Does your relationship have what it takes for the long haul?
In the 1950’s and 1960’s most women were housewives and depended on their spouse to support them. Family life was very different then compared to what’s expected from today’s modern marriage.
A “good husband” needed to support his family, so his earning power was more important than today, given the realities of two income modern households. Should women still look for the same type of man our mothers and grandmothers looked for?
Whether you’re in a relationship already or searching for the right person to say “I Do” with, knowing how to assess your partner’s potential as a possible spouse for a blissfully satisfying marriage, is critical. So, what are the updated standards for a “good husband” these days? Are they the same for everyone?
Research tells us that the following 6 characteristics are essential to creating a happy modern marriage that lasts:
1. Physical Attraction
2. Truly choosing the relationship (rather than saying “I do” out of obligation or fear of being alone).
3. Sharing fundamental values, beliefs, interests, and goals.
4. The ability to express anger clearly and directly (thus resolving differences through communication and compromise).
5. Experiencing laughter, fun, pleasure with each other.
6. Genuinely supporting each other’s activities, interests, and careers.
If you break these down into things to look for in a man, it’s relatively easy to make your own list (or, a “Man Plan.”)
What does he look like? How emotionally stable is he? Do you really want someone who is the walking wounded or clingy? A good husband needs the strength to stand on his own feet and still prop you up when necessary.
The third item on the above list — shared fundamental beliefs — are KEY to a strong marriage. While opposites attract, you’ll drive each other crazy if a “saver” marries a “spender,” or a free spirit marries an authoritarian type. As a divorce attorney, I can’t impress upon you enough that couples I work with are almost always those who are basically incompatible. REALLY, really explore this area before you marry (this questionnaire is a great start!).
The ability to express anger, disappointment, and frustration in a healthy way is so important.
Telltale signs to look out for are explosive outbursts, sulking if he doesn’t get his way, and/or not taking your opinion seriously. A good husband is a stand up guy who has your back and doesn’t act like a spoiled baby who takes up all the oxygen in the room. A modern relationship is equal and balanced. Some people are not capable of sharing and those are the very people you should avoid.
Your “Man Plan” should also address point number five. What do you like to do? What is your idea of fun? It’s somewhat tragic to see couples who don’t enjoy doing things together because their interest are so different. A lady who needs to stay in a good hotel is not going to find happiness with someone who loves camping outdoors. Be as detailed as possible when making your list. A good husband should enjoy doing the things you enjoy, otherwise you’ll be off in separate directions.
Having a sense of humor is vital. People who take themselves too seriously or can’t relax and play are a drag for those who are fun-loving and sociable. Everything comes back to basic compatibility. There are serious studies that show marriages based on love alone aren’t a good basis for a marriage. The more you have in common, the better off you (and your relationship) will be.
Supporting each other’s interests and careers is a more critical factor, than being “in love” — an emotion that comes and goes over time.
I know, call me a kill joy but when it comes down to day-to-day life together, things like being able to have a “fair fight,” shared interests and activities, common goals and outlook on life are way more important than that initial hot rush of being in love.
Not everyone is a fan of making lists. It may feel odd putting what you’re looking for in a husband down on paper, but if you don’t know what you are looking for how are you going to know when you find it? Remember the old adage: “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Then, start working on that “Man Plan!”