We’ve been married long enough (to our husbands, not each other) to know that we both hit the jackpot when it comes to great guys. Erin’s husband, Steve, and Ellen’s man, Frank, are solid, steady models of what it means to be a great husband. This makes them excellent examples for our teen daughters of how high they should set the bar for potential spouses. Among the many things we wish for our girls, we’re both really hoping for some great sons-in-law. To that end, it would behoove them to appreciate some of these mighty fine qualities in their own fathers so that they might end up with great catches of their own.
1. Bomb Squad Captain
Our daughters are magnificent yet imperfect people just like their mothers. A guy who can handle all the stuff life and their wife throws at them is a keeper.
Erin: The other day I blew up my morning by committing a cardinal sin of teen parenting: questioning a teen’s fashion choice as she was walking out the door. I may have been looking for a place to hide, but Steve was the one left to diffuse this bomb. The sensei of calm in the midst of chaos, Steve had this crisis locked down and everything righted again by the time they made it to school. I DID get this though: “Nobody messes with my teens in the morning.” Oops. My bad.
2. A Piper Willing to Pay
There will be times in a long, happy marriage when a husband needs to be brave, bold, and willing to bend.
Ellen: I had been attempting to get Frank to parasail with me since our honeymoon. Instead of delving into the reasons behind his sidestepping, I’ll just leave it as “Something else always came up.” A little while ago, on our family cruise vacation, his dodging lost its dart. When our teen daughter wanted to parasail, he immediately and magnanimously agreed it was a great idea . . . for her to go with me. Two birds with one stone; you have to admire the efficiency.
But then our tween piped up, “I want to go too.” And I laughed and laughed because now both parents had to go (he was too stunned to realize I could have just gone twice, shhhhh). And I laughed some more when our teen volunteered for her and her dad to go first. He ended up having a blast and it was all because he loves his girls.
Erin: This is the lighter side of stepping up to the plate, but it is the stuff of great family memories.
3. Clutch Hitter
Marriage, like life, is messy. You wanna guy who can and will hold the bucket.
Erin: Steve is ridiculously, blessedly good when the chips are down around here. He has proven himself time and again to be the guy you want around to bandage your wounds or take over when a viral menace takes down the entire family. I have actually seen him drag his own sorry sick butt out of bed to crawl to help a sick kid when I was too sick to move. That’s the guy you want on your wall.
4. Grandmaster Flash of Family Fun
It may sound oh-so-cheesy but it’s the honest truth that families that play together, stay together. Pick a guy with a sense of fun who wants to share it with his favorite peeps.
Ellen: Frank is fabulous at planning family vacations because he IS the Grandmaster Flash of working Expedia deals. The result is some wonderful family memories that build a strong foundation to support you through rougher times.
5. Schtick Flinger
Both of our men love movies as evidenced by our marital codes of movie quotes. This soothingly predictable banter keeps the daily hum of our lives from being humdrum. Our girls don’t necessarily have to find movie-quoters, but there is a golden nugget here. Pick a partner who makes you laugh through the every day. You’ll never regret it.
Erin: Steve can find fun in paper bag. With his natural gift for storytelling, he can make even a weeknight dinner a laugh-riot.
No pom-poms here. We’re talking about a guy like George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life;” one who’s willing to lasso the moon for you. You cannot do better than find a man who wants what’s best for you and wants to help you get there, even when that means becoming fodder for your book.
7. Proffer of a Great Proposal
Speaking of fodder for a book, we wrote about our proposal stories, the beginning of our marital bliss, in I Just Want To Be Alone. Listen up, our fabulous daughters, if you hold out for the other six qualities we listed, your husband-to-be will want to rock your socks off when he asks you to marry him. You’ll have great stories to tell your children and grandkids or if you follow in our footsteps, the entire free world.
So girls, we’re seriously hoping you follow our advice and land some sweet fellas like the ones we have. Remember what we said about those sons-in-law.
Want a copy of our book? Just click here.
(Pick one up for a friend while you’re at it.)
–Erin and Ellen