The qualities of a good husband are too many to list. Having abeneficial spouse not only makes your life better and more rewarding, but itenriches the lives of your children and even your extended family. It’s hardto list everything that goes into a making a man a solid marital partner andfather, but I’ve created a list of 25 qualities to note in your dates andpotential mates.
You’ll find few people with all these qualities. Even when a person hasone of these traits, they might go overboard. People have differentchildhood experiences and different natures, so even if certaincharacteristics work for him, you might find them a little odd oroff-putting. Long story short, nobody is perfect. Like those commercialsabout adopting kids, even if you or your spouse isn’t perfect all the time,there’s people out there who’d be happy to put up with your faults.
A woman looking for a husband wants to shoot for perfection and settlefor excellence, though, so here are 25 excellent qualities in a greathusband. Make a mental checklist and see how many he matches up to. Hope hegets a check-mark by all twenty-five, but even if he doesn’t, you want himto embody most of these ideas. Even if he matches up well on most of these,if he gets bad grades on a quality that’s particularly important to you, hemight not be Mr. Right.
The 25 Traits of a Good Husband
- Good Self-Image – Look for a good self-image. If he has goodself-esteem, you won’t have to put up with constant crises ofconfidence, self-loathing, and defeatist behavior. I’m talking about anatural confidence and sense of self-worth, not an arrogant, cocky,overconfident personality. You’ll find a fine line between a goodself-image and a raging egomaniac, so watch out for the narcissist. Thisbecomes apparent fairly early in the relationship, though.
- Self-Control – Self-control and discipline makes itself known in somany ways. They use to call this trait “character”. He doesn’t do things”just because he can”. He is disciplined, works towards a goal, anddoesn’t go for immediate self-gratification. Self-control helps himavoid temptation, addictions to everything from alcohol to pain pills tofood, keeps him from saying hurtful things, and allows him to maintainhis temper around you and the kids.
- Hard Working – Every woman seems to date a charming loser at somepoint. When you’re young, if that cute guy with the brilliant smile is acouch potato and only wants to play XBOX, it seems like no big deal. Butwhen he’s 40 and not-so-beautiful, he’s just going to be an overgrownchild. A woman might be accused of being “too materialistic” looking fora provider, but it doesn’t matter whether this guy has money ornot–it’s finding a hard worker which really matters. Little affects thelife of your children more.
- Provider – Again, I’m not talking about finding a man who isindependently wealthy or is a top-level executive. I’m talking aboutfinding a man who takes pride in providing for his family. He’sself-motivated, has a healthy degree of ambition, and has an idea how togo about providing for a family. From time immemorial, women have lookedfor men who provide a good future for them and their family. It’srational to look for that trait in a man. This is similar to the hardworker, but implies this man has a few skills (training, education,people skills) that allow him to provide for the family.
- Handles Money Well – You may think I’m focusing too much on thematerial, but this is the last trait having to do with your budget.Notice how the man you’re dating handles his money, taking into accounthe might be splurging to impress you. If this man is profligate with hisspending, then no matter what you and he makes in income, you’ll alwayshave money issues. If this man is so frugal that you can say withhonesty he’s “cheap”, then you might be arguing about money your wholelives–even if there’s money in the bank. Find a man whose money habitsmatch your own, because most marriage issues start over finances.
- Trustworthy – Trust is a catch-all trait in a marriage, because youhave to be able to trust this man to provide for the family, to treatyou well, and to raise you children the proper way. In the end,everything comes down to trust. If you can’t take a man at his word,then you live your entire life wondering what the next surprise is goingto be. Many women view this kind of man to be a challenge or a mysteryto be solved, but it usually means he’s just a child in a man’s body.Marry a man you can’t trust and it’s like building a home on theshifting sands.
- Spontaneous – When I say he’s trustworthy, I don’t mean he’s sopredictable that he’s boring. You want your husband to surprise you, butin positive ways. You also want a husband who doesn’t mind beingsurprised every once in a while–in a good way. Spontaneity is how youkeep your marriage fresh, especially in the bedroom. While that surprisevacation to Tahiti is nice, spontaneous acts in a marriage don’t have tobe that dramatic. A marriage is like a song with a monotonous beat. Evena slight change in the tempo breaks up the monotony. Hope you spouseunderstands the rhythms of romance.
