Is he really marriage material? Find out...
There's not much I'm an expert about, but when it comes to choosing a "keeper," I believe I've knocked it out of the park. The most important thing to remember when you commit to a keeper of your own is that it won't work if the courtesy doesn't go both ways. Simply put: You gotta give back what you enjoy receiving.
These standards really apply to any gender of any spousal type, but from personal experience, I can tell you that a guy who is husband material will do these things.
1. He checks your blind spots.
Nobody can take care of everything, and a great partner will make sure you've covered all your bases without having to be asked. For example, my husband always gives my car a once-over before I leave for a road trip because he knows I just won't take the time to do it out of my excitement to get going. Even though I know how to do basic car maintenance, he always checks the tire pressure, oil, and fluid levels even if it makes him a little late for work just for his own peace of mind.
I give back in my own ways, like reminding him of doctor's appointments or his relatives' birthdays, and replenishing his toiletries when I notice he's running low. Instead of criticizing each other's harmless shortcomings, we just pick up the slack for each other, which makes life infinitely easier.
2. He gives you your space.
The first rule of long-term relationships is realizing that there's no merit in being someone's "other half"; you both have to be two independent people in order to keep a healthy union going and that means allowing the other to have separate friends, interests, and paths.
That's not to say you won't share a lot of those things, but recognizing each other's need for individuality means giving each other space to explore your ever-evolving selves. If your guy doesn't get insecure because you don't want to spend all your free time with him, that's a great sign; if he encourages you to go off and do your own thing, that's even better.
This also includes letting you have privacy on your electronics and in your conversations with others. Even if you do something to hurt his trust, giving him free reign into your personal space isn't the answer. Period.
3. He leaves the light on for you.
Listen, I'm not talking about someone who texts every hour until 4 AM when you're trying to have a night out with the girls; there's a line between caring and being creepily possessive. However, if he goes to bed but still keeps the light on or dinner warm when he knows you'll be late getting in, that's the kind of consideration that sustainable relationships are built on.
4. He gives gifts that aren't cliché.
Nothing says "I'm not actually paying attention to you and am just phoning this in" like a guy buying flowers, candy, and/or jewelry for every major holiday. I enjoy a box of chocolate arguably more than any healthy adult should, but I'd be mildly offended if I received one every single time my partner thought he needed to give me a gift.
If someone is actually listening to you and getting to know you intimately, then well-marketed bullsh*t shouldn't be the first thing he reaches for when he goes to express his love in a tangible form. Obviously, I don't mean that he has to put together something elaborate or exotic if he just wants to say, "I'm thinking about you today," and honestly, some of the best uncommon gifts are those that are really useful but otherwise kind of boring.
But if he doesn't have any creative ideas when you're at your most enamored with each other, that's not a great sign. The guy you want is the one who starts his gift explanation with "I remembered how much you liked..." or "I know you always wanted to try..."
5. He asks GOOD questions about you.
No, "What's for dinner?" and "How was your day?" don't count. They're alright for starters, but keeping interest alive and learning more about each other means not taking anything for granted. Asking questions about why you do what you do or what it is about your passions that make you feel alive shows that he's curious about what makes you tick and the intimate parts of your personality that don't appear on the surface.
It also means he's still paying attention and he's not assuming he knows everything about you, which, let's be honest, are the first things to go when a relationship has any amount of time under its belt.
6. He wants to talk about the hard stuff.
All of us can wax poetic while gazing into the eyes of our lover while expounding on the beauty of the universe. That's easy and, although it feels amazing when you find someone to do it with, it isn't quite as wonderful and fulfilling as sharing the parts of yourself that haunt you.
All of us have shadows that we carry with us, that make us uncomfortable and try to convince us that we are unlovable. If you're with someone who can discuss the dark parts of your past , your mind, or even your current life without judgment, insecurity or attempting to hijack the situation, you have found an ideal partner for navigating life's storms.
This is a level of trust and intimacy that cannot be replaced and its value only appreciates with the time you spend together.
7. He surprisee you — without trying too hard.
Anybody who says that getting comfortable in a relationship is a bad thing is missing the point; however, "comfortable" doesn't have to mean boring. Unfortunately, the idea that we have to work to "keep things fresh" is also misleading because nobody can be expected to work unnaturally hard to stay interested in someone they're supposed to be comfortable with. That's a ridiculous paradox.
Instead, choose someone who still surprises you with new ideas and new aspects of himself. Find someone whose growth you can delight in and whose mind isn't happy to settle into predictable mendacity. That way, your interest and excitement in the relationship come from an organic place, instead of a forced exertion neither of you can keep up for very long. Variety is truly the spice of life, but only if it comes from a real source.