How to Know your Partner is “The One”
5 ways to tell if your relationship is in it for the long haul.
My girlfriends often ask me, “How did you know your husband was the one?”. Often times, they are asking with the intent of comparison to their own relationships.
But here’s the thing…I can’t be the one that chooses their life partner. It’s a big decision filled with sacrifice, service, and mutual understanding.
I remember when I first met my husband. I worked in marketing at a farm, and my husband had been hired to work the land. Our meet-cute was indeed cute.
It was pouring down rain. The kind of rain that hales in sheets. The rural dirt road leading into the farm was flooded. My husband was dropped off halfway and walked the remainder on foot. A friend of mine went out and retrieved him as I cooked us all dinner.
He walked into my little farm trailer, tall, handsome, and soaking wet. When we met, it was fire; not the all-consuming physical attraction ignition, but the deep resilient fire whose burn has no extinguish. There was something about, instantaneous friendship. In a matter of hours, we became best friends.
He was kind, thoughtful, and had a deep care for the world and its inhabitants. In a matter of weeks, our friendship developed into a deep understanding. The connections grew strong and quick. We were engaged within a month and married within a year.
Today, we’ve been married for almost 5 years and have a beautiful daughter. And here’s the kicker, we are even more madly in love than ever.
I acknowledge that I am deeply blessed to have an incredible, thoughtful, and kind partner, and the timing of our meet-cute was perfect.
But how did I know he was the one? I just knew. And I know, it can be super frustrating when people say, “Oh, I just knew he/she/they were the one.” Especially when you are in a relationship with someone and you’re unsure of the feature. So, here are the 5 ways I just knew my partner was “the one”.
1. My partner acknowledged my needs and accepted his own.
This is important. He cared about my needs. We discussed each other’s needs and values, and we had commonality. In the areas we didn’t have commonality, we were both willing to compromise. However, the areas of compromise were not very important to us.
For example, I had driving anxiety, so he was willing to drive most of the time if I worked on overcoming the fear.
But in major social thinking areas like religion, family structure, children, political beliefs, and passion, we were aligned in what we wanted for ourselves and our future family.
This is not to say that you can’t have a perfectly healthy relationship without these commonalities. But, you must first acknowledge how your value systems work together to build a fruitful path forward.
He also never rejected his own needs. He was not only my advocate but his own. He never once made me feel little or ignored for voicing my needs that includes physical and emotional needs. In fact, he empowered me to be honest with him through affirmation. When you or your partner ignore each other needs, resentment can build.
For example, sometimes I just need to be by myself. When I voiced this he told me that he loves how I am my own person and together we worked out times for me to be alone.
This is not to say that your only job in life is to fill another person’s needs. There will be times where you both have to compromise. But being open to healthy communication strengthens the foundation of your relationship.
Read this article to learn more about healthy communication strategies.
2. He strove for an interdependent relationship.
I pride myself on being a strong independent woman. I can, and always have been, able to take care of myself. I started my first business when I was eight. I would sell chocolates to my neighbors so that I could buy toys. Yes, that’s a true story. I worked my way through college and had a successful career at a young age.
All this to say, I knew how to be independent, but I didn’t know how to trust others. Some of this was birthed out of childhood trauma and formed by a culture that often values men over women.
Regardless, it was hard for me to trust some else with my dreams. My husband grew up in a culture very different than mine. A culture where women are often “taken care of” by men and whose voices are not equal in desires. He was very different than his culture, but there were times where he would unknowingly put unrealistic expectations on me. We had to talk through these moments so we could both grow in the same path together.
We were both open to constructive criticism. We discussed what our expectations were for ourselves, our relationship, and the growth of our family. We also created a pathway to voice when those expectations change.
Humans grow and evolve. What we want today may look different than what we want ten years from now. We had to build in safeguards for when these expectation change.
For us, this means evaluating our life plan once a year and leaving room open for in-depth discussion throughout the year. This helps us grow together, not apart. It also builds trust and accountability.
3. Pride didn’t stop him from apologizing.
Let’s be real; all human beings come with some degree of baggage. Whether it’s childhood trauma, a creepy uncle, or a disastrous past relationship, no one is perfect. The real test of a relationship is how both respond to conflict when all of these elements begin to merge.
For example, I had childhood trauma that caused me to put expectations on my partner that were unfair.
If you want to learn more about how I got help processing this trauma, check out this article.
My husband helped me realize when I was doing this, and together we developed strategies to make sure this didn’t happen in the future.
Both partners have to be willing to look introspectively and take accountability for their intended or unintended actions for this problem-solving to occur. It can be hard to acknowledge when you cause someone pain, but you can’t solve a problem that you and your partner won’t recognize.
When you are deciding if your partner is a good long-term fit, evaluate your problem-solving communication. How does your partner take criticism? Are they open to analyzing problems? Do they blow-up whenever you bring up your pain? Are they willing to accept constructive-criticism and build pathways to new results? Do they take accountability for their actions or do they blame others? Are they willing to seek outside professional counseling if that is something you want?
4. He chose me first, always.
At the beginning of our relationship, not everyone was supportive. We were engaged and married within a year, so I understood the concern. For my friends and family, this wasn’t an issue. They knew me as a strong, confident, and independent woman who was very selective in my dating life.
But my husband’s friends and family are a little more traditional and had concerns about our chosen relationship pace. Partly, because of past toxic relationship my husband had been in. They cared about him and didn’t want him to get hurt. But through it all, my husband always chose me.
He put me first. He was very respectful to his family and friends, but he was also very confident in our relationship. He made me feel valued and taken care of. He was my advocate, always.
5. He was ready for a long-term partnership.
Both people have to ready for a long-term commitment. For my husband and I, we had both come to this point at the same time. If we had met a year or even a couple of months sooner, we wouldn’t have been ready for a long-term commitment. There were issues in our lives that needed addressed before we could join into a successful long-term partnership.
In our case, it was perfect timing. This doesn’t mean that you and your partner should break up if one of you isn’t ready for a long-term commitment.
It does mean that maybe you should consider your relationship’s longevity if one has the expectation of a long-term commitment, and the other doesn’t. If it’s important to you and not your partner and you’re not willing to wait or vice-a-versa, that’s a warning sign.
At the end of the day, I can’t tell you what is right for your life. I can say that while all of this is important in a partner, it’s also essential in you.
- You have to acknowledge your partner’s needs and not forget your own.
- You have to be open to apologizing for your mistakes.
- You have to put your partner first while advocating for your needs.
- You have to have the same outlook as your partner on how your relationship functions and direction of growth.
- And, you have to be ready for a long-term partnership.
With this in mind, you and your partner can prepare for a healthy road ahead.
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-Kayla Stikeleather, Communication Specialist, MA Communication & Global Studies