What is it men are REALLY looking for when it comes to love and marriage?
We think we have an idea of what the "perfect" woman is, but it seems like no matter what any of us do, we are constantly falling short of that mark.
And you can't exactly ask this question when they dump you. You just kind of have to hope it all works out and you meet the marriage checklist of his expectations.
I may sound jaded but I was pretty sure I knew what I'd find on this list when I sat down to read through the mountain of replies.
I felt pretty sure that looks would rank as the number one quality all men sought out in their marriage partner.
But it turns out that most men aren't looking for just a pretty face. Not by a long shot.
They had a lot of insight to share about how they picked their wives.
For some, it was about so much more than some arbitrary list, it was about the individual.
"Someone who genuinely likes me instead of some checklist of qualities that I managed to get a pass on."
Other men reported that the decision to marry almost wasn't conscious, but a result of time, interpersonal chemistry and that ineffable feeling of connection.
"My wife loves me for who I am. It wasn't about who she thought I could be, or who she thought she could make me into, but just wanted to be with me. Despite all my flaws and weird habits she still wanted to be with me. Even with all of her flaws and weird habits, I still wanted to be with her. Sometimes, things just click together, and it's not something you realize right away. I probably didn't start to think about marrying my wife until after we were dating for a year. I've now known her for over 10 years, and our 8 year wedding anniversary is coming up this fall."
Some men pointed out that while a marriage is a work, your feelings for your partner shouldn't be.
"Maybe it's just a male perspective but things that have an emotional basis, like romantic relationships, should be simple. If you have to work to justify being with someone you probably shouldn't be with them."
For other men who responded, the idea of marriage wasn't even in the equation. It was only when they met a woman whose life plan didn't send them running that they knew they were ready to take that next step.
"I think my marriage has worked because I wasn't actually looking for a wife - I just happened into one. She was the most interesting girl I ever met, she was smart and attractive and mostly nice, and I feel in love naturally. She said she wanted kids and to be married, and somehow that didn't scare the hell out of me."
Some men revealed that they need to be with a woman who isn't afraid to challenge them, a woman who understands that fighting isn't just something that HAPPENS in a relationship, it can actually make your marriage that much stronger.
"I want someone that I can argue with (and who will argue with me), without it turning into a fight. Someone that can call me on my BS when it matters, who isn't going to flip out if I call her on hers. I'd much rather be with someone who will challenge me and make me rethink things than someone who is trying too hard to be nice and sweet all the time. (Then again, I may just have a thing for hot tempered girls.)"
The most touching thing to me was important it was for men that their partners love THEMSELVES. The idea that you aren't ready for marriage until you've started learning how to love yourself seems to be really important to so many men.
"She loves what she does, she cares about herself as much as she cares about me and she smiles a lot :) Bonus: she likes the same music as me."
When men on Reddit responded to this question and discussed how a woman's looks impacted a marriage, it was almost always to say that looks fades and that there are other things that are so much more important to building a strong marriage.
"Values. You have to have values that have some intersection. Looks, health, wealth, all changes, but of those values seem to remain the most over a longer period of time."
"So, the hottest woman in the world, but hates to learn and read? Good bye. An attractive, affluent person, but tramples on others dignity? Bye."
The most touching answers revealed that in a nutshell, men want exactly the same thing that women want. They want a partner in life, who isn't scared to be fully themselves with another person.
"If we can laugh our assess off together about something silly, share the glory of a big indulgent meal, fall asleep watching/reading something stupid together, get trapped in a shitty situation and laugh at it because it's a shared adventure..."
This article originally appeared on YourTango.*