Signs to watch out for, on whom NOT To Marry

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Marriage is … the promise of love between two people and the explicit commitment to work to maintain that love no matter what obstacles life may bring.

wedding ring

Why prepare for a wedding when one should prepare for the marriage?

How cynical or is it being practical? One learns about marriage by actually being in one. Sure, there are signs to watch out for in An Ideal Husband. My husband was my boyfriend for 7 years but I never really knew him or what marriage entailed until I lived it.

Father Pat Connor spent decades of marriage counseling which led him to distill some “common sense” advice about how to avoid partners who would maul your happiness.

“Hollywood says you can be deeply in love with someone and then your marriage will work,” the twinkly eyed, white-haired priest says. “But you can be deeply in love with someone to whom you cannot be successfully married.”

The priest gave lectures for the past 40 years on ““Whom Not to Marry” to high school seniors, mostly girls because they seem more eager to understand.

You might wonder about the reliability of the priest’ observations but as I went through his list, I have to agree with the signs to watch out for. Let me go through the list and cite a few examples.

1. “Never marry a man who has no friends,” he starts. This usually means that he will be incapable of the intimacy that marriage demands.

I know of someone who ran away from her husband bringing nothing with her but her wallet. The husband (soon to be divorced) begged me to convince her to go back to him. He said “She was my life. She was my only friend”. I didn’t want to meddle with their affairs because the husband apparently called every friend. I was thinking “he just wants her back because he is lonely…no friends”. What a loser. Good thing, my friend pursued the divorce from her obsessive husband.

2. “Does he use money responsibly? Is he stingy? Most marriages that flounder do so because of money

“she’s thrifty, he’s on his 10th credit card.”

money in marriage

I can so relate to this. One of the marital fights with my husband in our early years of marriage was his non-frugal ways. I might have been the stingy one but since he was just a law student, I expected him to be more thrifty. It took more than 15 years for him to spend money wisely and 18 years before he completely allowed me to handle our financial affairs.

3. “Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, who never makes demands counter to yours. It’s good to have a doormat in the home, but not if it’s your husband.

I don’t really know any doormat among my peers. I had a friend who had a doormat of a husband in their younger years. For some strange reason, their roles reversed when the husband retired.

4. “Is he overly attached to his mother and her mythical apron strings? When he wants to make a decision, say, about where you should go on your honeymoon, he doesn’t consult you, he consults his mother.

If there is anything more annoying, is a mother-in-law joining your husband in a honeymoon. This happened to a close friend. Can I say that the in-law relationship was always rocky throughout their marriage? I am glad that my husband is not too attached to his mother. Of course, I give space when he wants to bond with his mother. It’s not that often so I don’t mind.

5. “Does he have a sense of humor?”

'My wife laughs at my jokes.' - 'You either have good jokes or a good wife.'

‘My wife laughs at my jokes.’ – ‘You either have good jokes or a good wife.’


My husband grew up in a family that didn’t laugh as much as my family did or so he tells me. I loved cracking jokes and laughing in stitches. My husband seemed such a killjoy at times. One day when his mother came for a visit, he told me to lower my voice or tone down my laughter because it might disturb her since she is not used to “noise”. I was mortified. In fairness to my mother-in-law, her hearing is just sensitive.

Now that we are over 30 years married, my husband has an awesome sense of humor that I cannot match.

6. A therapist friend insists that more marriages are killed by silence than by violence. The strong, silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive.

This is similar to my doormat example. I never imagined that this soft-spoken husband carried an affair. As a young girl, I thought this distant relative was a good and faithful husband because he was quiet. When I got married, this relative encouraged my husband to seek out girls for pleasure. How terrible. Of course, I found out about it because my husband was so appalled. (or appeared to be shocked to me)


7. “Don’t marry a problem character thinking you will change him.
He’s a heavy drinker, or some other kind of addict, but if he marries a good woman, he’ll settle down. People are the same after marriage as before, only more so.

A girl friend called off her wedding a few days before the wedding date. To her horror, she discovered her soon-to-be husband in the arms of another girl of a restaurant. Apparently the guy was just forced to marry my friend because his mother found her a suitable wife instead of his other girlfriend. A year later, the guy decided to tie the knot with my friend due to guilt. My friend nearly died in an accident and he blamed himself for it. I warned my friend that the guy won’t change his ways. She was so in love with him and thought marriage will change everything. Guess what? Five years after their wedding, the guy started an extra-marital affair with his girlfriend who apparently is his true love. They now have a child.

