Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Red Tricycle.

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Whenever I say that my husband isn’t perfect, my dad reminds me that none of us are (just ask my mom). I did choose better with my second marriage, though. Yeah, I still missed the mark on a couple of things (still not independently wealthy). When I talk to my four daughters about choosing a man to be their partner in life, or as I mentor young people, personally or professionally, I can list many actions a good partner will do. Actually, many items would apply in a conversation with my sons, too (minus 5, 6 and 9 maybe).

Ten Areas Where My Husband Scores Very Well:

1. Listen to me during our morning/daily talks – yes, he gives advice, some of which I follow, but more importantly, he listens to what is on my mind, giving me a sounding board and a suggestion or two to consider.

2. Support me in front of the kids (even if we privately disagree) – nothing undermines a parent’s authority more than another parent. He says no when I say no (and we can talk about the details privately). He makes the kids respect me and my word and I do the same for him.

3. Respect me as a person and the fact that I have an opinion (that counts) – not that he has never said, “That is stupid,” but he accepts that we each have different strengths with real value.

4. Support the kids (steps included) in both words and actions – when he married a lady with four kids, he never skipped a beat. Sometimes it means giving me time and space to do things with my “big kids” and sometimes it means attending events or helping me be in two places at once (by being in one place for me).

5. Maintain my car (without me having to ask) – this may sound sexist, and probably is, but who cares? My husband should check my tires, fluids and whatever else so I can gas it and go. Don’t bite – it’s just my opinion (and of course, I am right).

6. Work, every day (except Sundays) – yes, work. He may not be college educated, but he is very intelligent, hard-working and dedicated to his responsibilities to us. I work too, but he brings home the bacon.

7. Deposit his paycheck in our joint account – work is nice, but it’s money that pays the bills. He listens when I say what we need and he doesn’t overspend or waste his money.

8. Discuss large purchases or family decisions in advance – we are partners. We also disagree sometimes. When it comes to spending big, neither of us would jeopardize our family finances for our own gain.

9. Do the stuff on my Honey-Do list (without threat of bodily injury) – Guys should be handy, to some degree. I am happy to say my husband can build stuff, carry stuff, fix stuff and even though some items have been lingering there for months, he has completed the vitals. Next on the list: back deck and stairs and new back door, then a new stove and fridge!

10. Cook family meals a couple times each week, or at least help – I’m a pretty good cook, but let’s face it, some days are busier than others. In our house, most nights dinner is served by 5pm. Mondays and Wednesdays are later due to gymnastics and after-school club. I love that my husband can make a real (and tasty) dinner on the nights when I could use an extra set of hands (breakfast in bed would be sweet, though).

A few things I wish he would do:

1. Come to church with us – I should have made it one of the “Rules and Regulations of Our Relationship,” but at least he prays with us at dinner and bedtime. A girl can’t have everything, I guess.

2. Finish the Honey-Do list (but then I would think of something new) – he has built our entire house in the past six years, so I should probably give him a bit of credit. I would love to see the light-fan assembly actually installed in my bathroom (instead of see it gather dust on the closet floor).

3. Learn to pay the bills – when I had a medical emergency a couple of years ago, I made a list for him, but he has yet to need to use it, or take the time to learn how I make all that magic happen with the checkbook. I have updated my list of computer websites and usernames and have a copy handy in case he has to learn on the fly, though. I don’t mind being the one in charge of writing checks, but it is a skill every husband should be able to do without panic or late charges assessed.

It may be too late for you, but even an old dog can learn new tricks, so if your guy isn’t meeting expectations, take baby steps to get him there. Every man needs a supportive and smart woman to show him what to do as much as every woman needs a supportive and smart man to say, “Wo-man, I love you!” Your list of what makes the perfect guy may look different from mine, but when all is said and done, college degrees, bank accounts, good looks and material possessions mean nothing. Love, respect, support and dedication rule! Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but some definitely stink more than others. Happy fishing!

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