Spouse Standards


If the condensed list does not change the meaning of the original list, and I never plan to show the list to my boyfriend, what makes it important to condense it? I’m not opposed to condensing, just curious about your perspective.


Well, it’d be easier to get feedback and advice, for one. Also helps adjust your thinking from “he must have these 98 specific traits” to “these are the seven or eight things that are dealbreakers.” As people have said, a lot of these are redundant.


You have made the list. You have put in a lot of thought into it. Now the next step is to throw it away.

Hear me out.

The truly non-negotiables you will never forget. As for the rest, ask God to help you find your spouse. Trust Him. That is what we mean by discerning marriage. Does God want you to marry this specific person? Who is going to be a fallen sinner, just like you. He is going to have his own faults and issues. Is this the person God wants you to marry?

Life changes. You could marry a guy who meets all of these requirements and then within a year or two fails 90% of them. What are you going to do then? Most people use that as an excuse for a divorce.

I am in my thirties and I have several friends who aren’t married. The biggest reason is because they were far too picky. Every single one of them threw a good guy away for a silly reason.

Marriage isn’t about lists. It is about life. Two people acting together to build and support their family. Occasionally, one of you is going to mess up and light the metaphorical house on fire. It happens. Find someone that makes you want to be a firefighter and keep rebuilding.

Toss the list and stay close to God.


I love lists. I generally have several different lists going at a time- what I need to get done on a certain day, a grocery list, things to do around the house, etc. Lists for tasks are useful, and they can help us to organize our thoughts.

But wow…this list is overwhelming. I do think many of your items are redundant and could be better classified under one comprehensive item. And I also believe that trying to reduce a relationship to a checklist does seem controlling.

What I think a lot of the people who have posted on this thread are saying is that you can make all the lists in the world, with all the items you want on them, but real life relationships don’t conform to a set of checked-off boxes. It seems that any time anyone suggests that your list is a bit much, you disagree, but didn’t you come here for advice?

Many of us are happily married men and women, who have gone through the process of dating and relationships and discernment. Many of us had our own ideas about what we would or would not “accept”, only to discover that we ended up marrying people who have characteristics we didn’t expect a spouse to have. When a great person comes along, suddenly things you thought were important become less so. This is not to say you shouldn’t have standards- of course, that is a good thing. But honestly, if you get along with someone well enough you won’t have to check your list to evaluate whether he is “capable of deep, positive discussion”. You will just find that you want to be around him and talk to him, and you don’t need an item on a list to tell you that.


I did come here for advice, and I appreciate all of it. I did disagree with the idea that I wrote the list because I was selfish and the idea that I want to control my husband, but I accept the other criticisms. Thanks for your input!

Which makes your input especially valuable. :slight_smile:


We are 73. Happily married 53 plus years.

Every couple is unique. What ‘works’ for one may different in many aspects for other couples. Personalities and character matter. She had no detracting traits and so many good ones. Apparently she saw the same in me. I’ve liked her since we were 7.

That said, PRUDENCE matters too. Paramount to me was keeping my Catholic Faith all the days of my life. Did not want to risk sliding away. Wanted a spouse who would willing support me in keeping our Faith. I knew her to be independently Catholic in her own life as I was.

I knew her family and relatives and they were excellent people.

I knew that in America, in our time, our life would be quite different from our parents, members of the Greatest Generation. We would make our own way together as they did, just on a different path. Her grades were better than mine so I figured she would be my best advisor as we dealt with things.

I asked her what we would do if it was 5 days to pay day and she did not feel liking cooking and we had only $5. She said we would eat peanut butter sandwiches if we had to.

I asked could she see herself at age 85, still with me, looking back at the life we shared. She thought and said, “I do not want to rush it, but I hope we get there.”

We had 2 daughters and 3 years apart in our first 8 years of married life in the Air Force. She earned her degree, Phi Beta Kappa, at age 34. I earned mine with Honors at age 44 the semester before our oldest daughter earned her’s.

She did office work, welfare and food stamp eligibility, international adoptions overseas, chapel choir director, and legal secretary work for the State Attorney General Office. I did airborne radar operations, earned my CPA license, and audited the 3rd largest public pension fund in America.

My point is: life took us into unimagined work and locations on 3 continents. We did it together, encouraging each other. We understood that marriage is truly, “And the two shall become one.”

An extensive list was not necessary for us. Having GOOD REASON to believe the other was answering from their heart on the most essential elements of married life and was HONEST in expressing a life long commitment to be one - married for life - was necessary.

And she is still the best conversation I have every day.


I agree. I would’ve used just the thumbs up emoji by itself but needed to use 16 characters to reply.


I hope so. Sadly I have seen many friends go through awful break-ups because they based their commitment on “getting along well enough” with their man and didn’t weed out further. They were too blinded by love to really think about, at that point, whether he would actually be a good father and long-term partner.


That is beautiful! :slightly_smiling_face:


I would hope not. But I know of people who did. Apparently love is blinding.


Remain faithful “for better or for worse” unless my safety or the children’s’ is endangered. Pray for him and for myself.


I think this is an unfortunate experience everyone has had.


This is very true.


And you are in danger of making the opposite mistake which is being blinded by your own requirements.

I wish you the best in your search.


So after reading all of your comments, I realized that there are actually 25 things at the core of my list, and I cut it down to those 25. I absolutely stand by the importance of the excluded points, and I may end a relationship because of those other points. But after listening to you all, I am realizing those other points don’t need to be in a checklist–if the skeleton is there, the other points are best worked out between the two of us, point by point, open-mindedly. These are the 25:

  1. Is someone I feel safe spending time with
  2. Maintains freshness (ex. Addresses body odor and foul breath)
  3. Gentle
  4. Tender
  5. Builds me up
  6. Loyal
  7. Would not leave a marriage because of sexual dissatisfaction
  8. Does not dominate my heart (demand obedience, submission, reporting, etc.)
  9. Does not explode in anger
  10. Compassionate
  11. Confidential with secrets shared in confidence
  12. Honors my body
  13. Loves me in spite of my past
  14. Opposed to corporal punishment of children and animals
  15. Strongly desires to raise his children in the Catholic Church
  16. Open to adoption
  17. Willing to practice Natural Family Planning
  18. Fervent believer in the Catholic faith
  19. Respectful
  20. Willing to forgo receiving oral sex in marriage
  21. Willing to forgo sexual acts that are humiliating, alarming or painful for his wife in marriage (ex. Certain BDSM aspects)
  22. Believer in gender equality
  23. Generous towards the needy
  24. Discerns our relationship with prayerful, slow purpose
  25. Spends time in communal and private prayer


Have you ever been in a real relationship? A high school sweetheart? It seems to me you are basing your list on what you have seen others do. How do you know they “get along well enough” and then break up? How many couples do you know who just trusted God to give them a good spouse? Many have spoken up on this thread but yet you still feel your future spouse needs to meet all 98 of your “standards”.

Some of the words you have used on this thread alone indicate to me you are unwilling to do the one absolute in marriage, compromise. I’m not saying you should lower your standards, that isn’t what compromise means. It means you may have two different views on an issue and with discussion, reflection, compromise you come to a consensus of how to deal with that issue. I don’t see compromise anywhere on your list.


Better, but I think a lot of this can be grouped under “decent person.” Like, a decent person is loyal, and will honor your body, for example.

A few minor nit-picking things: don’t you just assume decent hygiene in most well adjusted adults? I certainly do. I just assume the most people are taking a shower and brushing their teeth daily. It’s not a trait I really think about otherwise. I dunno, that just strikes me as odd.

A few others can just be grouped under “Committed Catholic.”

Not to be crude or anything, but…number 20. I have a few thoughts as a married guy. First, you don’t have to overshare here, but is there any particular reason you find this so important? Oral sex is a pretty common practice among married couples, and if done correctly, for lack of a better word, is not sinful. Second, I can’t help but notice you say the guy must be willing to forgo _receiving_oral sex. Again, without getting too personal, does that mean you expect him to perform it for you? You might be asking for a little resentment if you expect him to pleasure you but aren’t willing to reciprocate. Many men enjoy doing that, but some not so much.

Again, I’m not trying to turn this into Penthouse Forum, but I’m just curious as to why this relatively benign, normal sexual practice in the context of a marriage freaks you out so much.


Same thought here.


great topic great information


I am simply averse to the practice, always have been. And no, I would not expect or ask him to perform it.

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