- Not Jealous – One way many couples create passion is throughjealousy and suspicion. Real or suspected infidelities and constantrituals to prove their passion and love for each other is what quickenstheir romance. This is excitement build on negative actions andemotions, though. It’s dramatic, but it’s also draining. The jealouslover is going to inspire fights and heartache, and a woman might viewthis like the drama in her romance novels and chick flicks. It’s doesn’twork as smoothly in real life. Find a man with the confidence and trust(of you) not to get jealous all the time. Find ways to bring passioninto the marriage in positive ways. The negative things are going tocrop up anyway, so limit them as much as possible to those times whenthey can’t be avoided. Don’t go looking for trouble, because it’s goingto find you soon enough.
- Open-Minded – The open-minded man can be rare, especially as theyears move forward. Men tend to get set in their ways, so if you marry aman who is too opinionated, hard-headed, and close-minded at a youngage, he’s going to be obstinate and completely unyielding when he getsolder. These things are a habit and habits tend to get worse. Find a manwho is open-minded about the right things: who listens to your opinionon things, who’s willing to admit when he’s wrong, who’s willing toforgive when you’re wrong, and who is willing to give you room to beyourself and find your own identity in the marriage.
- Willing to Listen – Married men often get to where they don’t listento their spouse. They tune them out. So if you are dating a man whowon’t listen to your opinion and hear what you’re saying, don’t marryhim. Again, this is only going to get worse. It’s easy for marriedcouples to speak past one another. It’s also one of the most frustratingthings in the world for your husband to ignore you when you need to ventor when you just need a shoulder to cry on. Women need to talk aboutthings at time, if nothing else to get some sympathy. If you have a manwho listens, but doesn’t want to understand or sympathize, your marriageis going to suffer for it. Find a man who’s willing to listen and whodoesn’t think you’re just something to be managed.
- Admits When He’s Wrong – The man who admits when he’s wrong andwho’s willing to apologize (and mean it) is rare. People (includingmyself) like to believe we’re right. We don’t like to admit we’re wrong.But if you have someone who is constitutionally unable to admit they arewrong under any circumstances, you’re in for a very long andargumentative marriage. The only other option is to meekly agree witheverything he says and believes, and that’s no fun.
- Forgiving – Another important skill is the ability to forgive. Thisrequires a certain sense of mercy, a certain magnanimity, that manypeople don’t have. This is one of my great weaknesses. I tend to believein a sense of right and wrong, and when I feel like someone haspersonally wronged me (especially if I feel they have gone out of theirway to wrong me), I tend to close myself off from ever forgiving them.That trait has cost me several relationships over the years, when Ithink some issue is put in the past, but I end up having too long amemory for my own good. Forgiveness is often couched in terms ofreligion, but whether you are spiritual or not, the ability to forgiveyour spouse their failings is important. Nobody is perfect, so if aperson makes a real effort to improve and make penance, forgiving thatperson is essential.
- Not Controlling – Many women complain about the controlling husband.She can’t speak with other men. He wants to shut her off from friends orfamily. He doesn’t want her to pursue any hobbies or pastimes, or watchany tv shows, that don’t match his arbitrary approval. He asks where shewants to eat, then find fault with their suggestions. However far thisgoes, the wife ends up living life in a box. She’s afraid to do anythingor say anything of which he might disapprove, and therefore her optionsbecome fewer and fewer. Understand that controlling men tend to have asense of inferiority that requires them to question loyalty anddevotion, while confident men are willing to live with women who havestrong opinions, a sense of self-worth, and individual lives. Anothertype of controlling man is the narcissist, but again, he wants you tosubvert your needs and wants for his. Neither of these is healthy, sodon’t get into a marriage with a controlling man. You might convinceyourself you’ll be happy with him and nothing else, but people can’tfind happiness in others. Only when they are happy with themselves arethey truly happy. A controlling man assures you’ll never be happy withyourself.
