The qualities of a good husband are too many to list. Having a beneficial spouse not only makes your life better and more rewarding, but it enriches the lives of your children and even your extended family. It’s hard to list everything that goes into a making a man a solid marital partner and fat
her, but I’ve created a list of 25 qualities to note in your dates and potential mates.
You’ll find few people with all these qualities. Even when a person has one of these traits, they might go overboard. People have different childhood experiences and different natures, so even if certain characteristics work for him, you might find them a little odd or off-putting. Long story short, nobody is perfect. Like those commercials about 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 settle for excellence, though, so here are 25 excellent qualities in a great husband. Make a mental checklist and see how many he matches up to. Hope he gets a check-mark by all twenty-five, but even if he doesn’t, you want him to 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, he might not be Mr. Right.
The 25 Traits of a Good Husband
- Good Self-Image – Look for a good self-image. If he has good self-esteem, you won’t have to put up with constant crises of confidence, self-loathing, and defeatist behavior. I’m talking about a natural confidence and sense of self-worth, not an arrogant, cocky, overconfident personality. You’ll find a fine line between a good self-image and a raging egomaniac, so watch out for the narcissist. This becomes apparent fairly early in the relationship, though.
- Self-Control – Self-control and discipline makes itself known in so many ways. They use to call this trait “character”. He doesn’t do things “just because he can”. He is disciplined, works towards a goal, and doesn’t go for immediate self-gratification. Self-control helps him avoid temptation, addictions to everything from alcohol to pain pills to food, keeps him from saying hurtful things, and allows him to maintain his temper around you and the kids.
- Hard Working – Every woman seems to date a charming loser at some point. When you’re young, if that cute guy with the brilliant smile is a couch potato and only wants to play XBOX, it seems like no big deal. But when he’s 40 and not-so-beautiful, he’s just going to be an overgrown child. A woman might be accused of being “too materialistic” looking for a provider, but it doesn’t matter whether this guy has money or not–it’s finding a hard worker which really matters. Little affects the life of your children more.
- Provider – Again, I’m not talking about finding a man who is independently wealthy or is a top-level executive. I’m talking about finding a man who takes pride in providing for his family. He’s self-motivated, has a healthy degree of ambition, and has an idea how to go about providing for a family. From time immemorial, women have looked for men who provide a good future for them and their family. It’s rational to look for that trait in a man. This is similar to the hard worker, 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 the material, but this is the last trait having to do with your budget. Notice how the man you’re dating handles his money, taking into account he might be splurging to impress you. If this man is profligate with his spending, then no matter what you and he makes in income, you’ll always have money issues. If this man is so frugal that you can say with honesty he’s “cheap”, then you might be arguing about money your whole lives–even if there’s money in the bank. Find a man whose money habits match your own, because most marriage issues start over finances.
- Trustworthy – Trust is a catch-all trait in a marriage, because you have to be able to trust this man to provide for the family, to treat you 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 going to be. Many women view this kind of man to be a challenge or a mystery to 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 the shifting sands.
- Spontaneous – When I say he’s trustworthy, I don’t mean he’s so predictable that he’s boring. You want your husband to surprise you, but in positive ways. You also want a husband who doesn’t mind being surprised every once in a while–in a good way. Spontaneity is how you keep your marriage fresh, especially in the bedroom. While that surprise vacation to Tahiti is nice, spontaneous acts in a marriage don’t have to be that dramatic. A marriage is like a song with a monotonous beat. Even a slight change in the tempo breaks up the monotony. Hope your spouse understands the rhythms of romance.
- Not Jealous – One way many couples create passion is through jealousy and suspicion. Real or suspected infidelities and constant rituals to prove their passion and love for each other is what quickens their romance. This is excitement build on negative actions and emotions, though. It’s dramatic, but it’s also draining. The jealous lover is going to inspire fights and heartache, and a woman might view this like the drama in her romance novels and chick flicks. It’s doesn’t work 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 passion into the marriage in positive ways. The negative things are going to crop up anyway, so limit them as much as possible to those times when they can’t be avoided. Don’t go looking for trouble, because it’s going to find you soon enough.
- Open-Minded – The open-minded man can be rare, especially as the years move forward. Men tend to get set in their ways, so if you marry a man who is too opinionated, hard-headed, and close-minded at a young age, he’s going to be obstinate and completely unyielding when he gets older. These things are a habit and habits tend to get worse. Find a man who is open-minded about the right things: who listens to your opinion on things, who’s willing to admit when he’s wrong, who’s willing to forgive when you’re wrong, and who is willing to give you room to be yourself and find your own identity in the marriage.