8. “Take a good, unsentimental look at his family . You’ll learn a lot about him and his attitude towards women.

mama boy


I think most men are “mama’s boy”. They never really get over being a son especially if the man is unable to nuture his inner child in his adult years. My husband was raised by two grandmothers in his formative years. You can just imagine how he sought maternal love, how his inner child was probably not nurtured well. Though not a “mama’s boy” in the strictest sense, I found out that he looked up to me as a “mother” and wife. I used to get annoyed, having to deal with another “child” but I got used to it.

9. Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being ,the willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous? Or is he inclined to be a fibber, to fits of rage, to be a control freak, to be envious of you, to be secretive?


The man whom NOT to marry should not be a control freak or wife beater. He is a basically a good human being.

As I looked through the list, it appears that most married couples experience these “Whom Not to Marry” advice at one point in their lives. I know I did. I probably knew what I was getting into but I knew I could handle the trials and challenges. The “Whom NOT to marry” list practically eliminates every male specie which now makes it impossible to seek the Ideal Man. However, it opens the eyes of young girls who plan to get married one day or to prepare themselves for the idiosyncrasies of their lifetime partners. I don’t know with the men but perhaps they can get a tip or two here.

Do you have any other “mostly common sense” advice?

marry the guy

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1386 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • Aw, this was very helpful. I’m glad my current beau passes the test.

  • Very inspiring and helpful to me , Noemi 🙂 I have a lot of non-negotiables but I don’t know , maybe in time I will be able to think about this:) Quiet ones are scary, that’s what my mom says! haha! 🙂 ( but not generalizing 🙂 )

  • my momma alwayz said, don’t marry a guy who can complete you. be complete as a person since marriage is about giving. you can’t give in a marriage is you are not complete yourself.

    does that make sense? hehe. your list is perfect! i couldn’t agree more. although, i’m not married, but knowing these things makes me feel less afraid or getting married.

  • I agree with you on the points you raised. I am glad that hubby, even if he is not the “Perfect Prince Charming” to others, he is perfect for me because he has some, or even most, of those qualities and I am thankful for that.

    Lovely post, just in time for those preparing for a December wedding 🙂

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  • Oh, blogged about this NY Times article, too. Last month. That entry by Maureen Dowd was ‘indicatively’ plagiarized in Philippine Star (August 2 issue). I already sent an email to the lifestyle editor but there’s no response yet.

    witsandnutss last blog post..Was that indicative plagiarism?

  • pardon my grammatical errors and typos.

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  • interestingly this comes as the perfect read for those women i have known recently to have married the wrong men. how i wish they could have read this post before they tied to knot to their loser husbands.

  • “It took more than 15 years for him to spend money wisely and 18 years before he completely let me handle our financial affairs.”

    There’s hope! 🙂

    All in all, my husband passed the test. *giggle*

  • Nice post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and consequently checked myself if I’m a “good catch”. 😀

    If I may add to this, I’d say that you should marry someone who has the same long term plans as yours. I remember Prof Randy David sharing in an interview about the secrets of a successful marriage – he said something like “you and your partner may not always see each other face to face, but it’s important that you two are facing the same direction.”

    I’ve personally seen a couple break up even though they complemented each other and had very good chemistry simply because one wants to migrate abroad while the other one wants to stay in the country.

    Haay… I think love problems can really be more complicated than money problems. Hahaha. 😀

  • I used to have this recurring dream that I was getting married in a protestant church. I’m Catholic and I wasn’t dating a protestant girl at that time. Hm.

  • a book by stormie omartian, “the power of praying parent” encourages parents to pray for the future spouses of our children, even though our children are still young. i like the idea so i am doing just that ( not regularly though).

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  • @TheBitchGoddess- congrats!

    @Sophie- most quiet ones I know are indeed scary. I wanted to cite more examples but i will be generalizing too

    @issai- I agree with your mom. I believe one should be their own person and not rely on their partner to complete them.

    @julie- there is no perfect man anyway.

