What Makes A Man Husband Material?

BY: - 27 Jan '11 | Home

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by Delano Squires
According to Urban Dictionary the term “wifey material” is a phrase used to describe a woman who possesses certain qualities that would make her a model wife. I’m sure many men would describe this type of woman as a perfect mix of style, substance, sass, and love””or at least respect””for sports. Aside from that, men appreciate her kindness, supportiveness,  and caring nature. She’s the type of woman who could turn a serial player into a one-woman man.

Urban Dictionary has no such definition for “hubby material,” however, and the definition for “husband material”"””a guy you would consider perfect enough to marry one day”””is so self-explanatory it’s almost laughable. Generally speaking, there’s relatively little dialogue about what makes a man husband material, aside from the standard responses that include some combination of appearance, stable employment and steady income.

A quick glance at some of the magazines and websites that cater to men serve as confirmation. There are entire sections dedicated to advice on careers, fashion, grooming, diet, exercise, and dating. Unfortunately, there is very little attention paid to the types of intangible character traits that women find desirable. This troubles me because I believe men can be much more in relationships than just protectors and providers.

This post is meant to inspire self-reflection and accountability. My question to the men who read it is the same one I often ask myself: What character traits are you cultivating that make you husband material? This question is often more difficult to answer than the ones we ask ourselves about the traits we find attractive in women.

Even when the discussion does focus on the qualities we believe women will find desirable, men tend to concentrate primarily on things that can be quantified (e.g. education, income, etc.). While these are all important, we should not neglect growth in other areas. A strong and healthy relationship requires a man to contribute more than just his intellect and income. Successful relationships require honesty, integrity, teachability, humility, patience, commitment, loyalty, and a number of other qualities that aren’t easily quantified. Therefore, it is important for men to cultivate these traits in every area of our lives, even during periods of singleness.

Advanced degrees and ambitious career aspirations say nothing of a man’s ability””or desire””to resolve conflict, practice forgiveness, or encourage his partner in  her professional endeavors.  Studies show that increasing numbers of women enter marriage on an equal, if not superior,  educational and economic footing as their husbands. This means that fewer women are choosing to marry solely for the purpose of ensuring their financial stability.  I did an informal survey of the women in my social circle and they overwhelmingly chose intangibles (e.g. faith, commitment, honesty, trustworthiness, responsibility, etc.) when I asked them to name their three most desirable traits in a man. The results were in stark contrast to media images that suggest the man who can shower a woman with expensive gifts is the man most worth having. Admittedly, my sample was not representative of all women, but I have no doubt that there are many other women who know that a successful relationship takes more than just deep pockets and surface level compatibility.

I once heard a preacher say that it is always a mistake to decide what you want to do before you decide who you want to be. His point was that our lives should be lived in a manner that prioritizes character over achievements. This principle is applicable to relationships as well. The type of husband a man becomes will be strongly influenced by the type of man he is, and ultimately the consequences of a lack of character development (e.g. infidelity, abuse, etc.) will be remembered far longer than his ability to pay the bills. As men we need to be sure we are just as diligent in becoming the right man as we are in finding the right woman. We should apply the same critical eye that we use to assess a woman’s culinary skills, style, and appearance to our own lives. Put simply, it’s time for each of us to put down the microscope and pick up the mirror.

Guys, what qualities do you possess that make you husband material? Ladies, what qualities, aside from income and education, do you believe make a man husband material?


Delano Squires is currently a graduate student in Social Policy at the George Washington University. His interests are contemporary African American culture and fatherhood, families, and child development. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Squires.

About the author

Delano Squires

Delano Squires is a blogger and public policy strategist in Washington, D.C. His primary interests are contemporary African American culture, fatherhood, and families. He is also a contributor to The Root.

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37 WordPress comments on “What Makes A Man Husband Material?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention What Makes A Man Husband Material? | Black and Married With Kids.com -- Topsy.com

  2. Nikki

    For me it is essential that a man have integrity, humility and be committed. These are far more valuable than the amount in his bank account. Needless to say his committment with God something that is a necessary foundation.

    Reply
    1. Demetria

      I totally agree with this comment. I also think having a friendship is a plus as well, this is a must starting off.

      Reply
  3. Nikki

    For me it is essential that a man have integrity, humility and be committed. These are far more valuable than the amount in his bank account. Needless to say his committment with God something that is a necessary foundation.

    Reply
  4. Esther B.

    He needs to be adaptable, have discernment, a communicator, be sensitive to his woman’s needs and put Christ first. I’m happy to be describing my man.

    Reply
  5. Mindy

    Faith in God (not superficial but genuine), integrity, honesty, trustworthiness & commitment are the qualities that make a man husband material. Being able to provide & protect are good but if you’re ready to call it quits when the hard times come then it doesn’t mean anything.

