Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Real-Life Romantic Hero, Part II

In my last blog, I looked at the differences between the washboard-abs, always-sexy men in the romances we love to read and the qualities in the men we want to live with in our everyday lives. The criteria I listed were: (1) He helps in the kitchen; (2) tends the baby; (3) advocates for you when you need it; (4) acknowledges your superior skills; and (5) listens. That's a darn good list!

Of course he may also have the washboard abs, the bedroom eyes, etc., etc., but when you're in your fourteenth hour of labor and the hospital personnel are largely ignoring you, the abilities to listen and advocate are likely to seem of greater value.

Since I made that first list, I've thought of five more qualities I appreciate in my own romantic hero that I often share with the heroic men I write.

1.  He is honest. Of course, that includes honesty in his vows to you, his one and only. It goes without saying (but let's say it anyway) that he is 100% faithful. But that's not all. While he'll take every deduction he's entitled to, Mr. Honorable doesn't cheat on his taxes, lie to his boss, or fudge a little in his statements. If you should ask him whether X dress makes you look fat, and it does, he may go for a tactful response such as, "It's not your best look, honey. I really prefer the red one," but he will not lie even to spare your feelings.

2.  He is open. It's part of his honesty. He says what he thinks and expresses what he feels. He doesn't sob at sunsets, but he is in touch with his emotions and, because he loves and trusts you, he is willing to hear your opinions and consider them openly.

3.  He has a sense of humor. He doesn't have to be talk-show-host funny (although that's a plus at times), but he's willing to look at the light side. When you hit that black ice and collide with a snowbank, he's the guy who says, "Wow. Lucky you avoided that elephant. We could have been in big trouble." He says it with a grin, then gets out to dig you out of the snowbank.

4.  He's independent and respects your independence. At the same time, he recognizes that two inter-dependent people can accomplish more--and have more fun at whatever they're doing--than two who are living parallel but separate lives. He likes being with you and wants emotional as well as physical intimacy.

5.  He is willing to fight fair. Let's face it. Couples that stay together and are passionate about one another still disagree, and sometimes they disagree passionately. One of the things my Hero and I did early in our marriage was to establish ground rules for handling those disagreements, the most important being (a) no name-calling and (b) stick to the issue; don't rewash the old dirty laundry. Sticking to those rules means we can eventually work things out even when we disagree strongly. For your Hero, as well as for you, maintaining a healthy relationship is more important than being "right."

There is more to a healthy relationship, and I'm sure you have your own important qualities you'd love to add to your personal list, but any man who comes equipped with these ten qualities is well on his way to being any woman's hero.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 13 published novels and has a part in three boxed sets, all 16 titles available now. Mother to seven, she is "gramma" to 24. She lives in northern California with her husband of 44 years and the two spoiled cats they serve, and she loves hearing from readers @SusanAylworth, at, or You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. Agree with everything on your list. I am blessed to have a hub who has most of these. No washboards abs. No bedroom eyes. But all the rest. And he is mine.
    Great post. These are much more important than a great face.

  2. Who wouldn't fall in love with this man?

  3. Love your list. Physical beauty is great, but it doesn't last. It's the attributes of honesty, loyalty, respect, and a sense of humor that will stay with our men throughout a marriage. My wish for all the young girls in search of the right man is to find the perfect hero with these traits.