Seven Attributes that Can Help Make a Husband Worth the Trouble. (A note to my daughter)

People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.

Erma Bombeck

A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.

Michel de Montaigne


Sweetheart, you are at an age when the possibility of you finding the “man of your dreams” will become more and more of a reality over the next several years. I know that once you are involved emotionally, it will be hard to offer you any advice that may seem to be negative or non-supportive. For this reason, allow me to suggest the following seven “potential husband” attributes that I think you should look for as you filter through the muddy swamp full of men to find the one that sparkles for you.

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I hope he is handsome but I am more interested in him being happy with who he is. “Tall, dark and handsome” is much less important than “self-confident, content and happy”. If he is the latter, he will have a solid base from which he can grow his love for you. If he is comfortable with himself in the purest of ways…if his self-confidence is not based on other’s opinions, he will be able to love you in ways that reach far beyond the “tall, dark and handsome” mannequin in the window. His self-confidence will manifest itself daily because even when things get tough, he will not second guess himself in choosing you as a wife or in his ability to take care of you.

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Industrious Hard Worker

We hope he is a man of means but I am more interested in him being industrious and a hard worker. If he comes to you penniless but is a working man, he will be a good provider and you will call your poverty a blessing. It will be temporary and you and he will work yourselves out of it. The weary bones and muscles that you will endure together as the decades pass by will be a balm to your souls. I am sure that he will be able to take care of you and your family if he is industrious and a hard worker. An additional benefit you will receive if he is industrious will be that your children will have a better chance of learning how to work and how to relate effort to outcome and expectations. You must make sure that your children learn the difference between caring for the needy and enabling the lazy. A husband who works hard for his family will help towards this end immensely.


Respects You

We hope he loves you and we will know it by how much he respects you. The cuddly romantic displays of love are nice but not impressive to your mom and me. We want to know that he respects you as a person and appreciates the wisdom, intellect, and opinions that we have spent our lives helping you develop. If he respects you he will not try to dominate you. If he respects you his love will always stay vibrant and will survive the tough times that are sure to come. If he respects you he will love you as a person not just as his wife or mother of his children. If he respects you he will defend you and your honor and your passions and will always stand amazed at his good fortune to be your husband.

Gary photos 039

Committed to You

We hope he loves us but we are most interested in him loving you and being committed to you more than to us or to his own family. We hope he is a great son-in-law but we will be content if he is a great father and husband. We will see you at family gatherings and vacations and look forward to visits with the grandkids…but you will belong to each other and that will become the most important bond in your life. Decisions on where to raise your kids and how to raise your kids will be a joint decision between the two of you. Though you may get advice and counsel from the outside, a partner that is committed to finding the solutions that are comfortable for both of you will create more peace and harmony in your relationship.


Makes You Smile

We hope he makes us laugh but will be happy if he makes you smile. There is no reason to live your marriage in agony and stress. Those moments will come but they should be fleeting. I hope that he loves life. I hope that he is kind to you and to those around him. I hope that you enjoy being around each other and that laughter rings throughout your home even if you find entertainment in laughing at your own mistakes and foibles. I hope that you enjoy just being with him…that a car ride across the country with him would be entertaining to you because of his ability to create happiness amidst the misery. A smile on your face is worth far more than anything that money can buy.


A Man of Faith

I hope he is a man of faith. He does not have to have all of the answers but the questions should make him humble not cynical. It is a cop-out to quit on faith because you have questions that are unanswerable. It will take a man of deeper understanding to ponder the universe and to know that there is something bigger and more important than him. This will allow him to appreciate you in a more noble sense as he understands that he is not the center of the universe.


He Challenges You

I hope that he treats you like a princess but doesn’t do everything for you. It will be awesome if he opens the door for you but in things that really matter, I hope he allows you to be challenged. When you are challenged you grow and you will find contentment and satisfaction your whole life when you are growing. I hope he makes you bait your own hook and balance the checkbook. I hope you take turns managing the family budget and household finances. Sweetheart, be a princess and a giver not a spineless royal pain who takes and takes while always expecting more. I hope he demands the best of you without taking away your ability to try and fail and try yet again. The balance between expecting the best from each other while still allowing each other to be human is a talent that both of you should develop.


