Spouse Standards


I asked two questions similar to this two years ago. You might find them interesting.



GOOOOD luck with that when you have more than one kid…

…it’s all well and good to say you’d “never” do that but sometimes parenting is about making the best decision for that child at a time. When you have an infant in your arms, a petulant toddler and an autistic 10yo that acts like a 4yo, sometimes you need to make a decision that is going to be the best for that child.

I do not believe in corporal punishment, either. But you can’t reason with a toddler and you can’t always be there for every step they take. Sometimes there aren’t enough leashes, strollers, buckles and restraining devices in the world to stop a toddler who’s dead set on something…especially when said toddler can’t be your entire focus.


I think developed sense of self identity sounds like something that is written from a cosmopolitan magazine. Heres the thing, when you marry someone you are potentially looking at spending a life with them for 50+ years. People change…their wants, desires, personalities, temperments. They may lose their parents…that may change their world view, behavior, and perspective.
You may lose a child…which again may cause a change in how your spouse sees themselves and their life goals. They may go through unemployment. They may just get old…and again their temperment and life goals may change. People aren’t static…they’re moving targets.

Believer of positive parenting is still very vague. What I will say is this…very few people actually know how they will behave and feel as a new parent until they actually hold their own new baby in their arms. Yeah the term positive parenting sounds nice, but it doesn’t sound like there is a real definition for it.


Most of your list sounds pretty basic and reasonable. Most of those things should not even need to be said because they “go without saying.”

However, the fact that you are making such a lengthy written list could make you seem like a control freak and could scare off men.


Honestly, if one is rational and able to discuss long-term plans, some of this research is totally bogus. I was married to my husband for about 5 months before we hit the 2 years of knowing each other point. I could NOT imagine given that we had a perfect FOCCUS score when we’d known eachother for just over a year “waiting” for the sake of figures. Granted, we were in our mid/late 20’s and were both very practical, but honestly, waiting would have been a severe detriment to our relationship. The Coventalial love and graces we have sustained us as soon as we exchanged vows. If one is properly disposed, I don’t see any reason for waiting more than a year or so…you should be able to figure out in that time if you’d like to enter a covential relationship and once you make that decision the desire for those graces becomes incresingly strong…


A simple multiple answers test, survey, or questionnaire would be most expedient.


Life is messy. The majority of these are “reasonable,” but we live in a fallen world. If you want to be married, you have to expect failure from your spouse. There is no getting around this. If you’re not willing to become a forgiveness machine, stay single.


I think in theory it’s a good idea. It’s good to know what you’re looking for before you go shopping.



I was going to cloth diaper. I even did so for a while. But then my oldest had bowel issues that made cloth just destroy her skin. So we use disposable.

Both my husband and I had no issues with binkies, in fact we wanted them given that they reduce SIDS risk–but one of our children refused to take one for more than 2 weeks of her life. So we have half a dozen unused binkies.

Both my husband and I never want our children to go hungry. We didn’t want to have an “open kitchen” but we figured if a kid rejected a meal, we’d be nice and feed them something. They were little and shouldn’t go hungry. Then, at about 13 months our eldest pulled a total con job and figured out if she spat out any new foods she got peanut butter. Yes, at 13 months old she was TOTALLY playing us. So we offer her tiny amounts of food and if she refuses to eat, that’s that. She knows that’s what she has. And unfortunately, she has gone hungry. But meals and snacks are frequent. She’s not going to starve to death. And she’s become a GREAT eater overall.

And with my niece who’s autistic…don’t even get me started on the “I will nevers”.

Like “I will never give a kid a smartphone”. Except Pokemon Go! ended up being one of the most life-changing experiences for her. It started with her using the app on my phone to motivate her to exercise. Eventually, it became clear she needed her own.

Then one day we were at the plaground. This child has NEVER under any circumstance spoken to a stranger—especally a child stranger.

She ACTUALLY SPOKE to a boy, a little younger than her and giggled, “there’s a whatchasaur on your head”

He answered back, “I wish I was a whatchasaur!”

She smiled, yes SMILED at a stranger, “I’d rather be a whatevermon”

Third kid chimed in, “Wanna pretend we’re a whatchasaur, whatevermon and somethingzard?”

“Sure” she said.

She turned around, handed me the phone and went off and played with those two kids.

I don’t think anyone who has a neurotypical kid can appreciate what happened. 10 YEARS. For 10 years of her life she’d never willingly interacted with other children unless an adult intervened or she knew the child well. (after much adult intervention).

It took EVERYTHING for me not to burst into tears.

So never ever give a 10 yo a smartphone? It’s unlikely that my littleones will need such intervention, but I will never judge a parent who has found that a smartphone is a tool for their child.


Chances are when you have this many expectations, the vast majority of men you date won’t live up to them. Depending on your age (if you want children), you might end up having to remove some less important things on the list. There’s nothing wrong with having a long list of requirements, but don’t hold on to all of them forever. Otherwise, you will end up never married. It is definitely possible to meet the perfect man that meets all the requirements, but I don’t think that happens for most people.


a lot of points are pretty repetitive, you probably could cut this list in half by making certain points more concise


You have an excellent list. A list like I’ve very much thought out. I wish you well.


I really applaud the seriousness with which you’re approaching this- if I had a son I hope he would at east date someone who has their goals and ideals so well thought out. Marriage is a beautiful and serious gift!

