Why “Wife Material” Is The Worst Way A Guy Can Describe You

Back when I was a hopelessly romantic youth, being referred to as “wife material” was a total feather in my cap. Nowadays, the thought of a guy saying this to me makes me want to hurl. Here’s why you should never settle for someone who describes you as a future wifey because honestly, it’s not a compliment.

  1. He’s not looking for an equal. I’m not so anti-marriage that I’d say men shouldn’t be after a wife. Still, it’s the way you phrase it. A man looking for a wife is often looking for any old attractive, respectable woman who’ll make him look good in public and do everything for him in the family home. Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather be with someone who’s looking for a soul mate.
  2. Who’s to say he’s husband material? Categorizing women by whether or not they’re wife material bypasses the idea that women might want some kind of say about the guy they’re dating. Anyone arrogant enough to put this label on women has clearly already assumed that he’d make the perfect husband. Newsflash, mister, you actually have to put a bit of effort in if you want your girlfriend to stick around.
  3. He sees you as an object. If you’re wife material, you’re the perfect blank canvas to be carved into your man’s ideal wife. Never mind your own interests and ambitions—a woman who’s wife material knows she must submit blindly to the whims of her future husband. A man who takes no interest in you as a person doesn’t deserve you as his wife.
  4. He cares too much about status. The thing that really grinds my gears about this expression is that it’s hardly ever men saying it to women. Most of the time, this phrase is bandied about between men about the women they’re seeing. If you want to be relegated to the status of some guy’s wife, by all means, carry on with someone who sees you as wife material. If you want to be known as his equal other half, look for someone who’ll use a wider vocabulary to talk about you with his friends.
  5. He’ll definitely start calling you wifey. If there’s one thing more annoying than being wife material, it’s being called “wifey.” Only imagine how degrading men would find it if we started referring to them as “The Husband,” yet we’re expected to answer to a whole host of patronizing nicknames. Unless you’re sitting at home twiddling your thumbs while your husband runs rings around you to provide the perfect lifestyle, he has no right to see you as just a wife.
  6. Marriage shouldn’t be determined by a checklist. The idea of wife material suggests there’s some agreed checklist that all women are held up against. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what might have made the shortlist: an ability to cook, clean, and stay quiet when the game’s on no doubt feature highly. We’d never dream of valuing men in such a black and white way, and we certainly don’t deserve that treatment ourselves.
  7. He’s looking for a servant. Let’s face it, this guy is basically just eyeing up the skills you have that will be useful to him when you live together. Knowledge of how to use all settings of the washing machine? Check. Ability to make a roast? Check? Lack of independence? Check, check, check. Let him waste time looking for someone else who’s prepared to act like his personal slave.
  8. What does it say about the way he treats women? Do you really want to associate yourself with someone who takes such a simplistic view of women? Anyone who can portion out a person’s qualities into yes or no answers doesn’t have the emotional range needed to maintain an adult relationship. A guy who isn’t prepared to get to know women as individuals is certainly not going to treat you well in marriage.
  9. Relationships aren’t a one size fits all deal. Even if you have a type, no two relationships are ever the same, and everyone brings their own unique qualities to each connection. Two women could both be independent, great cooks, and highly organized, but one could be your soulmate and one could completely clash with your personality. In order to have a happy relationship, he needs to look beyond the most obvious qualities.
  10. If a guy sees you as wife material, whatever you do, don’t marry him. A man describing you as wife material is under no circumstances the perfect husband. He’s a guy looking for someone to replace his mom by doing everything for him and will treat you with about as much dignity as any woman he passes on the street. When I’m looking to settle down in marriage, I’m looking for a man who’ll love me for me, and respect me as an equal. There’s no way those qualities can be compartmentalized into “husband material.”
Isobel is a freelance blogger and writer for hire specialising in content for millennials who haven't quite got it together yet (i.e. herself). When not glued to her laptop, she enjoys eating cheese, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends.