My wife and I have two sons, ages five and three, and one of our long-term goals is to teach our sons to be upstanding, productive, and successful members of society. We also want to teach them to be good and loving husbands as well.

How do we do that? It’s less about verbally describing what a good husband is and more about showing them how to treat a partner, and how to thoughtfully plant the seeds of a successful relationship and tilling that soil to produce a fruitful outcome.

We’re all constantly learning in our marriages about how to handle a crisis, face challenges with a united front, and deal with all the interpersonal drama that crops up in relationships. Many marriages crumble under that stress. The successful couples are able to weather those storms and emerge stronger and more committed to each other by virtue of those difficulties.

Here are a few ways you can teach your son to be a good future husband.

1. Emulate You

Both Mom and Dad are partners in a marriage. Your children should be able to look at you and see qualities they can emulate and personify in their own lives. This puts a whole new spin on how we react to our spouses, the words we use when communicating with them and how we deal with the yin and yang of life. When we know that our children might take our habits or problem-solving skills and adopt them as their own, it forces us to become introspective and take a long look at how we conduct ourselves.

2. Respect Women

Every boy born today will become a man tomorrow. That means he needs to develop a deep and abiding respect for women and their role in society. While there are miles to go before true equality is reached, equality between the genders is greater today than it has ever been, and our sons need to be raised with that knowledge. Being raised to see women as equals will encourage better relationships, less domestic abuse, and a more level playing field for all.

3. Pitch-in Around the House

There are still many men who view housework as a woman’s job. Teach your children that that view is antiquated and old-fashioned, and it certainly won’t win your son any points with his future spouse. In fact, it will probably serve to drive a rift between them. A good way to show them the importance of being proactive around the house is for dad to pick up a broom and vacuum and pitch-in consistently. Your kids will likely emulate what they see.

4. Be Independent

Our sons need to learn how to do things for themselves. If we do everything for them, and solve their problems, and enable their poor choices, we will be creating a situation where our sons become dependent on their spouses. That will be a recipe for repeated disaster in their future relationships. An independent man learns to do all sorts of things for himself — cook, clean, iron, take care of a home, grocery shop, etc. Those life skills will make him much more attractive to a future mate.

5. Be Caring

One of the most important skills in any relationship is the ability to listen to your partner and be able to help them through difficult times. Both men and women need to acquire this aptitude. Often, men get stereotyped negatively when it comes to being emotional or providing thoughtful and caring support to a partner. Help your son to be cognizant of this in small, simple ways throughout his life by encouraging him to pay attention when someone is talking to him, looking at people in the eye when listening, and being inquisitive of others.

6. Talk About It

When your son is old enough to begin dating, or become interested in relationships, sit down and talk to him about what's expected of a boyfriend and a potential mate. It might be something that he's never given a single thought to other than what he sees on TV. By hearing about it from a trusted source, he'll give weight to your words and form an image of what he can be as a partner to someone else.

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