The Ideal Husband
There are a number of recurring themes to the questions I get asked. Probably taking the number one spot is "I want a man". The question comes in all shapes and sizes, dressed up with a stiff shirt collar or baggy jeans, but underneath, in its naked truth, it looks like this: "someday my Prince will come.... won't he?" This summer we've had not only a glut of strawberries and soft fruit but also of Royal weddings, which just like London buses, you can wait ages for then they all come along at once. And what fairy tales they have been! Kate (Middleton), Charlene, Kate (Moss) and Zara - it's been a veritable designer Olympics. And just as we're already seeing copies of the wedding (and bridesmaid) dresses appearing on the streets, women are now searching out the right man to dress up for the day and live with, so they hope, for the rest of their lives.
Somehow inherently most women know that a man of calibre, the type you'd actually commit to spend the rest of your life with, is a rare breed indeed. Here's the beginner's guide to spotting one:
- How does he treat the women in his life? His mother, sisters, friends' spouses. Would you like him to treat you like that?
- Does he turn up on time for you and not complain if you're a bit late?
- What's he passionate about? Does he stick at it?
- How does he talk? How does he listen?
- What are his manners like?
- Does he have a life plan, which includes yours, or just a space for a woman to fill?
- Is he awe-inspiring or frightening? Can you tell it to him straight?
- Is he who you think he is?
- Will he remove spiders?
- Will he move heavy objects?
The last two may sound a little frivolous because they are the punchline from that email which did the rounds years ago about what are the uses for a man and a woman. A woman has thousands of them - making dinner from an empty fridge when hoards of friends turn up, you know that type of thing - running to several pages by the time the email got to me. The uses of a man were just those last two: spiders and heavy objects. Yet they tell you everything.
Spiders are a thing of fear. They also trigger the subconscious part of the brain which grows in early childhood. Trauma in those early years can result in arachnophobia. So really this translates as "has he got over his issues enough that you can take him on not as a boy to care for but as a man to inspire?".
Heavy objects require strength to move, not just brute force but inner power. This translates as "when the Big Match is on and an elephant needs to be removed from the room will he offer to help and get the job completed?"
The rest, I hope, are pretty self-explanatory other than perhaps number 8: who you think he is. That's up to you. The biggest disasters in marriages I see are that the man was the man the same all the way through; it's just that she saw him through fantasy spectacles as a prince when really he was just a frog and no matter how much you kissed him he was never going to be any other way. A man is pretty much what you see is what you get. You can inspire him to develop but you can't make a silk purse from a pig's ear. No matter how hard you try, you can't change a man. Has he got what it takes?
All this brings us to the very heart of the matter. These rare beasts, men, are pretty choosy themselves, especially when they realise that they are rare jewels in the pantheon of male impostors. From all the courses I've taught these gems know their own worth and what they want from the woman they commit to for the rest of their lives, not just the quick lay or commitment-phobic relationship. They want a woman who is a woman.
And so the only way you're ever going to get your prince is by being the woman a man you would want desires. Therein lies the issue: you need to be a woman to get the man you want. There's no point going out looking for the man if he's going to turn you down, not least when you could have done something about it.
This issue of the Ideal Husband is currently one of the hot topics on the Be the Woman... Inner Circle, the private online community which accompanies the Be the Woman... 42 day online course.
We're also discussing how we are judged by our past, what we are prepared to accept and how we look. How has divorce changed our attitude to commitment? And where does all our time go? the 168 hours in a week, the months ahead until the next holiday at Christmas, the years in a lifetime: are we using them profitably to expand ourselves or are we just being exploited?
Wishing you all the best as you become the woman you were born to be...
with love, blessings, gratitude