How My Mother Helped Me Choose the Right Man
Article by Sandra Marshall
It is amazing how you can know someone for years, and yet it can take that long for their faults to surface. It is also amazing how you can meet someone and know almost instantly that they are all wrong for you. Choosing the right man is a trying process, made even more challenging by the fact that the consequences last forever. If you pass up an opportunity for love in hopes of finding someone supposedly better, you may just lose your best option. If you settle due to whatever reason, you may regret that decision. And even if you choose the “perfect man” you will still face trials within your relationship (it is wise to realize that ahead of time). As you see, no matter what you choose you have to live with the consequences of that choice. That is why it is important for a mother to respect her daughter’s right to choose for herself, as these are her consequences. Choosing a husband is a personal choice. While a daughter may want advice and her mother’s opinion, the final decision is ultimately up to the daughter.
There came a point in my relationship with my boyfriend when I wasn’t sure he was the right choice. Time had provided the opportunity for his faults and personal struggles to come to the surface. The things that I saw were issues couples typically break up over. I wasn’t sure I could handle it and was contemplating what to do. I found myself complaining to my mom about my frustrations. She listened with empathy, but after a while she made a suggestion. “Let’s go over all of your other options,” she interjected. She was serious, too. So we sat down and listed off every guy I’ve ever known. This included all ex-boyfriends, guy friends, guys I grew up with, random guys I knew of but hardly knew, and even some friends of my brothers. With each guy she asked me why I wasn’t interested in dating him. For every guy I was able to easily answer why I wasn’t with him. For some the reasons seemed petty, for others the reasons were big and obvious, but all of these explanations were definite deal breakers for me. Each of these guys had something about them that I wouldn’t be willing to put up with for a lifetime.
When we finally got to the end of the “other options” list, my mom asked me about my boyfriend. We went over what I didn’t like about him. After going through the list of all of the other guys, suddenly my boyfriend’s problems didn’t seem as bad. I could see the common thread of what I found wrong with the other guys, yet my boyfriend was the only one that stood out from the crowd. My perspective had changed, and while yes, my boyfriend was not perfect, he was clearly the best choice.
Then my mom asked another question. She inquired, “Why are you with him?” I went on to explain everything I loved about him. She happily listened.
I then went on to tell her about how much going through that list helped and how I saw my boyfriend in a whole new light. My mom saw that my boyfriend was a good man, but she also saw that I had to make my own decision about my future with him. Rather than forcing her opinion on me, she guided me through my own decision process. She helped me see that no one is ever going to be without their personal issues, but when choosing a spouse, it’s a matter of picking someone whose problems you can put up with, and they, yours. The most impressive part is that she helped me see all of this with very few words. What helped the most was that she listened and truly cared. I also could feel that I had my mother’s full support to choose whatever made me happy; this wasn’t about her. Now that is true, unconditional love.
My mom continued to support me (and my boyfriend) despite the many trials he and I faced as a couple. She was also the one who gave him approval to propose marriage to me. That boyfriend is now my husband. We have a loving and wonderful marriage, but with plenty of struggles, too. Whenever those struggles get me down I recall that talk I had with my mom and remember all over again that I made the right choice.