    Reply
    1. Sandy

      @ Mindy, Please say it again. When you call it quits because times are hard you are in essence saying that you don’t have faith in your spouse or in God to turn things around if you just hold on. More importantly, communication and sharing is essential. We all get discouraged and frustrated, but sometimes talking and expressing how stressed you are can cause your partner to step up. My husband wants to call it quits after 18 years. Needless to say, I am devistated.

      Reply
      1. fgs

        I am in a similar situation and am finding that I may be feeling mutual in his sentiments because it seems that he “doesn’t care” about anything (maybe depressed) and I just don’t have the energy to put into a relationship that the other person doesn’t care enough to have faith in…

        Reply
        1. T.

          Praying for you and your relationship. There are often things that are out of our control even in our relationships. I just pray that things we can do to help ourselves and our partners our not lost in our attempts justify our guilt. We blame ourselves when things go wrong or the other person is not what we need them to be. Seek help for yourself, encourage your partner to get and you never know how that might alter things in the relationship.

          Reply
    2. CoaCoaKure

      Mindy I like that you put “Faith in God (not superficial but genuine)”. I believe that when a man has a good (genuine) relationship with Christ everything else will fall in line.

      Reply
  6. Donna H.

    Great message; I find it interesting, though, that Urban Dictionary describes the term “wifey” as a model wife; however, Dictionary.com describes the term as an “informal” name for a wife…Because I have seen too many women being called “wifey” in a non-marital relationship, which means they are not reaping the benefits of a real marriage, I tend to lean toward the “informal” version. For more on this subject (which I realize is not related to the topic at hand, and I apologize), I can send you a note I wrote on my Facebook page with my take on it.

    Reply
  7. Simmonz

    As a man who feels and knows he has much to offer many women who are interested in intangible qualities as a husband and/or mate, what concerns me and baffles my imagination is the irony that such women many times don’t mean what they say and also seem not to know what it is they are really seeking even when they are motivated by quality. ( Quantitative Packaging) Looks, money, fame and position seem always a sure factor to succeed with all women initially especially as with some of our women of color. Doesn’t mean that somewhere down the line, if we can get that far, other qualitative factors don’t prevail in keeping them interested but you have to arrive there first to witness these attributes. I would love to see our women hanging in there long enough to become pleasantly surprised with a man without all that quantitative packaging appear interested first in a man that is low keyed, who can later surpass their expectations in both quantitative and qualitative attributes, if only they would first show some genuine interests in “who” he is rather that “what” he is. That’s what having a true conversation is for. I cannot begin to tell you how many women who have appealed to me with some soft gentle display of theirs showing their “inside” beauty. Men can see “that”, yet many a women persist in not putting out their best interior qualities ( minds and hearts) but rather put all their energies into their exterior, quantitative package (looks, dress, figures). Therefore, as a man what I bring to the table as a potential good husband or mate is the ability to appreciate and support a woman who is beautiful from the inside and can trust herself with that by not exploiting any of her outside packaging. For me that says quite a lot in describing who I am in general. Being more specific and inclusive of that I would have to list that I am very considerate but have a strong character and good values and morals, flexible, humorous, gentlemanlike, adaptable, understanding, christian and a strong vibrate believer in GOD and karma and living my life by that philosphy and guidelines, am knowledgeable, educated, industrious, compassionate as well as having plenty of passion and sensual desires. Skilled around the house with abilities to repair, clean and cook well enough to satisfy and impress a women. Love children and cantor to family values and events. Leader and provider yet can share and support joint decision making and responsibility. Like to think and say I am a liberated man; outgoing, love to travel, entertain, outdoor and nature yet content with being a home body and being cosy at times. Good dresser, sometimes out-going, sociable and community oriented and have a zest for the “good and finer things” in life.

    Notice I have not listed any attributes of packaging (looks, fame, income, position nor accomplishments) ? Everything I have stated has to do with with intangibles and with applying myself into who I want to be rather than what I am. It has much to do with efforts exerted towards working with and/or getting along with someone which are all from the heart and mind where I place more value on due to maturity and being comfortable with myself. Those are the things one cannot see immediately but have to do with getting to know the other more intimately by being attracted to something from the inside beauty of another and not some superficial appearrance.

    So not having a axe to grind I just like plenty of men I am sure , want to be seen as having qualities that endure and matter over time that women can feel relaxed and comfortable with to be themselves and grow with together to enhance them both and that has much to do with things unseen but yet to be discovered in the man’s hidden strengths and qualities rather than how he looks, what he wears, what he drives and how much he makes or who he is now or what he has doneand where he has been . More to do with where he is going and would they want to go along with him to get there. Sometimes the ride is just if not better than the destination.

