There’s nothing better than having a man in your life that has the ability to care about and be engaged in the world around him. The common belief is that if a man is a nurturer, he will be far more dedicated to your success, his own personal growth and eventually, give his all to a family. How can you tell if he is good husband material without the obvious step of taking your nieces and nephews out for an afternoon dry run? Here are five signs that he’s the kind of guy that you should marry:

Clue #1: His family outlook is loving, yet realistic
Listen and pay attention closely not only to how he talks about his family, but how he treats them, too. Is he patient with difficult family members? Accepting of the part of the family that’s different — or that he doesn’t quite get? Does he exercise a realistic (but loving) view of his upbringing, and does he seem to enjoy the time he spends with them? The way a man talks about and acts around family is a big clue as to whether or not he will be just as loving, patient, understanding and respectful of his own when he settles down. Also, see how your man deals with areas where he may disagree with family members. Is he able to communicate his feelings, reach a compromise, or simply agree to disagree? The way he handles his family (both good and bad) is a great indicator of how he’ll handle his own family issues down the road.
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Clue #2: He speaks positively about the women in his life
I love this one! Often, the way a man chooses to relate to the women in his life — whether they’re his family, coworkers, friends, exes or even casual acquaintances — can tell you a great deal about his ability to nurture someone within the confines of marriage. A man who’s generally positive in his interactions with women (i.e., he allows them to have a voice and isn’t afraid of powerful or accomplished women) will also be this way towards you. If you find that he speaks badly about women who challenge him in general or that he has a hard time really listening to the women in his life, he may not be the kind of man who’ll be entirely supportive of your own growth or that of your family. A man who’s able to clearly be a man — but doesn’t view his interactions with women as annoying, needless or beneath him — has no problem breaking with traditional perceptions of how men should be. This kind of man sees women as his equals rather than simply tolerating them. He knows how to make his interactions with the ladies work in such a way that ensures all parties involved get what they want from it.

Clue #3: He maintains aspects of his everyday life (and those who depend on him) with respect
How is he caring for the things that depend on him every day? For example: What is the condition of his home? Are his plants and pets thriving? Does he have relationships that are deeper than just watching a game on the weekend or grabbing a drink after work with his boys? You have to observe how he treats the people and things in his life that rely on him for care on a daily basis. If you find that he’s neglecting the little things that surround him in life, it might be a clue that he won’t be able to handle things that will be even more demanding of his attention... like a sick wife or newborn baby. Another thing to consider: How does he react when you question his care or attention to detail about something — like when you point out that the milk in his fridge is well past its expiration date? Does he throw it out and buy some fresh milk to replace it, or does he tell you it’s not your problem and to drop it? His reaction will let you know if your feelings (whether they’re right or wrong) mean anything to him and demonstrate his willingness to compromise and/or change in order to give you what you need in your relationship.

Clue #4: He’s a good listener who doesn’t try to fix everything unless you ask him for help first
How does he handle hearing your latest bad-boss tale? Is he understanding of the mortification you experienced when your heel broke in the middle of the party? Does he tolerate the latest chapter of your girlfriend’s love-drama gossip? Does he know the difference between simply listening to a dilemma and trying to fix it? If so, then he’s definitely a nurturer, and he knows that the things that make your day difficult, joyous or just a bit crazy can affect your ability to unwind, understand the world around you, and that you sometimes need his help to work out important issues. He may not necessarily be able to fix what’s bothering you, but he also knows that listening to you vent is probably the biggest thing he can do for you. A man who does not dismiss your issues and offers help when you need it to fix things is clearly invested in your growth and emotional health, and will continue to do so once you’re married.

Clue #5: His approach to pursuing his passions in life shows he’s not afraid of commitment
What does he love? Whether it’s something big (like his career) or just his favorite band, the way a man handles his great passions in life offers insight into whether or not he’s good husband material. Does he take time to pursue his interests and hobbies? Is he openly excited about his opportunities in life, and is he always looking to take those passions to the next level? If so, he’s likely to be equally passionate with the woman in his life that he marries. Surprisingly, a man that celebrates his wins at work, goes to his alma mater’s homecoming or class reunion each year or takes an active role in his community shows that he doesn’t just talk about his loyalty and love; rather, he rolls up his sleeves and gets actively involved in its success coming to fruition. You want a man to jump in and do his part when it comes to making your relationship work — and believe it or not, his dedication to wearing his old college sweatshirt on game day because they never lose when he does so is actually a positive sign that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the things that he loves most in life are equally successful. That will come in very handy once you two share the same last name, right?

LaDawn Black is a relationship expert, radio personality and the author of Stripped Bare: The 12 Truths for Landing the Very Best Black Man. Learn more at www.ladawnblack.com.