- Willing to Listen – Married men often get to where they don’t listen to their spouse. They tune them out. So if you are dating a man who won’t listen to your opinion and hear what you’re saying, don’t marry him. Again, this is only going to get worse. It’s easy for married couples to speak past one another. It’s also one of the most frustrating things in the world for your husband to ignore you when you need to vent or when you just need a shoulder to cry on. Women need to talk about things at time, if nothing else to get some sympathy. If you have a man who listens, but doesn’t want to understand or sympathize, your marriage is going to suffer for it. Find a man who’s willing to listen and who doesn’t think you’re just something to be managed.
- Admits When He’s Wrong – The man who admits when he’s wrong and who’s willing to apologize (and mean it) is rare. People (including myself) 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 are wrong under any circumstances, you’re in for a very long and argumentative marriage. The only other option is to meekly agree with everything he says and believes, and that’s no fun.
- Forgiving – Another important skill is the ability to forgive. This requires a certain sense of mercy, a certain magnanimity, that many people don’t have. This is one of my great weaknesses. I tend to believe in a sense of right and wrong, and when I feel like someone has personally wronged me (especially if I feel they have gone out of their way to wrong me), I tend to close myself off from ever forgiving them. That trait has cost me several relationships over the years, when I think some issue is put in the past, but I end up having too long a memory for my own good. Forgiveness is often couched in terms of religion, but whether you are spiritual or not, the ability to forgive your spouse their failings is important. Nobody is perfect, so if a person makes a real effort to improve and make penance, forgiving that person 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 or family. He doesn’t want her to pursue any hobbies or pastimes, or watch any tv shows, that don’t match his arbitrary approval. He asks where she wants to eat, then find fault with their suggestions. However far this goes, the wife ends up living life in a box. She’s afraid to do anything or say anything of which he might disapprove, and therefore her options become fewer and fewer. Understand that controlling men tend to have a sense of inferiority that requires them to question loyalty and devotion, while confident men are willing to live with women who have strong opinions, a sense of self-worth, and individual lives. Another type of controlling man is the narcissist, but again, he wants you to subvert your needs and wants for his. Neither of these is healthy, so don’t get into a marriage with a controlling man. You might convince yourself you’ll be happy with him and nothing else, but people can’t find happiness in others. Only when they are happy with themselves are they truly happy. A controlling man assures you’ll never be happy with yourself.
- Maturity – Most of the traits I’ve discussed so far have one thing in common–the man has a certain level of maturity. Jealous, controlling men or men who can’t provide for their families are essentially children. You want a real man who’s big enough and has enough perspective to be in a mature relationship. Mature people make sacrifices on behalf of their family and the people they love. They are dependable and have learned a little something (wisdom) for all their years on the Earth. Many teenagers fall into the trap of mimicking maturity by aping the adults they see (alcohol, drugs, sex), not realizing that those are outward displays of the mature life. A mature adult is someone who acts in a rational, loving, and giving fashion to those they love–often against their selfish instincts.
- Kind and Gentle – You want your man to be kind and gentle. Women often like to feel secure by finding a man who is loud, aggressive, and masculine. It’s nice to have a man who stands up for himself and defends his people from loud and aggressive behavior. But you want a man who is kind and gentle by his very nature. Live your life with an unkind, abusive man and you’re living your life with terror. Some women find moments of solace in those marriages–exciting sex, the occasional kindness, the solace of the children–but they can never be truly fulfilled 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’t want to put your children into a dangerous and degrading situation, so find a man who is gentle with you and the kids.
- Loyal to the Family – Notice how a man acts around his family. If he’s loyal to the family he was born with, he’s more likely to be loyal to the family he creates. This isn’t always the case–men can have an inflated sense of family and still see their wife as an outsider. But if he seems to have no sense of respect for his mother, his father, and his siblings, he probably won’t be loyal and respectful to his wife and kids. Understand that some family units are just bad, and if you judge that it would be bad for him to maintain close ties with his family, you might cut him some slack in your evaluation. But understand that he’s never known what a stable family unit is, so he may not know how to act when you provide him with the proper family environment. Men can grow beyond the childhood environment they were raised in, but it’s tougher.
