I’m a reader. I read almost every day of my life, it’s something I’ve committed to. Mostly novels, true stories, bios and epic tales of over coming struggle. I read books and online. Basically, anytime I can consume knowledge I am all about it. Frequently when online and reading about anything to do with the nature of raising men, I see and hear about raising gentlemen. So often are quotes like “I’m raising a devoted husband and father, not a boy” or similar… And believe me, that’s great. As I sit and write this and watch my 3 year old son paint a picture for his grandmother I am proud that even at his age he has already picked up my “gentlemen-like” skill set of opening doors, waiting for elderly and women to walk through first, saying please and thank you, playing gently with girls understanding that they are powerful humans and have depths that he can learn from and will some day love (I understand some movements in society believe that girls should not be treated like princesses, but I firmly believe that a grown woman can be raised like a princess and still become a fierce, independent woman who handles her own – so if you don’t agree you probably won’t enjoy reading this). I am proud that he cherishes every woman in his life, that he tells me that some of his teachers at school are beautiful and that I am focused on raising him to understand and acknowledge respect. Morals are obviously important to me. I am letting my son be a kid. But I am also ensuring that he understands love and being a good person are the absolute two most important things in this world. I will enforce an understanding when he is a teenager that women are not objects, that some day a woman will stand next to him and be the absolute biggest priority in his life. His rock. She will be his go to, in times when he feels like he can trust no one else she will be there. That he should put her on a pedestal and hold every woman in his life that loves him unconditionally in high regard. This also applies to men but there is something about a good man respecting women that means a lot to me.
As a single dad, I’ve dated. I’ve dated before my son was born, after he was born, and of course been through a mess in the process. I am all for teaching our boys to become respectful human beings and to never objectify and use women. This is a default for me. There is no other way. But is important for us to make sure our sons don’t grow up thinking every woman should be put before him and that sometimes it is OK to walk away. Sometimes it is OK to leave. That some women can be cruel and abusive just as men can be. Your mental health and happiness are crucial in every stage of life.
But I also want my son to know that striving to be that kind of man is important, but most importantly you should expect that same behavior in return. That being said…
Your future wife or girlfriend:
Should not abuse you mentally. You should not be forced to choose between anything you love unconditionally and her to make her happy.
Should love to serve you. As you should love to serve her.
Should support your poor decisions, even if she knows they are wrong but understands how important they are to you.
Should challenge you in everything you do. No decision in life should be made unchallenged.
Should learn to adapt to your character. If you have anxiety over money, that is ok. She should understand that.
Should say Thank you absolutely every time you open the door for her and let her walk through before you.
Should appreciate your honesty and not hold it against you.
Should be someone who you never fear speaking openly and honestly to. Even if you know it may upset her.
Should love who you love.
Should never jeopardize your connection.
Should cherish every moment and strive to bring you happiness.
Should tell you that she loves you every day.
Should raise your children to think of you as a super hero.
Should appreciate you when you are vulnerable and wear your heart on your sleeve.
Should stand beside you through everything.
You are a king my son. You deserve to be treated like one. Especially by your queen.
Now ofcourse, this could be flipped and said to your little girl about her future husband. But it is important that we raise the next generation of men knowing that it is OK to be sensitive, and that being emotional is not needy and it does not mean that you are weak. In fact, a man who understands his emotions and aims to use them to better himself, his life and his loved ones is one of the strongest men you will ever meet.