- Maturity – Most of the traits I’ve discussed so far have one thingin common–the man has a certain level of maturity. Jealous, controllingmen or men who can’t provide for their families are essentiallychildren. You want a real man who’s big enough and has enoughperspective to be in a mature relationship. Mature people makesacrifices on behalf of their family and the people they love. They aredependable and have learned a little something (wisdom) for all theiryears on the Earth. Many teenagers fall into the trap of mimickingmaturity by aping the adults they see (alcohol, drugs, sex), notrealizing that those are outward displays of the mature life. A matureadult is someone who acts in a rational, loving, and giving fashion tothose they love–often against their selfish instincts.
- Kind and Gentle – You want your man to be kind and gentle. Womenoften like to feel secure by finding a man who is loud, aggressive, andmasculine. It’s nice to have a man who stands up for himself and defendshis people from loud and aggressive behavior. But you want a man who iskind and gentle by his very nature. Live your life with an unkind,abusive man and you’re living your life with terror. Some women findmoments of solace in those marriages–exciting sex, the occasionalkindness, the solace of the children–but they can never be trulyfulfilled in a marriage with an unkind man. If he isn’t kind and gentle,he probably won’t be kind and gentle to your children, either. You don’twant to put your children into a dangerous and degrading situation, sofind a man who is gentle with you and the kids.
- Loyal to the Family – Notice how a man acts around his family. Ifhe’s loyal to the family he was born with, he’s more likely to be loyalto the family he creates. This isn’t always the case–men can have aninflated sense of family and still see their wife as an outsider. But ifhe seems to have no sense of respect for his mother, his father, and hissiblings, he probably won’t be loyal and respectful to his wife andkids. Understand that some family units are just bad, and if you judgethat it would be bad for him to maintain close ties with his family, youmight cut him some slack in your evaluation. But understand that he’snever known what a stable family unit is, so he may not know how to actwhen you provide him with the proper family environment. Men can growbeyond the childhood environment they were raised in, but it’s tougher.
- Good Communication Skills – See if your fiance can correct and notaccuse those around him, especially children. Eventually, this is theman who is going to be training your children how to live and act aroundother people. Your children are going to be profoundly influenced bythis man, so see if he has the communication skills to be a good father.Some fathers only criticize, berating their children and destroyingtheir self-esteem. Your children can grow up learning to be defensiveabout everything, or to be open, honest, and truthful. Every day–everymoment–is instruction for the young child. They take in more than weever imagine. So make certain your man is going to communicate to hischildren the right way to live.
- Good with Children – When he’s around children, see how he behaves.While a man is likely to treat his children differently than he wouldothers, the difference isn’t going to be as stark as you think, most ofthe time. See if he likes children, is willing to play with children andgive them his time, and if he is willing to talk to them as real people.A father has to be stern at times, but he also has to be a nurturinginfluence at times. The more he puts into the children, the betterdeveloped and more well-rounded they’ll be. So if he makes a good uncleto his cousins, nieces, and nephews, then he’s likely to make a prettygood father.
- Considers Family Important – No matter what kind of family life hehad as a child, test out his viewpoints on family in general and raisinga family. A man who came from a loving family and feels like family ismost important is best. But if you find a man who came from a brokenhome and a history of family acrimony, learn where he places the valuein a family. You’ll often find a man like this craves the kind of familylife he never had, that building a loving family is the most importantpursuit in his life. If he seems ambivalent about having a family, if heis adamant against having a family, or if he seems to have no opinion,that should raise red flags. Some of these men may learn the importanceof family with age and wisdom, but they’re a bad bet right now.
- Protective of the Family – You’ll want a father who has a guardianinstinct with his family. You might think this goes without saying, butif a father isn’t interested in protecting his wife and kids from theworst life has to offer, then he’s not doing his duty to the family.Many people these days think a child has to grow up quickly or they viewa child as the friend they never had, but a father can’t be merely achild’s friend. The father has to take the long view, to see that theirsons and daughters have plenty of time to see the world for what it is,but right now needs to be protected from all the dangers out there.”Protection of the family” covers a lot of ground, though, from livingin bad neighborhoods to having bad friends to being exposed tocorrupting influences. Another part of protecting the family involvesmaking sure a child gets a good education, so that child isn’t open tothe exploitation that often happens to the least educated among us.
