When choosing a spouse, acceptance isn’t enough.

When my children are is old enough to understand, I am going to offer them some advice in regards to ideal spousal identification. My friend, Kim, tells her children that the most important decision they will ever make is choosing the person they will marry, and I think she is right.

With that said comes the single most important quality that a person should look for in a spouse:

Appreciation for exactly who you are.

Acceptance, I will tell my children, is not enough. Not even close to enough, though there are those who will tell you that it is.

Acceptance is too close to tolerance, and tolerance never lasts. Only when someone truly appreciates and admires you for who you are can you truly be happy. When you find this quality in a person, you must recognize it as a gift and grab onto it with all your might.

My wife demonstrates this quality often.

Tonight she emailed me this photograph of a page of Ralph Waldo Emerson quotations. The title of the email was:

Read the first one


I am quite certain that it’s not always easy to live with a person who actively seeks opportunities to question convention and challenge norms. But in sending me this photograph, Elysha not only acknowledges who I am but also expresses appreciation for who I am as well.

I least I think so.