I’ve been married almost 8 years, and my marriage is far far from perfect, but just a few things I think I can share without being exceptionally hypocritical:

Where finances and discipline for kids are concerned it’s good to be specific and understand what you want, what you expect and what you see as “normal”. We’re all raised by flawed humans and we all have our own conceptions of marriage and child rearing, for better or worse. What was normal in my house growing up was not normal for my wife, and that caused a lot of undue strain on our relationship. For instance, both my parents worked and made about the same amount (a good amount, I should add, I was very fortunate). My wife’s father was the main bread winner and the money her mom did make was HER money, used for whatever she wanted. They have separate checking accounts; my parents do not. My parents went out often with friends, more so now that they’re retired. My in laws did not; in fact they see it as a waste of money. These things might sound little but just assuming your partner will share your own idiosyncrasies (which, to be fair, you may not even be aware of) is asking for at least a few unnecessary squabbles. Now some things you can plan for and set expectations for now, like how you’ll raise kids, but be open to that changing when you actually have kids. And sometimes the well-tempered, kind man you married can suddenly have a bit of temper after two or three kids and a mortgage and a full-time job. But if you focus on laying a good foundation, a foundation built on Christ and the Sacraments (which I think you’re really doing an awesome job at judging by your list) those changes will be taken in stride rather than being the source of resentment later.

It’s more important to be with someone who is aware that they can change and might even have to in the future, than someone who will strictly fit into your current list, however prudent and thoughtful it may be.


What if the man you meet has all these qualities but his spousal standard is flexability?


Nice list there, I do think it’s really wise to set standards rather than accepting anyone you can get along with.
I have a suggestion though.
I think you should assign your points into categories like
A)No compromises (these are the points that must be fullified)
B)Exception (you have exception for certain situations here)
C)Optional (this one is your personal prefference but you are ok if he does not have it)

After assigning it, now you have priorities for the discussion.
May that serves as a guideline.


It’s helpful to be on the same page with your spouse. Two strong, practicing Catholics can lead to a lot of common ground that you wouldn’t get in a mixed marriage, so by having both of you start off with the same givens, there’s much less territory that needs to be debated about-- like NFP, for example.

Other things are arbitrary. For example, are you okay with imprinting on someone as a friend for a minimum of 18 months before you even consider them as future-husband material? Or what happens if he hits 90 of your 92 criteria, but he’s allergic to dog hair? etc.

Other things are open to interpretation. Or you realize that childrearing theories might work in theory, but if you have four children, they may require four different approaches as to what works with each of their personalities, and each of those approaches will probably require modification as they go through different stages and ages. Kids aren’t docile little dolls… they have their own ideas and perceptions and desires and a great capacity to know how to get what they want.

Have you ever seen The Music Man? Each of the lead romantic interests sings a song about what they’re looking for in a spouse. Hers is “My White Knight”, where she dreams of someone who’s polished and respectable and scholarly. His is “The Sadder But Wiser Girl”, where he looks forward to a casual romance with a girl who knows what she wants, and commitment isn’t on the list. Neither of them get the person they’re looking for…

That’s not to say that you’ll end up with a pagan biker convict drug dealer. :smile: But worry less about internet articles and pop-science, and focus on living your life. The right person will cross your path at the right time, but the circumstances won’t necessarily be the way we’d envisioned.

But I bet most people in this thread, if they had a crystal ball when they were 15, giving a glimpse of their lives 20 or 30 years in the future, would be sure their crystal ball was broken. :stuck_out_tongue:


YES!! And this starts sooner than you think. WAY sooner. Like between 6-9 MONTHS old. I don’t think I have particularly willful children but they have always felt the desire to assert their independence in any way possible.

“My toddler won’t be a runner” Yep. Until they are.

There’s a really popular Catholic Blogger mom who was pretty well versed at getting kids to sleep. 6 kids and perfect results with her system.

Then she had a 7th. He was NOT a good sleeper, good napper or anything of the sort. No matter what she tried, how quiet she kept the house, whatever…he did not sleep. He’s over a year and it’s better now-but her “expertise” and opinions meant nothing to him. He was his own little person.

Even if you’re an experienced parent, even if you’ve managed to get one or two or six or ten kids to behave it doesn’t mean that next one isn’t going to come up with some bright idea and make you reconsider all of your life’s decisions.


Haha! Yes!

So, for example-- I thought I was so clever. “Wear your jacket.” “I don’t want to wear my jacket.” (Okay, kids his age don’t have the developmental ability to think ahead into the future and plan for possibilities.) “Okay. You don’t have to wear your jacket. But when you get cold, come back and get your jacket, okay?” “Okay.” (Two minutes later, he’s back inside and putting on his jacket.)

So, I always tried to talk to them, but not down to them. “Hey, I need you to put your toys away so they don’t get lost or broken.” “I need to wash your hair so it isn’t stinky.” “I need you to hold the book like ‘this’ and not like ‘that’, because if you hold it like ‘that’, it will stress the binding and all the pages will fall out and it will turn into trash.” I wanted them to understand that I wasn’t being arbitrary; I was asking them to do things for their own good.

So, that was good when they were small, like 2/3/4. Now that they’re older, however-- like, 7/8/9yo’ish— I say something like, “Hey, go make your bed” or “Put your underwear in your drawer” or “Put your book on the shelf.” And they sort of sneer, “Why?”

And I’m thinking to myself, “Because I said so!!! Why do you think I need to justify myself to you when I ask you to do something?!” :stuck_out_tongue:

My kids are good kids… but the older one has a definite rebellion against parental authority, and he thinks life is very unfair because he’s never the boss. And his attitude is infecting the younger one, who’s fortunately pretty mellow, but has his own little things he melts down over… :stuck_out_tongue:


Thank you! :grinning:


Thank you for your kind words! :grin:

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