Half a million years ago, when I was dating, I had certain vetting criteria in mind for a husband. Sense of humor was a must, and so was the ability to carry on an engaging conversation. Of course sharing the same faith is a no-brainer, and a work ethic and integrity are crucial.

I haven’t set those things aside, they’re still important, but reflecting on 22 years of marriage and 18 of parenting, I realized that my vetting process would be a heckuva lot steeper now. In fact, I would insist on a hearty “yes” to every item on this list.

  • Can and will he clean up puke? Bonus points if he gags but does it anyway. 
  • Does he know how to do laundry? Like start to finish, stinky socks to folded and put away?
  • I like a guy who can cook, all right, but will he do his own dishes? And without being reminded?
  • Does he eat he eat his veggies? How about a vegetarian meal? I’m here to tell you that you will never get the kids to eat brussel sprouts if their dad doesn’t.
  • Will he get up with the kiddos at night? Like even if it’s years of interrupted sleep? And not be a jerk about it?
  • How about diapers? Will he do the poopy ones, too?
  • When you’re sick, will he be willing and able to take over?
  • Can you discuss difficult topics respectfully? Agree to disagree? 
  • Does he have self-control? Can he see a thong-clad Victoria’s Secret Model on the beach and still look you in the eye? Can he look her in the eye?
  • Do you love to be together? Can you handle being apart?
  • Can you endure a disaster together? Financial? Health? Family? Can you be his rock and can he be yours?
  • How does he do with drinking? Can he take it or leave it? Can you trust him when he’s had a few?
  • Can he admit when he is wrong? Can he apologize? Can he graciously accept your apology?
  • Can he aim when he pees? Because 50 years is a mighty long time to step in yellow dribble every morning.

Some of these are more crucial than others, but let me tell you this, I can overlook a handful of bad habits for a guy who does his share of midnight get-ups with the kids without grumbling. Yet I’m entirely aware that after spending half my life with the same man, the little things are big too. Think about things like eating his broccoli before the ceremony, because little stuff has a way of getting under your skin when it’s year in and year out for the rest of your life.

And for the record, I am the proud wife of a man with exceptional aim.

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Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on https://benswritingrunningmom.wordpress.com/. She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.