As a married woman, people often ask me, “How did you know he was 'the one'?” or “How will I know if he’s the one?” Whether it’s love at first sight, a sign, or simply a friendship that develops into something greater, everyone has their theory about how to know if the person is truly "the one."
Discerning between a temporary guy and the man you're destined to spend the rest of your life with isn’t about finding the perfect person because that’s impossible; rather, it’s about being with the right person at the right time. I’m not perfect, my husband isn’t perfect, and our relationship isn’t perfect, but we’re perfect for each other.
Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Interestingly enough, my husband and I met in the club. Yes, we found love in the club!
Mind you, it doesn't always happen that way and some will say that's not possible but it worked out for us. Even though I didn't realize it at the moment, my husband literally found me when we first met. He spotted me through the crowd and made his way over to me.
It wasn't love at first sight or anything, but because of where I was in my life at that time - single, satisfied and finally content with my single status - I was finally at a comfortable place...mind, body and soul. Yes, I was still hesitant at first, but what I learned most at that time was to trust God's timing and not my own.
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Had I met him a few years prior to that, I wouldn't have been prepared mentally, physically or spiritually - and the same was true for him.
So, how did I know he was the one?
Quite frankly, I personally don't believe there’s a single, “silver bullet” when it comes to true love or when it comes to finding the right guy or vice versa. I think it happens differently for everyone, and all of us have our own experiences. It's less about how did I know and more about what was different.
Although the list isn't necessarily inclusive of everything, it provides a glimpse and a few hints, based on my personal experiences and the experiences of some of my other married friends.
1. His actions will speak louder than his words.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way about love it's that a man’s actions will speak much louder than his words. During my single years, there were times when I was left heartbroken and confused because a man's words didn't align with his actions. Nevertheless, I continued to give them my all and allowed certain things to happen (lies, cheating, etc.) even though the signs were clear and it was obvious he didn't want to be with me (side note: don't ignore the signs. Green means go. Yellow means caution. Red means stop).
I can recall a long time ago when I literally drove to one of my ex's place in the late hour, begging and pleading with him because I couldn't understand why he was ignoring me and talking to other girls. The proof was in the pudding, as they say, but obviously I wanted jello. On the flip side; however, I'll never forget when my husband and I started dating and he told me he was going to come see me every month. I didn't believe him because he was going to be nine hours away in a totally different city. But sure enough, he made that long drive at least monthly and sometimes a few times a month. This was just one of the early signs that helped me realize he could very well be the one. Hence, now I know there is no greater sign of a man who is truly in love than a man whose words are supported by his actions. He’s like a walking billboard for a Nike ad because when it comes to love his motto seems to be, “Just do it.”
2. You won't have to force him to be with you.
Because of my own issues within, I used to try and force so many things. Ironically, however, when we first started dating, my husband Eric pursued me persistently before I officially became his girlfriend. I wasn't trying to be exclusive with him until he worked out his lingering "situations," and especially since I knew he was going to be living in a different city temporarily for school. I was in my twenties, just moved to a new city and I was "single and ready to mingle." However, he did what he needed to do to convince me, and I didn't have to beg him to be with me. I like the quote that says, “You never have to chase what wants to stay." Simply put, if a man wants to be with you, he'll be with you.
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3. Your bad habits will be replaced with good habits and old emotions replaced with new ones.
Sometimes when you're so used to things being a certain way - constantly arguing, never-ending drama - you think that's how it's supposed to be. But when it's the real thing, you quickly realize what you've been missing all along. What used to always feel like constant drama will start to feel like a dream. My tears were replaced with tenderness. My anger and bitterness were replaced with happiness. My worry was replaced with trust. I didn't have to worry about what he was doing and where he was going. I realized good men aren’t bad habits. They should bring out the best in you, not the worst.
4. You will be able to look back at your past relationships as a stepping stone for your new one.
Better yet, you may not have to look back at all, only to reflect and thank God for helping you to find the "good in the goodbye." I realized my past was merely rehearsal for the present. I like to say my husband loves the hell out me in that he loves me so much that it's as if all of the hell I experienced in the past was pushed out and replaced with his love. Believe me, it's possible to replace your fear of hurt with faith in love.
5. You won't have to worry about competing for the number one spot because you will be the only one.
Like Andre 3000 said,
"So, I typed a text to a girl I used to see - Sayin that I chose this cutie pie with whom I wanna be - And I apologize if this message gets you down - Then I CC'd every girl that I'd see see round town - And I hate to see y'all frown, but I'd rather see her smiling."
That's pretty much how it went down when we were dating. Unbeknownst to me at the time, when Eric knew he was ready to be exclusive with just me he literally sent a text around letting them know. I refused to settle for being the "sidepiece" when I knew I deserved better.
6. You will experience or remember what it feels like to be loved.
There's something about real love that makes you remember, or for the very first time know, what it feels like to love and be loved. Call me "ol school," but dating my husband was practically the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to be treated like a lady by a gentleman. For a moment (or rather a few seasons), I forgot what courting and romance looked like. I forgot how nice it was to receive a hand-written poem versus just a text, but Eric reminded me very quickly. Even still today, he opens my doors for me, pulls out my chair, and treats me like I've never been treated before.
It's easy to think you might've really liked someone, but it's euphoric to know you love someone and they love you back.
7. You won’t have to be someone you’re not because he’ll accept you for who you are.
I can be quite a character at times, especially since between the both of us I'm more of the free spirit, creative one, while my husband is more of the "Type A" personality. The good thing is we balance each other and he doesn't try to force me to be anything else other than my crazy (in a good way), emotional, driven, extroverted, "trying to do too much" self.
8. You won’t have to question it.
It's kind of like the process of searching for a home or even a wedding dress, they always say, "When it's the one, you'll just know." God blessed us with female intuition and we know when something doesn't feel right and isn't right or when something feels good and it is good. For me, it's unlike anything else I've ever experienced in my life. Even during the highs and lows of our relationship, it's like a breath of fresh air. Whether we're relaxing at home and acting silly, talking or when he's wiping my tears because I'm emotional or when he's taking care of me because I'm sick, I can feel the love. As the dear and wise Maya Angelou once said, “One thing love is not is unsure.”
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When I sat down to write my vows, I mentioned how at one time in my life I had given up on love and how he made me believe in love again. Despite all of the craziness in our society, what we see on TV, the gossip and rumors we hear, and even the "thirsty chicks," I still believe good men do exist.
Even after reading this, some of you may still find yourselves wondering if you'll ever meet "the one" and I can’t answer that for everyone because everyone has a different path, plan and purpose. What I can say is that even though at one point you may have doubted, or you still doubt, the possibility of love it is possible to believe again.
To my married ladies, when did you know that he was the one? Let our single sisters know there's hope below!