "official" wedding date, just so he could keep his word to her that he would wait until then.
MARRIAGE. MATERIAL. Because he wanted to get married and he wanted to marry her — yes, in that order.
Life's too short and you're too precious to be playing the adult version of Blue's Clues with your heart. If you want to get married and you're digging a guy, honor your time, effort, and energy enough to see if he wants to get married too.
If he does, awesome!
If he doesn't, keep it movin'.
If he's unsure, read this article all over again until it really sinks in.
Your future husband — the man who knows that he wants to marry you — will thank you for it. Trust me.
Featured image by Getty Images