How to recognise a good man when you see him

Is he the one

By Zola Ndlovu

“I really learned what everyone meant when they said, ‘You know when you know’ when I met my husband.”

That’s easy to say when you’re Alicia Keys and he is Swizz Beats.

But what about the rest of us?

How can you know that that guy you like is the man that you could spend the rest of your life with?

Better still, should you try before you buy so you can know-know that he’s the one?

Should you trust your instincts about him? Or should you have a list of must-have characteristics and weigh him up against that? Better still, should you try before you buy so you can know-know that he’s the one?

Here’s what an ideal boyfriend looks like in a woman’s mind:

He is smart, well read and God-fearing. He is funny, kind and romantic. The kind of guy who remembers your favourite book. The kind of guy who makes the effort to read it. The kind of guy who raises it as a topic of conversation at your second date.

He is literate. That in itself makes him an exceptional man. He is intelligent and attentive and he does things like surprise you with red roses on your birthday. Clearly this guy is boyfriend material.

But is he hubby material?

The key to recognising the difference is this: boyfriend material is the man who buys roses; hubby material is the man who grows a rose garden.


I repeat: Boyfriend material buys roses. Hubby material plants a rose garden.

Why the distinction?

Because roses are flowers that are easy to buy, but difficult to grow. Romance is easy; marriage is hard. The difference is the level of commitment you have to put in. To help us figure out what hubby material looks like, let’s look at the three qualities needed to be a successful rose gardener:

1. Discernment – Good judgement or insight

The first step is to choose a rose. There are thousands of varieties and good rose gardener knows enough about them to choose the right one for his garden. A discerning man has wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge on steroids. It is experience plus the power to apply it practically.

2. Diligence – Care and effort

Unlike wild flowers, roses require a lot of care after planting. They need to be watered, fertilized and pruned. Without diligent care a rose garden will not flourish. It requires effort and work. A diligent man is a man at work. He uses what he has in his hands; he’s not content with hand-outs. He’s persistent – fall six times, get up seven.

3. Delight – Great pleasure

Another word for this is joy and it is the most undervalued of the three. Delight is just as important as discernment and diligence. Roses serve no real practical function, they exist to be enjoyed. A joyful man counts his blessings; he sees his glass as half full. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is hopeful and happy and you enjoy being around him.

He is hopeful and happy and you enjoy being around him.

Recognise these seeds in him

The reality is that it’s highly unlikely that a man will have these three qualities on lock when you first meet him. But you can recognise them in seed form if you look carefully and ask the question: What level of commitment is he willing to put in?

Remember: boyfriend buys roses, hubby plants a rose garden.

If you’re trusting for hubby material then don’t waste your time on boyfriend material.

Your turn

Are you wifey material? In other words, do you possess these three qualities?

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