What Do Men Really Want in a Wife? The Answer May Disappoint You

man wife daughterMen are all for a strong, independent spirit in a woman ... so long as that woman is your daughter. But what about a strong, independent wife? Oof, a new survey of 818 heterosexual American men reveals how much our love lives are still stuck in the Stone Age.


The Shriver Report Snapshot: An Insight Into The 21st Century Man, published this month, asked men to name their two or three top traits they want in a wife or partner, and in a daughter. Intelligence ranks first for both, which is good to hear. 

But then -- men rank "Independent" as second most important and "Strong" as third for daughters. Independence and strength are not so important for a wife, apparently. Only 34 percent list "Independent" and only 28 percent list "Strong" for wifely traits. Guess what's super important, though? "Attractive" is a top priority for 45 percent of the respondents.

ONLY 45? I'm actually surprised that number isn't higher.

shriver report

As far ideal wives go, men want someone who's intelligent and hot most of all. Independence and sweetness tie for third-most-important trait, followed by "Strong" and "Nurturing," which are also almost tied.  

I suppose we could be outraged to read this. But is it really that surprising -- and sexist? After all, men have a very different relationship with their wives than with their daughters. Of course they value different traits in each!

And so what if attractiveness outranks independence? Attractiveness in a partner is pretty darn important to me, too -- as is sweetness, for that matter. You really can't see these survey results out of the context of their respective relationships. 

But you also can't see them out of the context of the other question in the survey. For example, 30 percent of men confess that "women taking on greater responsibility outside of the home has had a negative effect on the confidence of American men." And not very many men were cool with the idea of having a female president running the USA. Sorry, Hilary. So I guess male enlightenment is still far off in the distance for most of us.

Does it bother you that men value independence more in their daughters than in a wife? What about the rest of the traits men prioritize?


Images via g-stockstudio/Shutterstock, Shriver Report



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