We all know it’s fun to try out different things when you’re caught up in the dating game.  That’s when experimentation is expected.  It’s a whole other story when it comes to settling down and getting married, though.  That’s when you need to sift through all the options and decide what it is that you really want from a lifetime mate.  It’s also when it can become difficult to figure out what your guy is really after and whether you measure up.  With that in mind, here’s what men look for in a wife:

1. Trust – it’s a simple word but trust is the key to any good, lasting relationship.  If a couple cannot bring themselves to trust each other, their relationship is likely to fall apart pretty quickly. 

When it comes to trust in relationships, we’re not just talking about the big stuff…knowing that every time he leaves the house he’s not going off to hook up with another woman…but also the smaller things.

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He needs to know that he can open up to you about all his quirks and secrets and that you’ll respect him enough to keep those things between you.  At the same time, he needs to return that trust because this is the ultimate two way street and if you’re not traveling it together, then your relationship is doomed before it ever begins.

2. Support – no, this doesn’t mean he’s expecting you to financially support him, although being able to contribute to the marriage from a money standpoint doesn’t hurt.  The idea of support goes way beyond that, though. 

This goes directly to the “for better or worse” part of your marriage vows.  In order for a relationship to work you need to support each other when times get tough and not just when everything is going well.  Guys will look for a woman who can offer that kind of unlimited support because it takes some of the pressure off of them to know that even if things aren’t perfect, you won’t bail on them.

3. Goals – if you get married, no doubt you’ll have shared goals.  That’s one of the things that generally bring people together, but equally important to any guy is knowing that his wife has her own individual goals as well and the drive to go after them.  Again, this helps to take some of the pressure off of him, so that he doesn’t feel as if he alone is responsible for achieving all the goals in your relationship. 

Though it’s wonderful to have mutual goals, you should each have your individual goals too and always keep them in sight.

4. Independence – yes, it’s nice for a married couple to spend lots of time together and have shared interests but deep down, no guy wants to be attached at the hip to his wife.  That can becoming suffocating after a while and is one of the main reasons that many couples end up filing for divorce. 

So when guys go shopping for a wife, they are much more likely to be drawn to someone who can stand up on her own two feet and continues to have her own interests even after they are married, as well as respecting him enough to allow him his personal space.

5. Sex – ok, yes, having a great sex life is important.  It may not be the only component to a successful marriage but it certainly doesn’t hurt.  Since he’s committing to having only one partner for the rest of his life, it’s important that he’s compatible with that partner.  That doesn’t mean he’s looking for wild, kinky sex but he does want to feel that you’ll have a good sex life, otherwise things can get pretty boring pretty fast.

6. Understanding – let’s face it, guys aren’t exactly the best communicators in the world and that can get frustrating.  That doesn’t mean he’s not working on improving, though, and he’s looking for someone who can understand and accept him, warts and all. 

We’re all human, and that means we’re flawed, but a good spouse doesn’t let the flaws stand in the way of a strong relationship.

7. Shared values – this is right up there with trust as one of the keys to a strong marriage.  Sure, you’re both human and you’ll likely have your differences here and there, but in order for the relationship to truly work you at least need to be on the same page when it comes to the big stuff such as vales and ideals.  This will be particularly important once you have children because you’ll need to pass those values on to them and that can be difficult to do if you’re sending mixed messages.

8. Ability to Change – yes, loving someone is all about accepting them for who they are and not trying to change them into some sort of ideal but that doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate a person who continues to change and grow throughout their life.  Face it, it would become pretty boring if you remain exactly the same all the time.

The ability to take on new challenges and grow as a person shows that you are confident and comfortable in your own skin and that can be extremely attractive in a prospective spouse.

9. Communication – if there can be a third point in the foundation of a strong marriage, it’s the ability to communicate.   In order for a relationship to work, each partner needs to be able to share with the other and be open and honest.  At the same time, they need the ability to listen so that they can understand where their partner is coming from. 

If you can maintain good, solid lines of communication there is almost no challenge, big or small, that you won’t be able to work through.

10. A True Partner – when it all comes down to it, men are looking for someone willing to learn about them, appreciate them and grow with them.  What they ultimately want is to be able to live a long, happy and rewarding life with their partner.   Experimentation and adventure are exciting, but it’s stability, reliability and love that make for a long-term commitment he can count on.

It’s no real mystery when you get right down to it.  Men may have difficulty verbalizing what it is they need but if you pay attention, chances are your guy is sending plenty of signals about what really matters to him.  The important thing to remember is that while things like looks and appearance are important for making an initial impression, it’s the things that lay below the surface that go into making a strong, healthy long term relationship. 

So don’t waste your time focusing on the surface because when men are looking for a wife the surface doesn’t matter as much.

No, when they begin to consider marriage, men are much more likely to pay attention to the things that make up your personality, the core values and the internal qualities that make you stand out from the rest.  Making a lifelong commitment to another person can be daunting, particularly for men, who can be notoriously gun shy. 

So when a guy starts getting serious he’ll need plenty of reassurance that the woman he’s with will be able to make it easier on him.  He doesn’t want to feel as if he’s giving up his freedom but rather that he’s gaining a partner, a support system and a lover all rolled into one.

It seems like a lot to ask for, but honestly it’s pretty straightforward.  He just wants to know that he can count on you to be there for him and that you’ll be able to work together to build a life together; a life based on trust, mutual respect and good communication.  After all, marriage is a partnership and any good partnership requires hard work on both sides. 

If you truly want the relationship to work, there has to be give and take and men will look for someone who they think can provide just that.

The dating game is all about exploring your options, but choosing a wife is about deciding what really matters to him and finding that one person whom he thinks can deliver on it.   It can be a daunting process but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult.  When it gets right down to it we all want the same thing in a life partner, someone we can love and depend on and build a life with. 

Men may not always be able to communicate that as clearly as they’d like, but that’s what they’re ultimately after.  When the one person comes along who can fit the bill, it’s likely that he’ll know and if you’re paying attention, you should be able to tell you’re checking off all the right boxes for him.  As they say, the heart knows what it wants, so follow yours and trust that he’ll do the same.