If you’re looking for a life partner, chances are you want someone who’s honest, loyal, thoughtful, and caring. But what about the subtler details?
What are the small things that separate an average married man from the best husband EVER?
We asked YourTango’s huge team of experts to list the less obvious traits that marriage-minded women should keep in mind when looking for husband material, and here’s what they had to say:
1. He is not intimidated by your success.
A man worth keeping is secure in himself and will support your success. He will praise your efforts and be there to lend an ear when you fall. He will share in your joys and be there to help pick you up Your success will be about you, not about him. —Amy D. James
2. He’s playful.
Couples who report happy relationships often cite time to play as an important factor in keeping their relationship alive. Occasional playfulness in a man is a very attractive quality to many. He can joke (but not at your expense) and can laugh at himself. He can take time away from his work and projects to go bowling, play frisbee, or engage in an impromptu game of Scrabble. —ADJ
3. He values gender equality.
He is comfortable in the kitchen and doesn’t feel emasculated by running the vacuum. He can handle you mowing the yard, changing the oil, or washing the vehicles. He can be a breadwinner or a stay-at-home father. A man’s true views on gender roles often tell a lot about his personality and relationship style. Will you be his equal? —ADJ
4. He’s observant.
Would you like your partner to help with household chores? If so, look for a man who is observant. Men who aren’t so great about doing their fair share around the house claim that they don’t see dishes in the sink, scattered toys, or clothes on the floor. Men who notice details in their environment have that extra bit of awareness needed to be full contributors in a household. —Lisa Kaplin
5. He’s a dreamer.
An often-overlooked quality for a future mate? The ability to dream. Does your guy dream about the perfect vacation, the second house on the beach, a house full of kids or any other fabulous plans? Thinking and dreaming big suggests that he has goals, ambitions, and fun in his future. If he’s all about practicality and simple stability he might not be the guy to help you fulfill your wildest dreams and fantasies. Life’s too short for that. —LK
6. He’s an optimist.
Is your man’s glass half full? If not, you may want to think twice before heading down the aisle with him. Sick kids, sleepless nights, financial stress, aging parents, and your own mortality can chip away at anyone’s optimism. A partner who is a natural optimist can help you through those tough times with big doses of hope, laughter, and a big-picture outlook on life. —LK
7. He uses the word “we.”
When speaking about future plans he includes you in them. You know that he is serious about you and not just having fun for the moment. —Marla Martenson
8. He lives like an adult.
He has his own apartment or house, no roommate situations, is settled in his career, and is done with his party days. —MM
9. He treats you like a lady.
The way he treats people, including his friends and family, especially his mother, is a good indicator of what kind of husband he will be. —MM
10. He remembers the little things.
Any guy will remember your birthday. The guy who remembers the little things, too, is the keeper. If he’s paying attention to the little things you say and do, you can be sure he won’t ignore things that are important to you. —Rebecca Marquis
11. He offers to help without you asking.
If he is willing to go out of his way to help you, without you having to ask, you’ll know he truly cares about you. You’ll be able to count on him as a true partner. —RM
12. He’s attracted to you (with or without the extra 10 pounds).
Our bodies change over time, especially post-pregnancy. If you’ve found a guy who loves your body in any form, you’ll feel much more secure in the relationship over the long term. —RM
13. He shares your values.
It’s easy to miss the subtle signs that your guy might be a keeper, so start with your values and think about how someone’s actions might reflect those values. For example, if you’re a divorced mother with kids, family may be one of your top values. If your guy is willing to rearrange his work schedule so he can attend his kid’s school band concert or sports meet, that speaks to his commitment to family. —Mandy Walker
14. He supports your career.
Married life isn’t just about the fun and social parts of life, so it’s important to open up to your partner about your work. As you share a problem you’re facing, watch how he reacts. If he asks more questions, remembers other conversations, suggests possible solutions, and helps you brainstorm, that’s a good sign that he’s supportive of your career and won’t be threatened by your success. —MW
15. He encourages your friendships and interests.
It’s not realistic to think your partner can satisfy all your emotional needs, so if your guy encourages you to maintain your friendships and interests, don’t start thinking it’s because he isn’t that into you. On the contrary, he’s giving you the space you need to be a whole person. Follow his lead and your relationship will be off to a healthy start. —MW
16. He shows he cares.
When he wakes up on a cold night, he pulls the blankets snugly around your shoulders. He offers you a taste of the best part of his meal. He saves you the last bite of dessert. He puts down his electronics and listens without over-reacting even when you are crabby, hormonal, or flipping out … and then he gives you a hug. —Dan Neuharth
17. He has your back.
He’ll offer to forego the big game on TV — and mean it — to come to change your flat tire or get you chicken soup if you’re sick. He’ll publicly take your side if you are in conflict with others, but also gently and privately tell you if he thinks you’re not acting in your own best interests. If you say you want couples counseling, he’ll go willingly … and he actually likes your friends. —DN
18. He is sensitive and communicative.
He never says you got a bad haircut. He knows how to say “I was wrong” and “I am sorry.” He says you’re beautiful even without makeup, or first thing in the morning. He will talk until 2 a.m. if you need to so you don’t go to bed upset or feeling alone. —DN
19. He doesn’t pretend to be perfect.
A guy who can show you his flaws means he can accept yours. If he is still trying to be perfect after date two or three, he either doesn’t recognize his own flaws or is practiced at hiding things. —Melissa Fritchle
20. He talks to you about birth control and safe sex.
If he can have an open conversation with you about sexual health and family planning, it means he takes responsibility for his own health, thinks about the future, and will be a supportive partner with you in your health decisions. —MF
21. He has real conversations with your female friends.
This shows a guy appreciates women as peers with interesting things to say. How he invests his energy in getting to know women who are not potential dates is linked to how invested he will be in loving you as a full person as time goes on. —MF
22. He takes an interest in what happens during your day.
He genuinely wants to be caught up on your life since you last spoke, not because he’s jealous, but because he really wants to know about the things that are important to you. —Kim Olver
23. He understands the art of The Platinum Rule by Tony Allesandra.
Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. He prioritizes finding out what you like, want, and need and gives that to you whenever possible instead of giving you what he would want in a similar situation. —KO
24. He asks your opinion about important decisions.
He may not always follow your suggestions, but he sincerely considers them and wants your input. —KO
25. He roots for the success of your ventures.
More than anything, we all want a partner with that we feel safe. Part of that safety is the feeling that it’s OK to spread your dreams under your guy’s feet. Of course, you want to do your best and be successful. Your boyfriend should also be rooting for your success. —Abiola Abrams
26. He sings your praises to others.
He’s telling the people in his life what he enjoys and appreciates about you. He’s bragging about how smart and caring you are. If the people in his life have never heard of you, Houston, you may have a problem. —AA
27. He makes you laugh (and vice-versa).
There’s a reason married people live longer. Our health and well-being are intricately tied into our emotional state. Your ideal guy can see you at your best and at your worst and not belittle you. If you aren’t able to laugh about the dramas that arise with your life partner, things are going to be extremely difficult. —AA
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