My wife made a hugely profound statement the other day. We had just finished watching a wonderful movie titled, The Pursuit of Happyness. In the movie Will Smith portrays Chris Gardner, a man who overcomes tremendous odds as a homeless, single father to achieve his goal of bettering his life by becoming a stock broker with Dean Witter. During the course of his struggles, his wife becomes discouraged and abandons him and their son. After persevering through severe financial circumstances just to become an unpaid intern for six months, he wins the one paid position as a broker. He eventually starts his own brokerage firm, years later selling his shares in the business for millions of dollars. He had a vision for a better life for him and his family and overcame much to achieve that vision.
After the movie my wife and I were discussing whether the ex-wife was sorry she had left, given the fact of how successful he had turned out. My thoughts were that she would never have been able to persevere through the difficult times—she didn’t have the necessary character. Then my wife said something so simple, yet so brilliant, it stuck with me for days. She said, “That woman could never have been the wife of a professional stock broker.”
Bang! Her comment made me realize that this woman was not prepared or suited to be the wife of a man who was anything other than her own low level of expectations. It almost works like a self-fulfilling prophecy—her life preparation dictated the choices of the mate she chose (or worse, settled for). This particular woman in the movie was not equipped with the life skills, training, education, mental and spiritual health, or attitude to be married to a successful man. Her own personal development was low and she had a “survival only” mentality.
I talk a lot in my book, How to Talk so Your Husband will Listen and Listen so Your Husband will Talk, about a woman having the ability to influence and inspire her man to more than he could ever be without her in his life, and that’s very true. I even talk about a woman having the ability to be destructive in a man’s life through her negative attitude and disrespect—also true. But what about the woman who is only matched or suited to being the wife of say an unemployed loser? Could a woman who has only prepared herself with the life skills to be married to a part-time, unskilled construction worker ever become the wife of a bank president or an attorney? Does she even have a choice? Conversely, would a woman suited and equipped to be married to a doctor, college professor, or a successful writer ever be satisfied married to a low achiever? Is it purely the station in life a woman is born into or is the mentality, preparation, and expectations she brings to the table that are the deciding factor in the relationship a woman eventually finds herself?
This got me thinking about how a woman prepares herself for life, and in that preparation the kind of man she not only attracts, but what kind of man she is willing or forced to settle for. Also, what happens to her influence in these situations? I’m not merely talking about the financial success of a man (or what he does for a living) here as much as I am his character and the health of his masculinity.
If a man marries a woman with low life skills, low self-esteem, and low expectations, is he limited in what he can achieve in life? Similarly, if he marries above himself, can she pull him further along than he might achieve on his own? My conclusion is yes, to both questions.
There’s the old joke about the bank president and his wife pulling into a gas station one day and seeing her ex-boyfriend working there. The husband laughs and jokes that it’s a good thing she didn’t marry the ex-boyfriend instead of him or she’d be the wife of a gas jockey instead of a bank president. The wife calmly replies that if she had married the ex-boyfriend he would have been a bank president and not a gas station attendant.
Could a cocktail waitress ever be a suitable wife for a doctor? Perhaps, but not likely. His social and professional circles would require someone with better developed skills to support and walk alongside him. Even though it is probably the dream of every woman in that industry, could a hooker like Julia Roberts ever be the wife of a millionaire businessman like Richard Gere in the movie Pretty Woman? Sure, but only in the movies.
My point is that this “life preparation” begins early but also requires continual effort. When we allow ourselves to just drift along and end up wherever we land, we are stuck with little or no options in life. People with no options in life usually do not succeed. People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.
In my experience I often see women “settle” for a man instead of being choosy. A woman with little life skills has much less to choose from and is almost forced to settle for whatever comes along. Most women don’t believe that God has a special man planned for her. Part of a woman’s challenge is to develop herself to be prepared for that man when he comes along. Too many women settle for whatever man pays them the attention they crave or else never develop their selves to their full potential to attract a man worthy of their desires. Then they complain that all the good men are taken and that the women married to good ones got lucky.
But luck is just being prepared when opportunity knocks. How many women missed the perfect man that God had planned for them because they wasted their lives by not preparing to be ready for his arrival?
How are you preparing yourself for the man God has planned for you?