We live in a world that can often seem superficial, so it's not surprising that when we think about what we find attractive, physical qualities often come to mind. Even when we move on to personality traits, we often think of seemingly superficial ones like sense of humor. Studies often show that a sense of humor is ranked top of the traits women find attractive in men.
Is this really true? Humor is certainly attractive when you're dating, and it's a fairly useful quality in a husband too. With all the things life will throw at you, being able to laugh in the face of adversity is a desirable quality. There are other things that make a man good husband material, though, and many of them are character traits that you have to dig a little deeper to find.
Trust is essential in any relationship, making honesty an attractive quality in a future husband. In an article on Unwritten, Stephanie Tate even suggests that when women say they like men with a sense of humor, this may be connected to a need for honesty. As she puts it, humor is "a completely genuine, involuntary reaction to a situation. What could possibly be more honest than a person caught up in a moment of unrestrained joy?"
No one likes a braggart, a show-off, or a sore loser, and you certainly don't want to commit to a lifetime of dealing with these traits. The ability to be genuinely humble in a wide variety of situations is a sign he's a keeper.
I know, I just stressed how important humility is, but you can have too much of a good thing. It's hard to get the balance right, but the perfect mix of humility and confidence is always desirable, in both men and women.
Self-awareness is one of the things we should probably all develop to prepare ourselves for a good marriage. Self-aware people deal with conflict better, take responsibility when needed and make better decisions in every area of life.
Kindness, empathy and compassion go a long way. This is a great example of how deeper qualities can be more important than a sense of humor. Sometimes a kind word or gesture will do more to cheer and comfort you than all the joke-cracking in the world.
There are few things more attractive than a man who truly respects women. You know you're in a mutually respectful relationship when you're able to listen to each other, appreciate each other's differences and adapt your behavior to allow for your partner's ideas, values and preferences.
Being able to respectfully disagree is also vital in a world where you're never going to agree on everything.
The simple ability to listen is a hugely underestimated trait. If your man gives you his full attention, truly listens to you and takes on board what you have to say, that bodes well for your future marriage.
In a world fast advancing towards gender equality, there's an argument that chivalry is either dead or no longer relevant. If women want to be equal, we can't expect men to open doors and pull out chairs, or generally take care of us.
Chivalry may or may not be dead, but manners never go out of style. Being polite and considerate are traits we all need in our husbands. If you're still wondering if chivalry and equality are incompatible, Lulu Chang does a great job of explaining how they can coexist in this article.
If loyalty is a desirable trait in friends and family members, it's even more important in a potential husband. Be aware of how loyal spouses treat each other, so you can spot if your potential mate is naturally inclined towards loyalty.
Loyalty tends to grow over time, of course, but acting in a disloyal way early on in the relationship should definitely raise a red flag.
If only more men knew how attractive it is when they wash dishes, or even better, cook dinner. There are still men who think this shows some kind of weakness, whereas most women think it shows competence, respect and consideration.
Over time, most couples fall into a routine where some chores are "his" and some are "hers." That's fine, but truly awesome husbands will still surprise you occasionally by doing something you thought you'd have to do, out of pure thoughtfulness.
No one is perfect, of course, but if you've found a man with a good mix of these characteristics, he may well be a keeper.