In the 1950s, what constituted “wife material” was pretty basic compared to how it is now. “Perfect” wives were women who stayed home to take care of the kids, keep the house in order, and have dinner ready promptly at 6PM when her husband walked through the door. Women’s aspirations became second to fulfilling their “wifely duties.” It sounds terribly depressing, to be honest.
But, being that it’s 2015, so much has changed since then. What makes a woman a wife isn’t about being docile, submissive, and letting the man run the show. Thanks to the Women’s Movement, there is an equality that makes both men want to find their partner and not their, well, maid.
We talked to 11 men about what makes a woman “wife material.” This is what they had to tell us.
1. You love in equal measure.
“It just boils down to love and attraction. I don’t mean any kind of romantic ideal, but like, proper love, where you love them so much that even when you’re mid-argument and super angry you still make sure they take an umbrella to work because it might rain. Any person who loves you that much in equal measure, and doesn’t mind risking a sex-related hip fracture when you’re both in your 70s is definitely marriage material.”
2. You have insatiable intellectual curiosity.
“Basically, I need someone who will both challenge and complete me. I don’t want a fan or sycophant, nor do I want an adversary. The ideal woman will have an understanding of my strengths and weaknesses and exploit them not to injure me, but to make me better. She would also have an insatiable intellectual curiosity and big boobs. But in all seriousness, I don’t know that we need to have the perfect woman to qualify as marriage material. I know I don’t. All I need is that person who makes the concept of being with anyone else an exercise in idiocy.”
3. You accept without reservation.
“Total acceptance for who you are both the good and bad.”
4. You laugh.
“A sense of humor. That’s the most important thing a woman can have if I were to want to marry her. Of course I’d want her to be kind, genuine, adventurous and someone with whom I’d like to share my life but above all is sense of humor. Laughing and loving together is what makes a long-lasting relationship.”
5. You can cook.
“I know this is going to come off sexist, but it isn’t. I swear. That being said, wife material for me is a woman who can cook and cook well, like French pastry type well. Not because I want her in the kitchen but because I can’t cook to save my life but eating is a passion of mine. If her passion is to cook and mine is to eat then we can’t lose. I’d like to say once again that this isn’t me giving into gender stereotypes. Cooking and eating together is sexy. I guess I’m a regular old George Costanza.”
6. You challenge him.
“She has to challenge me to be my best self. That’s my main qualification. Also, I can’t marry someone who isn’t funny.”
7. You’re affectionate.
“Looking at my parents’ marriage there wasn’t as much emotional support as I think my mother needed from my dad. They fought too often and I never saw them, not once, show any sort of affection toward each other. Because of that, a woman who is affectionate and loving is someone with whom I want to grow old with. I don’t ever want my kids to wonder why mom and dad never hugged, kissed, or cuddled, like I always wondered. I want them to know we love each other and they were born from that love.”
8. You have your own life.
“In my mind, a woman with her own life is probably the coolest one to marry. And by ‘her own life’ I mean: her own career, her own set of friends, her own independent streak, her own dreams, and her own bunch of at least 15-20 vinyl records. This would certainly be a fair thing for a woman to want in a potential husband too, by the way.”
9. You don’t publicly embarrass.
“She doesn’t punk you in public in general but particularly in front of your friends. Bust chops? Okay. Disagree? Sure. Argue? Maybe. But if she’s wife material she’ll keep anything demeaning or embarrassing private.”
10. You love your past mistakes.
“I know this is cliché, but wife material for me is someone who loves the worst in me and is OK with all my screw-ups. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and have my fair share of regrets, so if she can love that stuff and not hold it against me, then I’d call that wife material.”
11. You are considerate.
“‘Wife material’ indicators can range from doing the wallet dance (thanks, but we’ll pay) or something sweet like making our bed after a sleepover. It’s so simple, but speaks to a level of consideration you don’t always get in some people who might feel a little too entitled to your chivalry.”