A Father's Perspective
By Derek Bradley

Derek Bradley, author of Don’t Blame the Children, is one of our go-to writers on the topic of fatherhood. In honour of Father’s Day, he has imparted some wisdom on an issue pivotal to being a father—finding the right person to partner with you in raising children:

10 C`s To Ponder When Choosing a Mate

While listening to my favourite radio personality I suddenly found myself keenly interested in the discussion he was having about giving presentation at weddings. He was of the mindset that we should only be giving half of the money we planned on giving married couples on their wedding day and the other half once they had celebrated their 10 year anniversary.

Why, you may be asking? His rationale was that of the last 4-5 weddings he had attended, the majority of them had ended up in divorce within a couple of years and he sorta felt like he was being ripped off.

This got me to thinking. Why is it that over 50% of marriages end up in divorce? Of course there are the obvious reasons; abuse, unfaithfulness, etc. However, I firmly believe that the largest “silent killer” to marriage can be found in Hosea 4:6 which says “my people perish for a lack of knowledge.” Simply put, most people don’t have the foggiest idea of what they are getting into or, more importantly, what they should be looking for when it comes to choosing a spouse. Either because they never received “the talk” from their own parents or because they fear that they are ill-equipped to advise their children on the second most important decision that they will ever make: choosing a spouse.

Unfortunately, our loud silence combined with an unwillingness to teach our children in this area has unintentionally given Society Mom and Television Dad incredible parenting powers. More often than not they portray marriage as a sport: a game that you play until you are no longer able to, until you no longer enjoy it, or until you just give in to the lie that “the grass is greener on the other side.” Truth be told, grass is grass. It still has to be cut, weeds are sure to be part of its make-up and, at some point, there will be dark patches.

As the leaders of our homes, it is time to take up and take back our fatherly authority on this issue. Rather than being impediments to the process, we need to put our pride aside and start providing the fatherly advice our children require. Otherwise they will continue to unknowingly miss the mark.

So rather than continuing to rant and rave about the realities, I have decided to leave you with 10 C’s to ponder when choosing a spouse. It is not a magic formula, but I believe if you apply it into your lives, when the time comes, you will be better prepared to select your future partner for life.

1.) Church beliefs: Do both of you have a common understanding about spirituality and how it plays a role in your lives? Do you both believe in God?

2.) Commitment: Based on their track record, do they keep their word? Do others consider them honourable and integrous? Are they committed to you emotionally and physically?

3.) Compatibility: What interest and beliefs do you have in common? What things do you like to do together? What things do you like to do separately? What things do you not like that the person does?

4.) Communication: Do you talk on a daily basis and engage in conversation on a multitude of topics, or do the majority of your conversations end up in a debate about who is right? Do you both have the ability to confront each other without fear?

5.) Children: What are your partner’s thoughts on raising and having children? What are the differences in how you were raised and how your partner was raised? Have you had a real heart to heart about this area?

6.) Compassion: How does your partner treat other people when he/she stands to gain nothing from being kind? Do they show compassion to others or do they only expect it when it relates to them or their family?

7.) Charitable: Are they giving and loving to you and others or are they self-focused?

8.) Character: What character traits do you like the most/least about the person you think you like so much?

9.) Craziness: Do they have a zest and passion for life? Do they have an adventurous side to them that will allow both of you to experience and enjoy the incredible world God has given us?

10.) Chemistry: Think of chemistry as a well balanced meal. Ask yourself if there is enough food on your plate to sustain your decision to get married once the warm fuzzy feelings have faded.

Are you eating a balanced diet of meat, potatoes, vegetables and dessert?

Meat: Your foundation – values, faith etc. are required to sustain you through times of hunger.
Potatoes: The day to day on-going work is required to assist in keeping the purpose for your marriage moving forward.
Vegetables: The things most people do not like to do in a relationship but are required in order for it to grow and remain healthy.
Dessert: Sex, vacations, and new toys in your marriage: etc., will be maximized and fully enjoyed only if the first three parts of your meal are part of your daily nutrition

About this Contributor:

Derek Bradley is a former elementary school principal, life coach, author of the parenting book titled Don’t Blame the Children: a father’s journey of learning to unlearn, a graduate of the International School of Ministry and the Government of Canada I leadership program.

Derek and his family reside in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. Their family vision is to help the less fortunate and marginalized people of today’s generation reach their full potential.

For speaking events please contact him @ DBTC2013@gmail.com or on Facebook.

Leave a comment