9 Ways to Tell If You Should Marry Someone
How to Tell if You're With the Right Person and Should Marry Them
- They're good to your family
- The timing is right and you support each other's goals
- When you're with them, you feel like you're home
- To you, there's no one better out there
- You're happy even when you're not with them
- You've had chemistry since the moment you laid eyes on each other
- Putting effort into your relationship doesn't cause resentment
- They reinforce that you're a strong person, instead of making you feel insecure
- You don't get jealous of other couples
In some weird romantic fantasy I like to think that I knew I was going to marry my husband Andy the first time I met him.
But I didn't know anything until four years later when, after years of bumping into him every now and then he Facebooked me to ask if I wanted to meet up and hang out. I did.
Eight months later we tied the knot in front of our county judge.
Up until then when I would ask my friends how they knew they were marrying the right person their answer never satisfied me, "When you know, you know." But so far, I didn't know and that made me crazy. What did that mean? How did you know? Would it be some magical moment that happened under the sparkling stars of a perfect summer's night?
For me, it was honestly none of those things. It was that, when we hung out that first time, I felt almost no anxiety when I was with him. Which is saying a lot - I have an anxiety disorder. Indeed, with him by my side I'm able to accomplish more and live a fulfilling life because he adds calm to my inner storm. He's my person and I felt that from the beginning.
What I'm learning about love and marriage though, is that it looks and feels different for everyone - that moment, or maybe that accumulation of moments vary from couple to couple and no two stories are exactly alike. So, to give you a better scope of what to look for when you're asking yourself if the person you're with is the right person for you, I asked my friends to weigh in on how they knew they were marrying the right person.
Here's what they had to say:
When I met Dan I was instantly comfortable talking with him - which was so odd for me. Once we started dating it was clear he was everything I had prayed for and more! I knew he was the one when we said I love you for the first time. Because I knew we meant it. We had talked about the significance and knew then, it was forever.— Katie, married one year
They're Good to Your Family
I have a good family. I also, like all of you I'm sure, have a weird family. For instance, my brother had absolutely no qualms about telling off guys I liked if he saw them slip below his standard for his big sis. But Andy and my brother were friends for years before we started dating. Not only did they get along great, but my brother could vouch for him and that reassured me that he would fit in just fine at Thanksgiving.
I'm not saying that your boyfriend or girlfriend has to fit in with your family. We all come from different backgrounds and it can take some time (or an eternity) to completely mesh. But if your person is good to your family and your family is good to your person, your life from here on out will be much easier than if everyone is clashing all of the time (because even in the best families, clashes will happen). Or friend Erica agrees, saying "Eric and I met three years ago [and] six months after meeting we were engaged, and less then a year later we were hitched. I knew he was the one right away. The way he got along with my dad intensified the feeling of knowing he was it."
The Timing is Right and You Support Each Other's Goals
The first time I met Andy, the timing wasn't right. I had a boyfriend and Andy had just returned to our hometown after moving out of state for the summer. Plus, the six-year age gap made us look completely past each other at that stage in our lives.
When we came back around to each other four years later, we were both unattached and had no life obstacles holding us back from diving into a relationship and pretty quickly thereafter, a marriage. The age gap was nothing at that point as we were both in our twenties and in pretty much the same stage in life. When we talked about the things we wanted in life, they matched up well, they didn't contradict each other and this was a huge factor in us realizing we were ready to get married to each other. Feelings are wonderful but so is logic and it's illogical to marry someone if they want completely different things out of life than you do or if where they're at in life would deeply complicate where you're at in life.
If the person you're dating has been transparent about the things they're ready to go after and those things sound amazing to you and you're totally on board then you've probably found yourself a keeper! But if your partner's dreams give you nightmares then maybe slow that rush to the altar.
When You're With Them, You Feel Like You're Home
My friend Anna, who has been married now for nearly 12 years says, "After we had been dating for a couple years in high school I realized that when I was with Matt wherever we were I felt safe, I felt loved, and I felt like I was home. There is a quote I heard once I don' t know where it came from but it said, 'One day you will find someone who, when he hugs you, all your broken pieces are put back together.' That is how Matt makes me feel every time he hugs me."
To You, There's No One Better Out There
Admittedly, I don't have a ton of dating experience prior to getting married, but I have enough to say with confidence that I married someone I really like and my mind doesn't wander to "was there a better alternative?" He's my person and I'm really grateful for that. There's lots of great men in the world, but to me, there's no one better than mine.
If you're dating someone and you find someone else attractive or have a spark with them that's pretty dang normal and that's not going to go away, even if you get married. That's where boundaries and just general maturity comes into play in marriage. But where things get murky is if you're still dating but wondering if you'd have more fun with the cute barista who serves up your morning coffee or what life would be like with the girl from your sociology class who always sits up front and asks at least ten questions before the professor has even started the lecture.
If that stuff is happening before you've tied the knot, RUN. This is not your person and to be completely fair, your boyfriend or girlfriend deserves someone who has more interest in them as well. The more time you spend with someone you don't feel 100% about, the less time you'll have with the right person. So, be like my friend Libby and quit messing around - "I was dating someone else when my [future] husband asked me out for coffee. He didn't know I had a boyfriend and I wasn't really interested in him beyond friendship but I figured "it's just coffee, I could use more friends!" So we met for coffee and 6 hours later, when the shop closed, we said goodnight. On my way home, I remember thinking 'I'm going to marry him!' The next day I broke up with my boyfriend and 11 months later we were married! How did I know he was the one? He was the first guy that I actually respected and knew I wouldn't be able to walk all over him....the first guy I knew would be a leader in our relationship and the first guy that actually was just as sarcastic as I am!"
