There are so many chapters in the book of love.
Sure, it’s a cliché, but the Monotones were onto something with that iconic 1958 pop song.
The chapters may not be exactly as outlined in their lyrics, but it’s essentially true that you can’t really skip to the end. It’s a process.
So if you have reached the chapter where you’ve been dating for awhile now (a few months?), you may well be wondering: “Could this be It? Is this person The One?” You can’t see the future or what the last chapter holds in store, but you can take stock of the situation and let your head help your heart decide.
Here are important signs that this is, indeed, IT.
- You share values and life goals. You are able to co-create your best love life for the rest of your life because you are compatible with your partner in terms of values and aspirations for your lives together. For instance you may both share a value for communication in your relationship, even though you have different values about the environment. Your values do not have to be exactly the same, but the ones that are most significant to you line up with your partner’s. Relationships where there is dissonance between partners in terms of essential core values are likely to encounter trouble. But if your key values are being mirrored by your partner, you are on the right track. A few examples of essential values might be: honesty, stability, openness, self-respect, compassion.
You also share life goals, whether it’s settling down in the suburbs with two kids or traveling the world. Though life is unpredictable your shared life goals are not wildly different. In this relationship, you are not required to give up the dreams and ideas about your future that you have held dear. You and your partner can step forward together, knowing you are on the same page. That way, you will avoid resentment creeping in. Some categories where life goals play a part are attitudes about children and finances and decisions about where to live.
- Your relationship requirements and needs are being met. You know what you want and need in a relationship, and are able to identify something that is missing. If you have a relationship requirement of minimal drama, your healthy relationship is one in which you needn’t settle for anything less. With your relationship requirements and needs being met you feel happy, soothed, loved, safe, and valued. Perhaps your partner fulfills your need to feel loved for who you are. You both accept one another fully, allowing your relationship to flourish and fulfill you. Were you to compromise requirements and ignore your needs, you would find yourself leaving the relationship, no matter how committed you were or how much love you felt.
- You communicate well with one another. The lines of communication are open, and though you experience conflict (all relationships do, even the healthiest!), you are able to deal with it well. For example, you can both admit when you are wrong, listen to each other, acknowledge one another’s point of view and apologize when you have crossed the line. These habits of good communication help you gain deeper understanding of one another with each conflict you resolve together. How you communicate your needs and manage conflict is a significant indicator to relationship success or failure.
- You enjoy good chemistry – both physical and emotional. The physical chemistry you share infuses your relationship with desire, which is a joyful requirement of a successful and satisfying partnership. While the intensity of desire can fluctuate, it is a very important element, never to be underestimated or dismissed as “not significant.” The spark of attraction is necessary to sustain a relationship.
The emotional chemistry in your relationship infuses it with a sense of deep connection. You feel seen and that your partner truly “gets” you. Sharing both physical and emotional chemistry? It doesn’t get any better than that.
- You envision a future together. You realize that you visualize future scenarios with this person while you are standing in line at the store or driving down the interstate. You are able to vividly imagine being with this person for the rest of your life, growing old together, having kids or dogs or tropical fish, supporting each other’s pursuits and becoming true life partners. “I do” should mean forever, not just for a while. If you can’t imagine a day without having this person in your life – you have found the right partner.
If you have decided that you are at Chapter “I Do” in your book of love – congratulations! There is nothing more beautiful than love and it’s worth the time and care you are giving it so it will flourish and sustain you throughout your life.