Choosing the “Right Man” – First
(Or, “Esse Quam Videri” – To Be, Rather Than To Appear)
My friend met with 2 of the 17 women authors of the book, “The Breakthrough Effect”. The 17 women authors chronicled their gut-wrenching, actual experiences of physical, emotional, and financial abuse, often starting from their wedding day, and continuing thereafter. The greatest source of their abuse was their bad choice of their first husband. Their selection of the “Right Man” for their second husband was one of the common denominators of their “Breakthrough” to overcome the entrapment from their awful life.
The new Right Man supports his wife through her 5 steps of “Breakthrough”: Faith. Truth. Personal Responsibility. Proper Tools. Solid Support. Those factors have proven to be the effective process for a woman to construct a new, happy, productive life.
It’s too facile to attribute some women’s first choice of an abusive husband to the superficial attractions of a handsome, charming man, providing physical satisfaction. However, some young women may eschew the reliable, in search of the exciting. The reliable man is more about patience & acceptance, than moonlight & balconies. He’s willing to share who he is, expecting nothing in return. He’s willing to write his hurts in sand, and kindness, in stone. He’s willing to surrender his need to be right.
His love is not conditional. It’s not, “I’ll love if you’re beautiful…if you you’re sexy…if you please me.” He loves a woman “as is”. Hence, he can vow to love her “For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for the rest of her life”. He’s able to forgive because he accepts that “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the boot, that crushed it”. He does all these things because of his awareness of the presence of God within him.
That awareness occurred after his baptism, when the spirit of God’s unselfish love first entered his heart & soul. And from that day to his wedding day, God’s grace nurtured that love, until it matured into the rich, fullness, that allowed him to vow to his wife, to love her for the rest of her life.
It takes time, and a certain amount of savvy, for a woman to recognize and accept the wisdom of the Latin phrase, “Esse Quam Videri” – “To Be, Rather Than to Appear”. The choice of “Essence” over “Appearance”. How does he interact with children, when he thinks that no one is looking.? Does he care about his elderly parents? Or, are they an inconvenience, interrupting his free time? Is his career all consuming, or a means to provide necessities? Does he own a car for transportation, or does the car’s emblem, own him? Are his clothes all about labels? Are his hobbies and entertainment determined by the whims du jour?
The answers to all those questions determine whether he is someone rock-solid, upon which a woman can build a relationship, or a superficial, self-absorbed prima-donna who flutters to the next best option.
When she chooses the former (The Right Choice), her marriage will be much different than the customary 50/50 relationship. Their marriage vows commit to give each other 100% of who they are. Mathematically, their marriage is 50/50, but their relationship is much more than half-hearted. If someone gives less than 100%, there is plenty of reserve for their relationship to thrive.
Couples who do all those things, and forgive the exceptions, never know bitterness. They only know joy, because they treat life’s challenges as merely temporary inconveniences. For their marriage rests in the palm of God’s hand.