- Good Communication Skills – See if your fiance can correct and not accuse those around him, especially children. Eventually, this is the man who is going to be training your children how to live and act around other people. Your children are going to be profoundly influenced by this man, so see if he has the communication skills to be a good father. Some fathers only criticize, berating their children and destroying their self-esteem. Your children can grow up learning to be defensive about everything, or to be open, honest, and truthful. Every day–every moment–is instruction for the young child. They take in more than we ever imagine. So make certain your man is going to communicate to his children 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 would others, the difference isn’t going to be as stark as you think, most of the time. See if he likes children, is willing to play with children and give 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 nurturing influence at times. The more he puts into the children, the better developed and more well-rounded they’ll be. So if he makes a good uncle to his cousins, nieces, and nephews, then he’s likely to make a pretty good father.
- Considers Family Important – No matter what kind of family life he had as a child, test out his viewpoints on family in general and raising a family. A man who came from a loving family and feels like family is most important is best. But if you find a man who came from a broken home and a history of family acrimony, learn where he places the value in a family. You’ll often find a man like this craves the kind of family life he never had, that building a loving family is the most important pursuit in his life. If he seems ambivalent about having a family, if he is 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 importance of 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 guardian instinct with his family. You might think this goes without saying, but if a father isn’t interested in protecting his wife and kids from the worst 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 view a child as the friend they never had, but a father can’t be merely a child’s friend. The father has to take the long view, to see that their sons 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 living in bad neighborhoods to having bad friends to being exposed to corrupting influences. Another part of protecting the family involves making sure a child gets a good education, so that child isn’t open to the exploitation that often happens to the least educated among us.
- Enjoys Spending Time with Family – Most people get married with the assumption they’re going to build a family together. The marriage arrangement isn’t going to work very well if the father doesn’t enjoy spending time with the family and sharing in the child raising. In generations past, it was assumed the father would be the provider and the mother would be the nurturer–that should would (more or less) raise the kids. In the past couple of generations, it’s assumed that Mom and Dad are going to share in each duty. If the father assumes he’s going to make money while the mother is going to hold down a job, do the cooking and cleaning, and take care of the children, way too much of the burden falls on her. So you want a dad who’s going to enjoy time spent on family activities. If he spends all his time at work or with his friends, 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 with him. 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 develops real affection for them, whether it’s as a friend relationship or a kind of true kinship. At the very least, he should learn to respect them and show them respect. Relations between the son-in-law and the girl’s family are a two-way street, so if they make constant trouble or make it impossible for him to like, love, and respect them, be understanding. However the relationship with the family goes, the two of you need to see eye-to-eye. And even if things are difficult, but you want to maintain a family connection, he needs to accept your in-laws.
- Treats His Parents Well – This is a double game. You’ll have to accept and respect his family, as well. But even before you get to the wedding day, interactions with his family are important. See how well he treats his family–especially his parents–as a glimpse of how he might treat your parents. See if he respects the older generation. If he respects his parents, he’s likely to respect yours, as long as they are reasonable and respectful in their turn. But if he consistently shows a casual disregard and disrespect for his own parents, he’s got the lifelong habit of showing his elders a lack of respect. Again, this behavior may be colored by how they act and react, but I use “casual disregard” to mean he does this as an everyday operating procedure. See how he treats his parents and siblings when things are going well, when things are kind of tense, and when things aren’t going so well. This is a preview of things to come.
- Have Vision and Perspective – Even in the early 21st century, the man of the house tends to be the one with a vision for his family and the 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 to come. See if his plans and your plans coincide. You might have minor differences to sort out later, but you want to share a vision about the direction 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 type of spiritual life you’ll have, the type of education you want for your kids, and how you’ll discipline your kids. Besides vision, see if he has perspective–if he’s sober, rational, mature, and realistic in his approaches to marriage and parenting. If you have wildly different ideas about these things, you’re setting yourselves up for decades of controversy.
- Treats You Well – At the end of the day, perhaps the most important single factor in your marriage is whether he treats you well. Is he loving, respectful, helpful, and willing to share the burdens in a marriage? Does he listen to you, provide for your well being, defend you when you need defending, and give you sympathy when it’s your turn to need support? In the end, does he try to make you content, joyful, and fulfilled? If your husband does, your life together should be contended, joyous, and fulfilling. You can work through problems, but you need to know that your husband is on your side.
Characteristics of a Successful Husband
I’ve probably left out something essential, but these 25 qualities of a good husband are a good start when you’re trying to evaluate if he’s the one. If you’re a single man hoping to become good marriage material or a married man looking to improve his hubby skills, try to make these traits strengths of yours. Even if you consider these big weaknesses or you don’t have the background to be a natural at any of these life skills, you’re showing the desire to be a good husband. Skills can be learned and qualities improved, if you care enough to educate yourself.