I am a man and I know men. I know what our weaknesses are and what our tendencies are. I know that my son-in-law will not be perfect…but I do want him to be capable of improving and growing because you will make him better if he lets you. He can and should be your best friend and the person that adores you the most in this world because when I am gone from this world, he will be just that. However, yours should be a mission of patience and love because it is not easy to get rid of our manly rough spots all at once. In fact, I think you may want him to keep a few of those rough spots, even if it may seem annoying to you at times. It may take years, but if he has the basics of self-confidence, is a hard worker, has respect for you, is committed to you, makes you smile and loves life,  is a man of faith, and allows you to be challenged, you will have the foundation for a great life together.


I love you sweetheart. You are a treasure to your mom and me.  And if, as fate would have it, you bring home a man who possesses none of the attributes I have described, know that we love you… and know that we will love him also…and we will love him as long as you can endure being around him and until such time that you throw him back into the swamp. If that time comes you will know it because he is just no longer worth the trouble. Use your brain in addition to your heart as you select the man with whom you will raise the next generation of our family.

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30 thoughts on “Seven Attributes that Can Help Make a Husband Worth the Trouble. (A note to my daughter)”

  1. loved it! As always, this is very well thought out. It made me think of ways I can be that guy for my spouse…thank you.

  2. Love it, I’m lds from England. My husband and I are new parents to a baby boy and you have expressed in words many of my feelings on how I hope to raise my son. Thank you for posting!

  3. Wow! Gary, your words have yet amazed me again. I feel enlightened by your outlook on the next chapter of your daughters life. I too will share this with my grown daughters, and son who may not totally appreceiate it now, but one day may have a daughter of his own.

    1. True. Although, it is hard for a parent to watch a daughter who is heading to a direction that does not look good. I recently told my daughter, who still lives with me at 27yo, how her future is at stake with the guy, also 27yo, she’s dating–he can’t hold down a job and fails almost anything he gets into. He got fired a few times, or gets bored and quits. He still lives with his mom who infuses money into his account to pay for his gas, etc. He said his mother told him that it’s ok, he can just get a job at Marshall’s, or McDonald’s. But he even fails that. My daughter is aware of this but says that “he is trying”; they have been dating for 2 1/2 yrs. I hear from my other daughters that she plans to look for an apartment so that they can move in together within this year. While it pains me to imagine this, i also know that my daughter needs to move out from the nest and be independent. I say, the sooner the better, so that hopefully, it will make the guy work harder, or if it turns out that my daughter becomes too stressed because she ends up paying for everything, she can come back home and still has time to recover. I hope.

  4. Oh, my gosh, best ever!!! Had to laugh out loud when you noted that the romantic displays do not impress you!!!! Yeah, that is for sure. Such great advice from such a loving father. I can see the tears rolling now as she takes that next wonderful step and follows such great advice and example from loving parents.
    Love ya,

  5. As a man looking to one day inherit another man’s daughter, I appreciated this more than you know. Thank you for speaking candidly and powerfully.

  6. You’re not far from the kingdom of God with this. I would say “Courageous Man of Faith,” which means he will be firm and faithful to his convictions. That will mean his convictions will have to come from the Holy Scriptures.

  7. Such an elegant, loving, absolutely perfect hope and prayer for your daughter, Thanks so much for standing up for being a good father to our children even after they have left the nest.

  8. Great Father & Mother, Great Family, Great kids…..I should have paid you to babysit all those years (my husband and kids thank you) … the Larson family!

  9. This is perfect. What great counsel to give your daughter, and great counsel to give son’s on what they should strive for in their own lives. I am currently writing a series (to be published as a book later) on “Bullet Proofing Your Marriage”. I would love to be able to quote you in the book. Would that be possible?

  10. Thank you for this. I’m sharing with my Young Women! I was very blessed to find (and marry) the kind of man you described. That decision has made for a happy life and happy family.

    And, I just have to say, I have a mission picture much the same as the one at the end of your post. 🙂

  11. When reading what to look for I sadly found that I felt my former husband possessed none of these traits. When we were dating he seemed to, but married life proved differently. I guess you could say I threw him back into the swamp.

    1. In all fairness, he probably possessed some of them to a degree, such as being a hard worker at his job, but there wasn’t enough there to feel like a genuine priority to him. Probably more info than I should publish!

  12. I’ll be sharing this one with my own daughters who are 17 and 19 . . . and let me just say – one of my favorite things to share with them is “it takes a mighty good man to be better than none.”

    Dear hubby didn’t understand that for a long time – felt that it was a slam; but as we’ve been married for 23 years (mostly happily!) I think I’ve finally gotten across to him that I consider him a “mighty good man” or we wouldn’t still be together!

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