    Reply
    1. Kennedy

      Mr. Simmonz, you have some valid points here. However I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to look good for yourself if not the rest of the world…after all that is where it all begins. Now if this is all you have to bring to the table as a woman then most definitely you are probably looking for someone who reflects you and they are only looking only at men for the quantitative packages (as you so eloquently stated). However there are most definitely women who are looking for men who are deeper than that, who can mentally stimulate us before anything else. I know personally that is what I’m looking for…if you are what you say you are than you are most definitely a catch. I hope that the right person finds you if you haven’t already found her because you will make someone extremely happy and you sound like you are deserving of being happy yourself. So good luck on your quest to finding that right woman who compliments you perfectly!

      Reply
  8. Pat Rice

    Very well put, Mr. Squires! I think you captured the essence of what a lot of women feel while dating and searching for the right person. I also think the advice you put forth can be applied to women too. We often see images of what every man wants, and rarely is there public emphasis put on the types of character traits you highlight in this piece. We could all stand to take a few more glimpses in that mirror.

    Reply
  9. Doune

    What makes a man husband material? Is it that once married he continues to ask God for guidance throughout the union and act on it? Or simply the acknowledgement before marriage that spiritual maturity must be allowed to happen during, especially when adversity is rife? In any case he who is not able to make provisions for improving his imperfect character may fall short, unless of course the other party takes it all in their stride, making sacrifice after sacrifice. Yet “long-suffering wife” does not (one suspects) make the list of ingredients those truly good marriages are made out of.

    Reply
  10. Roger Madison

    I think we all agree with the character traits that have been listed and expressed. Whether looking for a husband or a wife, these noble qualities won’t get an argument from intelligent people. I have been married for 44 years, and I reflected for a while on what has made our marriage an increasingly satisfying relationship for so long. There is one quality that I believe is the glue that binds us together. It is the word “covenant.”

    When I was a young boy growing up to be a man, my father set a simple, but very high bar — a man is as good as his word. If you said what you meant and meant what you said, then the basis of a trusting relationship was established, and it went far. When your words were followed by walking the walk, then you were recognized as a man of integrity. This is especially true in marriage.

    Marriage is based on promises and commitments that a man and woman make to each other that establish a covenant of trust between them. So, if young men are taught the value of integrity, and establish a pattern of being “as good as their word,” they will be recognized as good husband material.

    Playas don’t meet that standard. Deadbeat baby daddies don’t meet that standard. Men who cheat on their girlfriends don’t meet that standard. Men who are profane and disresptecful of women don’t meet that standard. Men who are good husband material treat the women they meet in the same way those women would want to be treated if they were their wives. If they are in a relationship with someone else, they treat the women they meet the same way they would expect their husbands to act when meeting other women — with total respect for the relationship that they are in. The demonstrated actions of entering and keeping a covenant relationship separate those men who are good husband material from the rest.

    Perhaps those days are long gone when fathers taught their sons these lessons. If so, the lessons must be learned from men of integrity. Then our young women will have better options to choose from when looking for husbands.

    Reply
    1. Baraktopian

      “Perhaps those days are long gone when fathers taught their sons these lessons.”

      With nearly 70% of black kids being born out of wedlock (Pew Research Study), sadly – those days are long gone because fathers are not in the households… which is a whole other topic in itself and I don’t want to digress, but the sad truth is that boys/men and girl/women lack the positive role models of healthy relationships.

      I count myself fortunate having grown up with parents who are still married, but I have dated men who haven’t, and it is sad…they are emotionally unavailable and have huge commitment issues…

      Reply
      1. jfc

        I have to agree and to take this a little further, I should unfortunately add that I am married to an East African (4 years now) and he has the same qualities that “non-husband material” possesses…He grew up with a mother and father who are still married today. He lies a lot. I have to “tell him” how to respect a woman (chivalry, etc.) and he goes out and drinks a lot (sometimes till u00a04am!!) with other single Africans who are younger. I trust he is not cheating or anything, so this image I paint may sound bad, but we did have cheating issues at an earlier stage of our relationship before marriage. I feel like whether a man is “husband material” or not direly depends on how much he actually loves the woman he is married to. By “loves” I mean how deeply does he care for this woman in a most respectful and faithful way. So, to sum up, yes, the lack of a father figure contributes, but these rappers and mainstream crap they call music is spreading these lost boys’ fatherless kids’ messages (of the disrespectful non-father/husband material image and values) to, yes, East Africa, where little catholic boys are eating it up like candy whether they had a stable upbringing or not.

