|(c) 1995, Susan Pogue
& future husband Larry Elliott
How Do You Know?
When my daughter was 19, she asked me, "How do you know when you are in love?"
She had been indoctrinated by television and movies, and thought that when you kissed the "one" guy, the earth would shake and you would see stars flashing.
When this did not occur when he kissed her, she was confused. She really liked him a lot, and was unsure if it was love or not.
This is not the easiest question to answer while you are driving around a large city in heavy traffic, but I did my best. The answer stood her in good stead, since she married the guy in question and has been happy in her relationship with him since 1995.
Questions to Answer
- Is he your best friend? If not, he is not the "one." Marriage is hard enough without really liking your spouse. Eventually, the thrill of the relationship will wane. At that point, if you do not have a deep abiding friendship, you will not have a foundation for your relationship. Physical attraction alone is not enough.
- Do you have anything in common with him? What are his likes and dislikes? Do you like something he cannot stand, or vice versa? These things tend to become more accentuated over time, causing friction in the relationship. If you think you can smooth over the rough edges after you are married, you are mistaken. These will be come sore points that cause arguments to flare. If you do not like him as he is, warts and all, he is not the "one." What about religious beliefs? Do you believe alike? This, too, will become an issue, especially if you have children.
- What are your future plans? What are his future plans? Do they mesh? Do they conflict? Are you willing to give up your plans if they conflict? Even if you think you are willing, understand that this, too, will cause friction in the future. Do you know what he thinks about having children? How many does he want? Too many young people marry without knowing this and are shocked to learn their new spouse does not want children, ever! What about where he wants to live and the lifestyle he expects?
- If you know the answers to all the previous questions and are comfortable with the answers, there is one more thing to think about. Can you see your life ten years from now without him in it? If you can see a life without him, if you can contemplate never seeing him again, and be comfortable with that, he is definitely not the "one." If, however, you believe with all your heart that your life would be empty without him, if you can't see a life without him, if he feels the same way about you, and if you are willing to put 110% effort into safeguarding and building your relationship, he probably is the right choice for you.
Again, don't go into marriage thinking you are going to change him. People only change when THEY want to, not when you want them to. If he changes to make you happy, he will be unhappy. Couples who go into the relationship expecting to change each other have years of unhappiness ahead of them--if the marriage lasts at all.
For the Christian, marriage is for life. When going into a life-long relationship, you should be doubly careful to ensure it is the right relationship, built on a solid foundation of mutual respect and friendship. This type of commitment will ensure you get through all the arguements ahead.
Sometimes, couples do not learn this before they are married and find that they are locked in conflict. This is sad and heartbreaking for all involved. Everyone argues with their spouse. It is inevitable. The important thing to remember is that you are a team, and teams work through their problems.
It is my sincere hope that you have found the right person to spend the rest of your life with. Best wishes for the future.