    @witsandnuts- I waited for an opportunity to blog it when two of my friends are getting married.

    @arpee- it’s never too late for others.

    @Mrs. G.- how lucky you are! Congrats.

    @fitz- Oh yes, there’s always a need for love advice.

    @brianB- wonder what your deram meant.

    @cess- I often pray too. I tell my girls to pray too.

  • good one, Noems, but then, does that specie exist? kidding aside, it’s really good to have a “checklist”(?) or cirteria(?). there are less and less people getting married nowadays, have you noticed? either they lack in commitment or either of the partners do not seem to meet the expectation of the other. anyhow–marriage is still the foundation of family.

  • Noemi, thank you! This is a very great article. I just shared it with my younger sister in law who just got break with her boyfriend…Once again, thank you! This is a very proper reading for her right now.

  • Hi Noemi! What are your thoughts on divorce? Do you think we should have it legalized here in our country?

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  • @sexy mom- a lot of young kids are disillusioned of marriage because of broken homes. You are right….that marriage is the foundation of family.

    @Viona- glad the blog entry helped.

    @lester- I am for divorce if the husband is abusive and violates the RA 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004” Why should wife be punching bags? They deserve a new life. Then again, women can see a few warning signs of abusive husbands-to-be such as uncontrollable drinking behavior, bad temper, control freak, possessiveness.

  • Gem

    It is a great post, but the points made here are fine for finding the suitable husband. But it can still be difficult to find the right man, because when a guy gets married, things turn out differently for the man.

    But I’ve worked with a lot of guys, I often witnessed a lot of guys “flirting” with others when their wives are out of sight. I’ve also noticed some moves from many different guys at work: I never like to get involved because these are married men but this experience leaves me disturbed, because it happened in many instances from different guys. One of the guys was even so loyal with her wife when they were not yet married (more than 10 years BF-GF relationship) but still gets interested in me. But these guys wanted everything to be in secret and they do not like others to find out, most especially their wives and children and even their own drinking peers!

    I’m getting the impression that marriage and family are just for show. The reality of men being polygamous really holds true. We, women are often dreamy about how our marriage is perfect and how husbands love us. But there will always be a part of their personality that is hidden from their wives – bonus money they earned from work and their other woman. They may not love the other women that they flirt with but they are often thrilled to have a hidden affair.

  • @gem
    a few(? probably many) bad apples spoils the whole bunch. this is a reason i’m pro-divorce. because these men (and women too) should never been married in the first place. or they might have been forced to marry due to peer/family pressure or emotional blackmail. i think they shouldn’t be in a relationship if they want to be naughty. but reality bites.

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  • Gem,

    This could be mistaken hints or a cultural trait. I personally don’t have this trait coming from a province in the South (women there don’t like their men talking to another woman, especially if the woman is single and pretty) though I’ve observed this in many men in Manila. I’ve often wondered why it’s tolerated here and find the practice not only disconcerting but offensive. I’m not trying to wash my hands clean but coming from a somewhat matriarchal upbringing, the way “boys” behave in Manila is a little weird. The other weird part is that women readily accept it and are quite surprised when you’re different.

  • I strongly agree with 1, 5 and 7!

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  • Great post again, as usual. =)

    I’m just curious with the number one entry “Never marry a man who has no friends.” Is there such a man who doesn’t have friends? For Americans or foreigners, I think there is a big possibility but for us, Filipinos? I don’t know. I’d probably dead by now if I didn’t have any friends.

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  • These were some of the things that my parents discussed with me when I was about to get married. Food for thought and something that should be taken seriously.

    Cookies last blog post..Adios!!

  • I almost agree on everything except for the first one: which says never marry a man who has no friends. My father is a very responsible dad who doesn’t have any friend at all. No phone calls. No invites for weddings, birthdays, reunions, parties, etc. His life is us and his immediate family. He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke and he is 100% available 24/7 for us — his life. His business runs at home. So, I think, as long as a man is emotionally stable, even if he has no friends, he’ll still make a good father and a husband.

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  • Mom from Lucban

    I love my husband’s sense of humor. He always makes me laugh. He’s
    even funnier when he’s trying out corny jokes just to make our
    stressful situation funny. I find his sense of humor comforting and it’s
    his special way to tell me that “everything’s gonna be alright”.