        Reply
  11. Keeshab2002

    I believe a man that can overcome obstacles and still keep a positive attitude makes good husband material. Marriages go through so much struggle that positive energy from your man is definitely a plus. A man that makes a good friend, will often make a husband as well. Through friendship you can see other traits that are necessary like many mentioned above (humility, strong character, honors the other women in his life)…

    Reply
  12. Baraktopian

    I look at the term “wifey” as an insult actually, because it’s a step up from being someone’s babymamma – it’s just another manifestation of a lack of commitment.

    The phrase “a good man” is basically the equivalent of saying a man is “husband material”…so yes such a concept does exist for men.

    I think that the same qualities that make someone a good husband are also the things that make someone a good wife, in other words it’s about being a good spouse. A smart woman knows that all the outer stuff (looks, money) don’t really matter – it really is the content of your character. I can honestly say that I look beyond the superficial and really believe in loving someone for who they are, not what they have. I was raised to be self-sufficient, so I’ve never been impressed by shows of money (flashy guys are actually a turn-off). I love humble, honest, strong, hardworking men – of all colors ;)

    Reply
  13. amber

    a good husband must have a strong belief in God..i truly believe that he loves God he will love his wife with all his heart…second he must be able to communicate effectively in good times and bad and knows how to listen and be a leader

    Reply
  14. T. Rogers

    Intangible qualities like humility, trustworthiness and compassion are of supreme importance. And many other posters here have covered those. So I wont rehash that part. If I was ten years younger and just getting married and seeking advice I would want some functional advice to go with the transcendent. Taking a step further I would add these things:

    1. Foresight: The ability to think ahead and plan accordingly.
    2. Perspective: The ability to see things holistically and how our individual actions fit into the big picture.
    3. Emotional Control: Pretty much self explanatory. You cant be prone to extreme mood swings and anger.
    4. Reasoning Ability: Being able to come to sound conclusions through a process of weighing options based on risk, reward, and personal values.
    5. Communication Skills: This is in a category all by itself. But I am thinking specifically about being able to articulate your thoughts and conclusions to your wife and understanding hers. I even take it a step further and repeat back to my wife what I think she is telling me. And she can confirm or clarify.
    6. Connective Skills (related to communication): The ability to create personal bonds and nurture those bonds over time.

    With eight years of marriage under my belt these are just some of the things I feel are necessary for functioning in the role of a husband. There is how we carry ourselves, and then there is actually knowing how to function in a situation. These are the thing I find myself having to use on a day to day basis to actually do the job of being a husband and a father. Id like think I have become pretty competent at each thing listed. However, I still have a lot of room for improvement.

    Reply
  15. GeeGee4

    Prior to my second husband, I had a list of things that I wanted in my next husband… I am here to say, be careful of what you ask for because you just might get it….lol I asked for a man who knew God and go to church but what I should have said is a man who have a relationship with God, being a Christian.. This is just one example but I have learned the hard way that I will never have a list again. I will just pray to God for HIM to send me what He desires for me to have because He knows me inside and out. Trusting in God to pick my mate should have been the Only thing on my list…

    Reply
    1. fgs

      Amen. I wonder if I may have the perfect husband after all. What may not be right is me. Sometimes I just think women don’t know WHAT they want. We get strong messages from men of what they think we need, the media tells another story, our hearts another (which are altered by hormones), friends another, and ultimately your original family upbringing and other families you may have been exposed to. I don’t know what is right from wrong any more in a marriage. If feel I am pinned down to a street with several intersections and I am being run over!!!u00a0

      Reply
  16. CoaCoaKure

    Delano, you hit the nail on the head!!! I totally agree with characteristics you mentioned, most importantly I believe faith is important. Having an intimate relationship with Christ teaches a man how to have a great relationship with others not just a potential spouse. I am currently separated from my husband and personnally I don’t want to be in another relationship with a man whom I can’t witness his spiritual fruit. I believe Christianity helps to develop all the other important characteristics a man needs to be a great husband and father.

    Reply
  17. Mee8kee

    VERY good read – not because I’m single, would like to get married (@ the ripe old age of 43 or because I need abase for more round-table discussion on the subject; but, because it is an article written by a man, directed to men, nevertheless, engaging us THAT I COULD wholey UNDERSTAND and agree with! Thank you Delano Squires for good representation and presentation! Much appreciated!

    Reply
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  19. Sulanka

    I am not yet married, but hope to be in the near future, The advice and opinions voiced here are really helpful in me gearing towards that future part of my life.

    Reply
  20. Jennice

    One thing I look for in a man is how he handles failure:does he give up or does try again? I’m a go-getter and I want that quality in my man.

    Reply

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