Is he a keeper? What to look for in the man you marry

Finding the right one to marry is the most important thing you’ll ever do. Your future happiness depends on it. Here are some guidelines to help you in your search.

From the earliest ages girls have ideas about the kind of man they want to marry. They play house and dream of their future as a wife and mother. Remember back when you were a little girl. Did you ever think:

I want to marry a man who insults me.

I want to marry a man who is lazy and can’t hold a job.

I want to marry a man who gets drunk and hits me.

I want to marry a man who is mean to our kids.

You get the idea. No one grows up wanting that kind of a nightmare man in her life. And yet too many girls and women during their dating years fail to pay attention to actions and attitudes that are indicators of the very things they don’t want in the man they marry. So to you young women, and all dating women, here’s a piece of advice: “Date men with qualities that will make a good husband.” Your response may be, “Don’t be silly. I’m not looking for a husband. We’re just going out to have fun.”

Well, to that, here’s another truth you need to know: people marry who they date. Period. They don’t just get swooped up by a quality-loaded knight in shining armor who comes riding in on his white horse and magically says, “Marry me, my princess.”

Be on guard

As fun as that might sound, you single women — teens and beyond — need to be on guard and associating with the right kind of men throughout your dating years. It fact, it takes some honest-to-goodness conscientious planning and preparing. You need to know what it is you really want in a future husband, then date men with a majority of those qualities. Of course, no one will be the perfect catch, but there are some who are far more perfect for you than others.

Here are a few important qualities to look for in your future husband

1. He respects women

Watch him at school, at work, or wherever he is. Notice how he treats women. It will be a strong indicator of how he will treat his future wife. If you have the chance to see him with his mother, notice how he treats her. If he is respectful and honors her, he’ll most likely do the same to his spouse.

2. He’s honest

If he isn’t honest with his friends and fellow workers you can be sure he will not be honest with his spouse. Honesty is at the heart of a successful marriage. It’s based on trust. Does he keep his word to you and others? If the answer is yes, that’s a huge quality.

3. He’s a gentleman

A gentleman is one who cares about the women he is with, whether he’s their date or otherwise. He simple treats them with courtesy. He opens doors for women, helps them carry heavy objects, compliments them. Basically, it means he treats everyone, including men, with gentleman-like concern. Listen to the language he uses. Gentlemen do not lace their conversations with cursing or filthy talk.

4. He’s not a drinker

At parties, you can see how he behaves. If he’s one who doesn’t think he’s having fun unless he’s inebriated, don’t date the dude. This kind can bring endless grief to a spouse and his future family. You never want to put yourself in such a vulnerable position. People who refrain from drinking will never become an out-of-control drunk.

5. He’s a man of faith

It matters that your future husband believes in God and goes to church. Too many don’t think this is important anymore, but it is. One reason is your future family will undoubtedly go through difficult times, such as sickness, lack of money, loss of a loved one, etc. All of these will be much easier to face with a companion who joins you in prayer, seeking God’s help. Also, attending church will help you raise honest, decent, caring children. And everyone needs all the help they can get in that area.

6. He’s a hard worker

Look for a man who knows how to work and is not afraid of digging into a challenging job. This kind of man will be the kind who wants to provide for his family. And he won’t be afraid to get his hands dirty in a little yard work, either.

7. He’s not a player

Sadly, some men are far too eager to jump in bed with the women they date. Find a man who is willing to wait for the words “I do.” This is a man you can trust to be faithful to you throughout your marriage.

8. He knows how to have fun

Marriage needs to be filled with fun. Marry a man who knows how to join you in this. He needs to be willing to go out and enjoy being with other couples, trying new adventures, and just being silly with you sometimes. It will make your marriage more resilient and enjoyable.

Your part in the deal

You have the greatest chance of marrying a man with these qualities and others that matter to you if — and it’s a big IF — you are willing to develop all of those same qualities in yourself. It’s a basic truth that if he has these qualities you can bet he’s looking for a woman who also possesses them. So, in essence, you need to be respectful to other women and to men, be honest, be a lady, don’t drink, nurture your faith in God, be a hard worker, don’t be a player, and know how to have fun.

There’s a future out there, and it can be filled with happiness. Be smart as you enjoy dating and finding that just-right guy for you. Here are sometips on how to have more fun in your marriage.

Gary and Joy Lundberg

Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer. Together they author books on relationships.