Allow me to start by saying that I am by no means ready to get married. I am only twenty-six years old, and while a lot of you out there think that getting married is a matter of maturity over age, I disagree. I feel that there has to be a certain readiness in everyone before he or she decides to take the plunge into a lifelong journey with someone else. I think that the reason why so many people get divorced after their first marriage is because they are not ready to take that next step in their lives and have rushed something that we assume is required. The divorce rate for first time married couples if over 58%. So for every marriage that takes place more than half of them are going to end in divorce. Those are simply not great odds.
But, I did come across a list the other day that inspired this blog post. It was the “Ten Ways You Know That the Person You Are With is the One You Should Be With”. You will see as I go through each and every one of these reasons, that I’ll provide examples from my current relationship. Perhaps I could even consider this an homage to the girl that I love, a one Sheryl Hugill. She is truly my best friend in every sense of the word. From the way she looks at me to the way she treats me is a true sign that she is a friend first. I do love her, with all of my heart, and she means the world to me. Is she the “one” for me? I have no idea. I am not ready to make that decision. But I know, that right now, she is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me.
What follows is perhaps one of the most positive blog posts that I have written to date. The idea behind this blog is not to brag about the relationship that Sheryl and I have, but rather show you ten ways you can tell if you are in a relationship that has the foundation to last. I have had my fair share of relationships. Some have been good, some not as much, but all have led me to where I am today. If I had had a list like this while going through some of these relationships, I might be in a different place than I am now. Take my advice when I say that you should be lucky enough to find a girl that fits any one of these traits. To find a girl that fits all ten and you should think about putting a ring on it.
Your Friends Approve
From the time you were born to the time you read this blog post, you have been making friends. You have friends in grade school, different friends in high school, and even different friends in college. You have best friends, fights with friends, and even fall in love with some of your friends. It is a part of life and one that most take for granted. As you grow older you tend to have fewer friends but better friends. What I mean by better friends are the ones that you can call at three in the morning and they’re not upset with you for waking them. Friends that will be by your side through thick and thin. I have a few of those friends. When trying to decide if your girlfriend is the right one for you, if those friends approve, then you know you are in business.
Now, what if your friends do not approve of your significant other? Should you break up immediately so that you can find someone to your friends’ liking? Perhaps. But maybe you should consider taking a step back, talking with them, and trying to better understand why they feel that way. I have actually lost friends over their significant others and one day, when their relationships crash and burn or they realize what they have sacrificed for their lovers, I will still be there. I am an example of one of those good friends I was talking about. But regardless, your friends approving of your next date is a great way to know you are off on the right foot.
All in the Family
This can be one of the scariest moments in a relationship. When you first meet your new found love, it takes a while for them to want to introduce you to their folks. For some, this happens faster than others, there is no time table that explains how long it should take. But, after a few months, chances are you are going to have to meet the parents. My only advice here is to be nice, be yourself, and not try to say anything (at least the first time you are introduced) that could make you out to be the bad guy. Just remember that this is their daughter (or son) you are dealing with here and that you need to treat them with respect from the first handshake to the final goodbye. Getting the parents approval is like getting the girl to smile. Once you have that you can do anything. (OK, maybe not anything.)
Listen Up Mister
Getting your significant other to listen to you is next to impossible most of the time. He is either playing video games, sending a tweet, talking on the phone; the number of things that he is doing rather than paying attention to you is endless. But if you can find someone that truly listens to you, and I do not mean hugs you and says everything will be okay, but someone that understands you when you have had a bad day. Someone who lets you vent whenever you want about nothing at all. Someone who doesn’t just hear you but actually listens to you.
Sheryl listens to me when I talk. She hears what I say but she always knows the right thing to say when I am finished. I also feel that I listen to her as well. She has a lot of stressful days, whether it be the passing of her father (he died much too young) or the classes she is taking at the IU Kelley School of Business, she gets stressed. There are days she comes home and doesn’t want to do anything but sleep. I understand that. I might not be able to relate, but I can sympathize and give her what she wants. When she talks I listen. Sometimes saying nothing is the only way I know how to handle her situation.
Connecting with More Than Materials
Values mean a lot to a person. Church, for instance, is a value that a lot of people take seriously. Depending on your religion bases the number of times you might go to church in a week. It could also depict how you spend holidays, what after work activities you take part in, and if you are allowed to drink alcohol or not. Another value to someone might be the way their lover treats the homeless, or how he or she views abortion. The list of values a person can have goes on forever, but if you can find someone who can relate to you, someone who has the same beliefs as you, it makes things a lot easier. It also makes for less fighting and friendlier conversation. (I am a Republican, if anything, and Sheryl is a Democrat. We can hardly ever agree on anything out of the White House so we try to avoid it all costs. But going back to being able to listen to the other person, we are the first to hear each other’s thoughts and try to argue them in a more educated fashion.)
