The Most Important Trait to Find in a Spouse

Want to find long-term love? Then you're attracted to men who want to be fathers, according to a recent study of college students published in a British scientific journal. More interestingly, you can subconsciously tell which guys fall into that category just by looking at their faces. But if you're in search of a great mate, you can't let your subconscious do all the work — you need to involve your conscious mind too. So we asked the Love Council, our panel of experts, to help us determine the single most important characteristic a woman should look for in a spouse. Here's what they had to say.

"What are you willing to sacrifice?"
Cathi Hanauer & Daniel Jones

Cathi: I'd have to narrow it down to two characteristics: sense of humor and sensibility. Because if you're picking someone to go through life with — through thick and thin, till death do you part — you want it to be someone with whom you can see the world in a similar way; someone you feel good about being a team with.

Chemistry is important too; I won't lie. But when you've just, say, given birth, and you're exhausted and feeling like you can't go on another minute, you'll want someone beside you to make you laugh or to say something profound — not the buff guy who's being hit on by the drugstore clerk while you're waiting for him to come back with the Pampers.

Looking for a spouse is like shopping for real estate: You start with an ideal image — a Victorian house in a college town on a street lined with sugar maples. And then, once you see what's really available, you start figuring out what you're willing to sacrifice. The wraparound porch? The sugar maples? Similarly, what are you willing to give up when it comes to finding your ideal guy? The six-foot-minimum height? The Ivy League education?

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