- Enjoys Spending Time with Family – Most people get married with theassumption they’re going to build a family together. The marriagearrangement isn’t going to work very well if the father doesn’t enjoyspending time with the family and sharing in the child raising. Ingenerations past, it was assumed the father would be the provider andthe mother would be the nurturer–that should would (more or less) raisethe kids. In the past couple of generations, it’s assumed that Mom andDad are going to share in each duty. If the father assumes he’s going tomake money while the mother is going to hold down a job, do the cookingand cleaning, and take care of the children, way too much of the burdenfalls on her. So you want a dad who’s going to enjoy time spent onfamily activities. If he spends all his time at work or with hisfriends, he’s not going to be much of a husband or a father.
- Accepts the In-Laws – No matter how well the two of you get along,eventually he has to deal with the in-laws and they have to deal withhim. On some level, he’s going to have to accept the in-laws. Hopefully,he begins to feel like they are a part of his family and he developsreal affection for them, whether it’s as a friend relationship or a kindof true kinship. At the very least, he should learn to respect them andshow them respect. Relations between the son-in-law and the girl’sfamily are a two-way street, so if they make constant trouble or make itimpossible for him to like, love, and respect them, be understanding.However the relationship with the family goes, the two of you need tosee eye-to-eye. And even if things are difficult, but you want tomaintain a family connection, he needs to accept your in-laws.
- Treats His Parents Well – This is a double game. You’ll have toaccept and respect his family, as well. But even before you get to thewedding day, interactions with his family are important. See how well hetreats his family–especially his parents–as a glimpse of how he mighttreat your parents. See if he respects the older generation. If herespects his parents, he’s likely to respect yours, as long as they arereasonable and respectful in their turn. But if he consistently shows acasual disregard and disrespect for his own parents, he’s got thelifelong habit of showing his elders a lack of respect. Again, thisbehavior may be colored by how they act and react, but I use “casualdisregard” to mean he does this as an everyday operating procedure. Seehow he treats his parents and siblings when things are going well, whenthings are kind of tense, and when things aren’t going so well. This isa preview of things to come.
- Have Vision and Perspective – Even in the early 21st century, theman of the house tends to be the one with a vision for his family andthe future of that family. Test to see whether your husband has a vision(hopes, dreams, plans) for your future together and the family that’s tocome. See if his plans and your plans coincide. You might have minordifferences to sort out later, but you want to share a vision about thedirection of your family. This might involve how many kids you each want(one, none, or six), where you want to live (city or country), what typeof spiritual life you’ll have, the type of education you want for yourkids, and how you’ll discipline your kids. Besides vision, see if he hasperspective–if he’s sober, rational, mature, and realistic in hisapproaches to marriage and parenting. If you have wildly different ideasabout these things, you’re setting yourselves up for decades ofcontroversy.
- Treats You Well – At the end of the day, perhaps the most importantsingle factor in your marriage is whether he treats you well. Is heloving, respectful, helpful, and willing to share the burdens in amarriage? Does he listen to you, provide for your well being, defend youwhen you need defending, and give you sympathy when it’s your turn toneed support? In the end, does he try to make you content, joyful, andfulfilled? If your husband does, your life together should be contended,joyous, and fulfilling. You can work through problems, but you need toknow that your husband is on your side.
Characteristics of a Successful Husband
I’ve probably left out something essential, but these 25 qualities of agood husband are a good start when you’re trying to evaluate if he’s theone. If you’re a single man hoping to become good marriage material or amarried man looking to improve his hubby skills, try to make thesetraits strengths of yours. Even if you consider these big weaknesses oryou don’t have the background to be a natural at any of these lifeskills, you’re showing the desire to be a good husband. Skills can belearned and qualities improved, if you care enough to educate yourself.