What Are the Most Important Qualities in a Spouse?

This month, readers share their partner’s best trait—the one that most reminds them of how lucky they are in love.

Illustration of partners holding up choresChristopher Silas Neal

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last July, my husband’s unconditional love got me through my treatment with grace and ease. As I underwent a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, and reconstructive surgery, he stayed by my side—lifting my spirits when I felt I couldn’t go on.
Christine Pastal-Long
Toms River, New Jersey

As a child, I never witnessed my parents having a nasty argument or saying cruel things to (or about) each other. Their mutual respect must have stuck with me, because in our 20 years of being together, my spouse and I have never insulted each other. We always heed my mom’s sage advice: “Once said, never unsaid.”
Jonathan Tunis
Delray Beach, Florida

My husband thanks me for emptying the dishwasher and putting away his laundry, and every time I cook dinner, no matter what I have served, he says, “Thanks for dinner, honey. It was delicious.”  His gratitude reminds me why I’m happy to do things for him in the first place.
Erica Talbert
Richmond, Virginia

As a busy mother of even busier kids, I can’t express how much I appreciate my husband’s helpfulness. He jumps up to assist me with whatever needs to be done—hanging paper on my classroom bulletin boards (I’m a teacher) or bringing my lunch to work when I accidentally leave it on the kitchen counter. What’s more, he does this on top of his own demanding and stressful job.
Julie Scheiffele
Paso Robles, California

Mark is able to maintain an incredibly positive outlook, even in the midst of trying circumstances. Last year we had to move into our new house during a torrential rainstorm, and as a result some of our furniture got ruined. As I grew frustrated, he said, “The good news is, if our basement didn’t flood today, it’s safe to say it never will!” He always knows how to help me move past life’s little annoyances.
Maria Francesca Sorrentino
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kindness has to be the most undervalued trait in our culture. My husband expresses it through countless small gestures, such as filling my car with gas on a cold day or watching the kids so I can go out with my girlfriends. He is good to me, gentle with our children, and generous with my extended family. He has helped give me a very happy life.
Alison Olsen
Glenview, Illinois

 
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