How to Identify a Man You Can Depend On
Feminism teaches women how to become independent, but has no message about how to identify a good man.
Young women have been awash in feminist messaging that teaches them to foster independence, to follow their personal whims and desires, and to expect very little of men. Feminism teaches us how to become independent, but has no message for women who want to become wives and mothers about how to identify a good man. As a result, we have increasing singleness and unhappiness.
So, how can women identify a man we can depend on, and form a long-lasting relationship that leads to marriage and family? Here are a few things to look for.
He respects sexual boundaries.
A man who respects that you doesn’t want to sleep with him early on shows that he is commitment-minded — not a Peter Pan still looking for meaningless, short-term pleasure.
In a culture where it seems like all young women are sleeping around, it can be easy for us to imagine that we’ll never find a man who respects that we don’t want to sleep with him quickly. Since he can easily get sex elsewhere, we figure we should sleep with him to keep him around.
But in fact, the opposite is true. Sleeping with a man early on prevents him from releasing the bonding hormone vasopressin, which is only released over a long period of spending time with a woman and not having sex with her. If you have sex with him right off the bat, his body literally signals to him that you’d be a poor choice of long-term mate.
Men who are serious about wanting a long-term, committed relationship will respect that you don’t want to sleep with them, and they won’t go running away when you make that clear. They’ll see the value in showing that they are capable of sexual restraint, because it means you can depend on them not to cheat, and that they aren’t ruled by base urges. If he does run away — good riddance, because he’s a Peter Pan who is not looking for commitment for the long haul.
He is disciplined.
The modern world is constantly pulling at us with distractions — from junk food to porn to video games, the temptation to slack off and engage in pleasure-seeking is everywhere. A dependable man shows that he can forcefully say “no” to things that are only going to be distractions, are unproductive, or won’t get him where he wants to go.
There are myriad categories in which dependable men show discipline: a dependable man is able to control his spending. He’s disciplined around working out and eating healthy. He’s able to control his sexual urges and impulses. He’s able to make a plan and stick to it. He follows through on his word. He is there for people in his community. He doesn’t succumb to excessive use of drugs and alcohol. Discipline applies to most aspects of our lives, and dependable men exude it.
He is willing and able to provide.
This one is simple. Does he have a job? Is it a good job, or a dead-end job that won’t ever bring in enough to support a family? If he is in a dead-end job, does he have a plan to change course? Does he believe it’s important to be able to financially support you? Or does he demand you split every bill?
I once dated someone who wouldn’t even buy me a coffee during our breakfast dates. My mother tried to warn me this was a red flag, but for years I didn’t listen — and boy, should I have! This man ended up not being interested at all in marriage and fatherhood. Men who are interested in family formation will be more than happy to provide. They actually delight in it, because it makes them feel useful — and men love to feel needed. They also know that women bear the burden of pregnancy and childrearing, so we will have less time and energy to devote to bringing in money.
To a dependable man, providing is a mark of honor. Only weak and unreliable men see your need for financial support as a burden. He doesn’t have to be rich by any means, but he has to at least value bringing in money to help you out.
He is protective.
The world can be a dangerous place for women in the material sense, since we are physically smaller. It can also be a dangerous place in other ways —spiritually or psychologically. Women can be hurt by things like casual sex, false spiritual paths, or even bad ideas that lead to poor decisions and lifestyle choices. Whether or not a man has your material and spiritual safety and well-being at the top of his mind is a huge mark of whether he is dependable.
If you’re going to be meshing your life with another, you have to know that he’s aware of this and wants to protect you from hurt. This can look a number of ways. Perhaps you’re at a bar and a fight breaks out. Does your man move toward it, to see the action? Or does he guide you away from it, to make sure you’re safe amidst the chaos? If you’re walking down the street and a vagrant is strung out on drugs and acting unpredictably (not an uncommon sight in many modern American cities), does he pull you closer and/or place himself between you and the threat, or does he seem not to notice?
What about other things — maybe you want to make a choice that he thinks would be bad for you. Does he vocalize his concern, or does he stay out of the way to “respect your freedom”?
This is a hard one, because Americans’ highest value is choosing what you feel like you want in the moment. We place little value on the male protective instinct, especially if he is warning you against something you may desire. But a man who would make a good father and husband demonstrates he has a spine — even if it’s hard to agree with him or to understand his perspective in the moment.
He is decisive and non-avoidant.
It’s impossible to respect a man who is unable to make decisions. Men who can’t or won’t make decisions are highly avoidant and alleviating themselves of any responsibility.
Sometimes, women can see how avoidant and non-decisive a man is early on — he is flighty, sometimes won’t answer texts or calls, sometimes is available to hang out and sometimes isn’t. Basically, he’s hot and cold with how he acts toward you. Such a man is trying to keep his options open, not being decisive about choosing a woman to date.
Likewise, maybe you are actively dating a guy, but time shows that he relies on you to make every decision — where you’ll go out to eat, what you’ll do tomorrow, how to spend his Christmas bonus. This is unattractive and will eventually make you resentful and worn out. A dependable man has a sense of direction and is able to make decisions.
Men shouldn’t be domineering, overbearing, forceful, or unable to acquiesce at all. Negotiation is an important part of relationships. But dependable men are able to make a decision confidently, or at the very least, to propose a course of action so that the two of you can discuss. You should be able to depend on a man to steer the ship and appreciate your input.
He follows God.
Secular men tend to pursue only their personal desires, which can make them unpredictable. Personal whims and desires can quickly change, after all. Religious men, on the other hand, have commited to behaving in a particular way. They’ve made moral or lifestyle commitments that make them more predictable.
For instance, religious men often hold marriage and family in high regard. They are willing to let go of personal desires or whims, and to make sacrifices in order to create and maintain a family. They’re willing to give up their ability to spend six months traveling the world because they have made a commitment to a woman, a commitment they view as sacred and holy. Secular men, on the other hand, may have no issue giving up a relationship to pursue personal desires.
Men who belong to a church also have more eyes on them — other people know their commitments. Because they’re trying to live up to a certain set of values, and doing so in the sight of other people, they are strengthened by the community.
Feminism and modern culture constantly tells women they don’t need men. But most women know deep down that men are complementary to us, that they provide important things that we lack. Learning how to identify a man we can depend on is an important step in forming a committed and healthy relationship.