Just like no two women are looking for the exact same qualities in a husband, most men have a different set of attributes that they say would make someone an ideal partner. The qualities that anyone is looking for in a husband or wife are often greatly influenced by their upbringing—be it similar to or different than the examples of marriage that they were exposed to as children. These qualities may change over time, but according to the men we talked to—many of whom have been married the majority of their lives—most of the traits they initially deemed important are ones they say their now-wives possess.
An intense curiosity and passion for life is what Mark Stevens, love advisor and author of "Evidence of Love," was looking for when he first met his now-wife of 43 years. "The ideal mate for me has always been someone who hang glides through life, throwing caution to the wind, and who joins with you wholeheartedly in the celebration of the years you spend together," he says. "Unless one has courage and curiosity and a carnival-like whimsy, they are unwilling or unable to hold your hand and jump enthusiastically into the great unknown."
Religion was of the utmost importance when it came to the qualities Damon N., of Los Angeles, was looking for when he met his now-wife of 20 years. "My wife had to be a woman who believed in God and spirituality, so that we could be on the same path and page when it came to spiritual matters," he says. "Also, I desired a wife who possessed an upbeat, energetic, and happy personality." Lastly, he explains that he was looking for someone who would be both supportive of his endeavors and challenge him to grow and excel in all aspects of life. As it turns out, the person he was looking for was right in front of him.
For Robert S., of Tempe, Arizona, looks didn't matter nearly as much as what his spouse would possess on the inside. "My wife happens to be beautiful and sexy, but when I met her, I was most enthralled with her sense of humor," he says. "She not only got my jokes, but I realized that we think alike, are both compassionate and caring and are interested in the same things." In other words, compatibility was key for Robert.
The qualities Monte D., a licensed counselor in the Orlando, Florida, area, looked for in a wife 36 years ago are the ones he still appreciates today, which are personal growth, adventure, someone who understands him, and who is great with people. "Personal growth is important because too many people get comfortable and therefore stagnant in life," he explains. "As I understand life from nature, it is a continual growing process and I think people need to do the same." A sense of adventure was critical for him, since he is a self-proclaimed risk taker by nature. "I needed someone who will go on adventures with me, and I'm proud to share that so far my wife and I have been to five continents and 40 states and want to continue our adventures until we reach them all."
Caleb B., certified personal trainer and health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, looks for many qualities in a wife, but the three that stand out the most to him are affection and dependability. "Whether it's holding hands, leaving a cheesy voicemail, or just generally cheering me up when I'm down, there's something to be said for a wife who can tune into more than just the physical needs of her husband," he says. In the dependability category, Caleb explains that he's mostly looking for someone who is trustworthy. "This is more than just being somewhere when she says she will be, but contrary to popular belief men cannot 'hold' the full weight of a relationship and family," he says. "As the saying goes, 'Behind every great man, is his wife.'"