Why Don’t We Be Friends?
This is exactly what I am talking about! If you cannot be friends with the person you are dating, how do you expect to ever fall in love? You cannot have love, not true unbiased meaningful love, without being able to be that person’s friend first. Sheryl and I met in December of 2008, late December at that, and managed to become friends over the first couple of months first. We were going places together, going on dates if you will, but were not defined as being together as a couple. Eventually we had “the talk” and decided that we might as well give it a shot. We have been together ever since. That is because Sheryl is my best friend.
(I actually tell this story about how I have been on a search for my best friend. When asked what I want in a best friend I say, “I want someone that I can drink beer with. I want someone who I can watch sports with. I want someone who understands the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars. I want someone who gets me for me.” That person is Sheryl.)
Can I Trust You?
Trust is a vital part of any relationship, whether it is a business or pleasure, you have to be able to trust the person you are with. For instance, if you are trying to sell someone a widget, and they give you a verbal agreement to buy said widget, you have to trust that you have made that sale. The same thing goes for a guy and a girl in a relationship. If you tell the person that you are the only one, then by God you better be the only one. Trust is something that is very hard to earn if lost, so do not make the mistake of defying that trust once it has been built. (Just think of the trust that was lost when Elin found out about Tiger’s sexual past. He has a long road and a big hill to climb to ever regain her trust.)
Make Me Feel Special
The other person in your relationship better know that he or she is one lucky individual. They better not just know that they are lucky, but they better show it too. You need to treat your significant other with respect, obviously, but you also need to make that person feel special. You need to go above and beyond. For instance, let us say that your boyfriend has had a hard day at work and all he wants to do is come home, drink a beer, and watch TV. Let him. Now, before you guys out there get all excited about the lady of the house always taking care of you, the same goes for the girls. If she has had a bad day, nothing beats a bouquet of flowers, some candy, and perhaps a card to make her feel special.
Know that you do not have to break the bank on flowers and candy to make her feel special. Things as simple as holding the door open for her, letting her enter a room first, or picking up the check at dinner are things that can make her feel like she matters. Trust me guys, if you don’t make the girl feel loved, she wont give you the time of day. If she feels special, then you have done your part.
I Can See Into the Future
No one wants to waste his or her time in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere. My first piece of advice would be then leaving if you fall victim to this. If you wake up one day and no longer see that person as being a part of your future, then you need to reevaluate and make some big decisions about what you want to do. But if you can both look into each other’s eyes and see yourselves growing old together, then you have something special.
Now, if the relationship is new, don’t freak out by me saying that. I have been with Sheryl for over a year and when I think of the future I think of where we will be tomorrow, the day after, and the day after that. I am not thinking five, ten or twenty years ahead. There are a lot of things that will happen between now and then. But what I do know is that there is no one else on this planet that I would rather be with at the moment. That is enough of a future for me.
Providing Each Other Security
You have to feel secure in your relationship. I am not talking about trust in saying this, I am speaking on the security that you feel the other person has towards you. Can you hold him or her in your arms and know that they feel the same thing you do? Can you kiss them, look into their eyes, and know that you are in the right place at the right time? If you have security with your mate, then you are moving in the right direction. Do not take that security for granted. You will not know how much that means to you until you lose it.
I Am Who I Am
You can say, “I love you,” and not truly mean it. You can say a lot of things and not truly mean them. But in my eyes, the most important thing you can have in a relationship is where the person you are with, takes you for who you are. If you are skinny, fat, hairy, or otherwise, you know that you are still loved. If you can wake up next to someone and they are as pretty as they were the first time you met them, then you know that you have found something special.
In my relationship or better yet in my daily life, I am always worried about how people perceive me. I hate my voice when I hear it recorded, I hate what I see when I look in the mirror, and I hate myself every time I try to get dressed as I feel fat in whatever I put on. But I know that someone loves me. I know that Sheryl looks at me and sees something special. She even says that from time to time she feels fat. But she isn’t. Not to me. I love her for who she is, not who she thinks she should be.
No matter who you are with, I encourage you to run through this list and see how many of them apply to your relationship. I am lucky enough to have met a girl that fits every single one of these. For the first time in my life I don’t have to worry if she will be there when I wake up in the morning. She is mine, I am hers, and we love each other. Do you have someone special in your life? If so, hold onto him or her tight and don’t let go. Relationships are hard work, but with time and dedication to make them last, it will all be worthwhile. This is for you Sheryl. I love you.
*The original list (not the content) is from a blog written on Shine from Yahoo!