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Good Characteristics to Look for in a Father and Husband

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

When done right, fatherhood and marriage are full-time jobs that require constant learning and adjustment, according to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center’s article entitled “Man-Up Men! Be the Best Husband and Dad You Can Be!” If you are looking for great husband and father material, some characteristics are obvious in a man who has not yet become a husband and father, and others will not appear until he begins that experience.

Shining Character Traits

Look for a man who is dependable, honest, compassionate, playful and industrious, suggests relationship consultant and licensed marriage and family therapist, Athena Staik, Ph.D., in a Psych Central article, “The Top Ten Most Endearing Qualities of Fathers.” These character traits will appear before he is a husband and father. He should meet his obligations with a sense of pride and responsibility. He should treat those around him with respect and care for their physical and emotional health. He should also believe in having a good time, and possess an ability to enjoy life and laugh at himself instead of taking any bumps in the road too seriously.

Hands-On Involvement

As a husband and father, the ideal man should believe in hands-on involvement -- getting dirty and tackling what needs to be done, even if it’s changing diapers or mucking out the bathroom. The man you seek should understand that it takes two parents to raise a child and build a marriage. He should have the ability to care for his wife because he loves her and because he understands that it will make a more stable family for his children, according to social worker Robert Taibbi in a “Psychology Today” article entitled “Fathers & Sons: How to Be a Great Dad.”

Dads Balance Moms

Men and women are different, and their differences often help balance marriage and home. A dad tends to enjoy playing with the kids, and isn’t afraid to discipline in ways that differ from a mom's tendencies. He tends to be lateral in his thinking, focusing on facts, logic and accomplishing things that define his role, while his wife is more relational and concerned with feelings and nurturing, according to relationship expert Dr. Gary Smalley in his book, “Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships.” He can focus on teaching the kids skills, such as changing tires, car maintenance, home repairs and reading maps. That doesn’t mean that Mom can’t do these things, but she could teach other skills and leave these to Dad. He can carry the heavy stuff, open jars with stuck lids, and teach little boys to urinate standing up.

School of Life

Life is a learning experience that requires positive role models, and every child should expect his dad to be one of the best, according to Taibbi. He should teach his children how to negotiate and problem-solve with their mom, respect others, live a life of integrity, and succeed in life. He should demonstrate the value of an apology when he is wrong and accept one when he is right. And an added, priceless bonus: when his kids begin their families, they will likely follow his example.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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