Do You Think Your Current Partner is the Person You'll Marry?
Be honest with yourself now...
You're Happy Even When You're Not With Them
One of the things that helped me see pretty quickly that my boyfriend was someone I could spend forever with is that when we were apart, I didn't think about him constantly. I had other things going on in my brain and in my life and when I thought about him it's because I saw something I thought he'd enjoy or found something fun I wanted to go do with him.
I loved spending time with him but I was just as happy with my life away from him too and I didn't worry about the status of our relationship if we hadn't hung out in a few days. I knew things were solid and that I was in a relationship that gave us both the space to be independent but still there for each other and that vibe has carried into our years of marriage too.
I knew that I was going to marry Courtney like legit five minutes after I met her. There was a vibe in the air that was crazy, I knew she was the one.— Christian, married 5 years, together over a decade
You've Had Chemistry Since the Moment You Laid Eyes on Each Other
On my 23rd birthday I had the privilege of photographing Courtney and Christian's wedding on the water. She's been a good friend to my sister-in-law since they were in middle school and for as long as I've known Courtney, she's had Christian by her side to which he says, "I knew that I was going to marry Courtney like legit five minutes after I met her. There was a vibe in the air that was crazy, I knew she was the one."
When I asked my Facebook friends about the moment they knew they would marry the person they were with, Danielle also recalled a love-at-first-sight feeling, saying, "I knew the first day we hung out! We were out with mutual friends for dinner and drinks and as I think back to it, it seems almost like a movie...everyone we were with slowly left one-by-one and we didn't even notice until we looked around and everyone at the table was gone. That was well after midnight! We were married 3 months later!"
Putting Effort into Your Relationship Doesn't Cause Resentment
The right person doesn't come without a little work from both parties.
As Amy says about knowing that her husband of over five years was the one, "I think it was probably a year into dating, after spending countless hours talking over life's philosophy, agreements, a couple late night disaster conversations where we almost didn't survive the weekend, [only] to be dating on the following Monday. After looking at those moments of struggling, and realizing how hard this man worked to make (want) the relationship to work (I'm not an easy person to love...), I realized this was the real deal. We had something special. A bond, far beyond the beginning infatuation signs that were floating around those first few dates. Don't get me wrong, I think it's important to have the butterflies to help keep the attraction alive! But for me the real 'know' came when I couldn't deny the bond. When I knew we had the 'want' to keep with it, to fight for the relationship, because we loved each other."
They Reinforce that You're a Strong Person, Instead of Making You Feel Insecure
Sometimes it's hard enough to attain your own self-confidence, yet alone to pour some of that into another person. So if you're with someone who builds you up and reinforces your confidence in yourself, that person is definitely someone who shouldn't be overlooked.
As Lindsey says, "I think there were a series of moments that had to collect before they spilled over in a realization that he was the one. I had undergone some trauma in the months before we met and various men I had met up to that point had no idea how to deal with what I had been through. He was so compassionate and understanding and continually told me I was brave. Other moments [that made me realize he was the one] were watching him interact with his young son and also watching him think deeply during our post-church service theological discussions. He wasn't just giving trite answers or glossing over notions. He was refreshingly transparent and insightful. How can you not fall in love with someone like that?"
It was when he first kissed me. I was walking down the stairs and he was walking up. Our eyes locked, he kissed me, and I literally fell over. 17 years old then, 8 years and two babies later, I'm so thankful for that kiss.— Brittanie
You Don't Get Jealous of Other Couples
At one point when I was still dating, it should have occurred to me that I wasn't with the right person because every happy couple that I saw just made me feel dead inside. It was like they'd found some inner peace that was a secret from me and I wracked my brain often, trying to piece together the algorithm of happiness with another person.
While others seemed to come by it effortlessly, I despaired in evening arguments over the phone, ignored text messages and pretending I liked being miserable with someone I wasn't compatible with for the sake of seeing it through because "relationships take work." It's true, they do, but they take a respectable amount of work. They take, "hey, let's have my mom watch the kids for an hour tonight so we can go out for a walk," kind of work. They take, "I did not leave urine all over the toilet because I know it's not fair for you to sit in my piss first thing in the morning" kind of work. They don't take, "I'm changing my life's goals so I can fit into your version of the perfect partner so our relationship doesn't self-implode" kind of work.
If your relationship is the latter example here, ditch it. Just trust me. There's a better life out there for both of you and it's not with each other.
Oh and by the way, now I squeal with glee almost every time I see a couple walking down the sidewalk holding hands and scare my husband into thinking we're about to get hit.
That's the kind of happiness the right person will bring into your life.
Now, Let Alexandra Redcay School You on the Type of Person to Avoid Marrying
More Things to Look For in The Right Person
- You value the same things. You like tidiness, he covers his plate with a paper towel before popping it in the microwave. Nice.
- You relate to each other. You both have divorced parents but really like your stepmoms. Those life parallels can help you relate when times are tough.
- You work together and not against each other on financial stuff. He doesn't take out ten credit cards behind your back and you only find out when there's a new motorcycle in the driveway...
- You don't fight about religion or spirituality (at least, not often). That tension that creates some attractive drama at the beginning of a relationship can be the same thing to wear it down after a while.
- You're on the same page with where you want to live. She's fine with living in a state that has eight solid months of snow and so are you. Great!
- You have the same general desires when it comes to having (or not having) a family. And you two don't feel struck with terror when the subject comes up.
- You trust each other. This probably should have been at the top of the list but hey, this should also be a no-brainer.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Kierstin Gunsberg