How do you know if the guy you are with is THE ONE? You know, the ONE you are supposed to marry? The one that you won’t regret choosing? The right, best choice? How are you supposed to know?
I’ve been very happily married for almost 25 years and I often get asked how I knew that my husband was The One. Luckily, I had asked this question to a long-happily married couple when I was a young teenager. So, I had the questions here in my mind from the get-go when I started looking for my The One.
And I do know that this quote is crazy true, by the New York Times’ best-selling author, H. Jackson Brown, Jr:
“Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.”
Your life and the lives of those you love (including possible future children) will be massively impacted by the guy you choose to marry. In ways you can’t even begin to know yet. It’s a decision you want to get right.
And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you want to get it right.
When you survey married folks, it’s awesome to hear the stories about how THEY JUST KNEW. But you might also hear the stories about the near misses, when they were glad they had paid attention to red flags. Or wish they had.
So here are 7 definitive questions for you to answer to be sure your guy is The One. Or, if you should trust your instincts about those (sometimes very quiet) red flags, and move along.
How do you know if your guy is The One you should marry?
1) Is he perfect?
Of course no one is actually perfect. (If you think your guys is actually perfect, I suggest you look a bit more closely—you don’t want to start the whole thing off under a delusion.)
But the person you consider marrying should be pretty near perfect to you. As life moves forward, this will be the most perfect they will ever be. Once you are married, day-to-day life becomes a bit mundane, and perfection will slip. So starting out, you should be able to notice and accept his flaws honestly.
Marry the flaws you can live with.
Assume he will not ever care more (or less) about his appearance, will change his career path or spend any more time with you than his buddies or hobbies than he does now. You can be pleasantly surprised if does, but do not plan that he will change in that area, because he very likely will not.
Red flag warning: If you cringe at his behavior or make excuses to your friends or family for how he is or how he behaves…well, that’s a red flag, my dear.
2) Do you trust him?
You might love someone, but trusting them…that’s sometimes harder.
Do you know that he will always act with your best interests at heart? Not his own?
Or his mom’s?
Or his posse’s?
I’m talking about if you trust him to make wise and selfless choices when he has to put his own needs behind yours and your children’s.
Red Flag Warning: a guy you can’t trust with texts from his ex now is not a guy you will suddenly be able to trust when you are married. Unless there is a shared child involved, consider why you are concerned about them texting, or why he doesn’t block her.
3) Do you trust him with your money?
Because finances are the most common area of problems in a marriage, it’s important to have a very high level of trust with how he handles money.
Is he honest? Pay his bills on time? Have good credit?
Does he make choices that, in the context of a joint checking account and family life, make you feel secure?
How much he makes is only a small part of the story. His integrity and spending habits with the money he DOES have is an important indicator of your future financial health together.
Do you think he is wise with money? How he handles money will impact the stress of your daily life and your relationship together in a huge way.
Maybe he made mistakes as a young adult that still impact him now. That’s not a deal-breaker. But there should definitely be an increase in maturity and wisdom that is reflected in his current choices. If he didn’t have access to someone to teach him financial literacy growing up, he has had time (and access to books and the internet) to take steps in a direction that shows health and maturity.
Yes, you’ll be making financial decisions together, but you don’t want to worry that you can’t trust him and his spending habits.
Red Flag Warning: If he wants to keep separate checking accounts and/or has one that you won’t have access to, that’s concerning. The ONLY reason to not be on each other’s accounts or at least have access to accounts is because of secrecy. It is an area ripe for deception and hiding things, and there is no place for that in true intimacy.
4) Do you trust him with your body?
Do you feel safe with him? Not just physically, but including being able to be honest about what you want in your sexual relationship and what you need for mental health?
Do you trust that he is in control of himself enough to not harm or abuse you? Or make choices in the heat of the moment that would hurt you? Because most men can physically overpower most women, it’s important that he is aware of the responsibility this brings to his own humanity and how he acts towards you.
If you are afraid of him physically, sexually or emotionally, it will only get worse.
You deserve to be safe from abuse and the fear of abuse.
Do you know that he will always do his best to protect you and look out for you. You guys will face a lot of hard things ahead of you because life is just hard, even a good life. There will be loss and death and hardship in ways you cannot be braced for yet. Your ability to function together healthily now is a good indicator of how you’ll respond in the difficult times ahead together.
Do you trust him to look out for you in this world? This includes being supportive of the time and resources associated with your physical health and mental well-being.
Red Flag Warning: If you feel like you have to give in to his sexual requests and you cannot have an honest conversation about where you draw the line or what you want…that should concern you. You should feel safe with him. And feel safe to be honest.
His needs and desires DO NOT trump yours.
5) Do you trust him with your life?
This is your one and only life. The choice of who to select to walk alongside you in it is extremely important. Is this the person you think would not only throw themselves in front of a bus for you, but who you are willing to give up all other romantic relationships for forever? Is he, LITERALLY, the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? Forsaking ALL others?
Red Flag Warning: If you hesitate on this one or that one person pops into your mind that is NOT this guy, you need to deal with that relationship before you can honestly commit to this one. You want to be sure you don’t regret this choice because you have the, ‘What if…’ question going on in your head when things get hard. Decide honestly if this guy is the guy you want to be with.
6) Do you want him to be the father of your children?
Unless your guy is already a dad, you don’t really know for sure how he will be as a dad. Maybe he is a big brother or an uncle and you get to see how he is with kids in some way. But really the question is, is there something so special about this guy that you want part of that in your kids? That you want his influence over your children?
Do you want the essence of HIM to shape your family’s destiny?
Red Flag Warning: If he doesn’t like kids and you want to have children, figure out why he doesn’t. Sometimes it’s fear or inexperience. But if a guy flat-out does not want kids for no discernable reason, don’t think you will change his mind once you are married. If he’s open to it, then be clear that you want children. That you expect to have them with him. If he won’t agree to that, decide if you are truly okay not to have kids.
7) Does he adore you?
He should look at you with stars in his eyes. He should light up when you walk in the room. Even if you have been dating for years, there should be a spark. If your collective hearts do not beat faster when you are together, consider that you may be comfortable with each other, but maybe there isn’t enough there for the long, intimate, marriage.
Does he pay attention to you? In a way that is attentive and courteous and people see the love and respect he has for you? He should be charmed by you.
Red Flag Warning: If he criticizes you in front of other people, it’s a concern. Even if he says he doesn’t mean it, that it was a joke. Especially if it was for a joke. Any criticism should be handled privately. Of course you aren’t perfect, but publicly demeaning you is mean. You guys should be on each other’s team. You need to know that he has your back. In front of his family, his friends, the world.
(I do not believe that there is only ONE perfect person on this earth for us. That would be unnecessarily cruel on the part of the universe. I believe there are people you would do BETTER with than others. You may be able to answer these questions ‘yes’ for several people you’ve met/dated. Marriage is largely deciding daily to make it work. There is no perfect marriage or perfect person. If both people are mature and committed to making it work, that’s really the most important thing. But go into with your eyes wide open.)
Okay, how did your guy do? Is he The One for you?
And are you The One for him? Flip this around and ask the questions on yourself.
This is a powerful tool to know if you guys should be together.
Because some little girl is going to see your marriage in 20 years and ask how you knew that he was the one. <3