African-American mid-adult couple wearing orange clothing on orange background.

How to Know If You’ve Found the Right Guy to Marry

People often ask about finding their “soulmate” or “perfect match” – someone to spend a lifetime with.  How will they know when it happens?

Trust the message from Hollywood and the romance industry and “you’ll just know.” That’s what we’re shown in countless rom-com movies, you know the story – boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again, all problems are solved, roll the credits.

Now I don’t mean to be too harsh on Hollywood. I myself find some of those movies quite sweet and entertaining. Who doesn’t love a good love story, after all? And, dare I say it, there’s even some truth in the “you’ll just know” philosophy — but our lives occur after the credits roll.

Sign #1: Your Gut Instinct Tells You

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Just as your instincts are the best guide in many situations, they have value in love. In terms of self-defence, for example, the most sensitive part of your body is the hairs on the back of your neck. So if you’re walking home late at night and you wonder if you should take the shortcut down the dark alley, when those hairs stand up, you should listen to them! Don’t do it.

Similarly, in the business and finance world, if a get-rich-quick scheme seems too good to be true, then you would be wise to avoid it. How many good people have gone broke on gambles that couldn’t lose?

Love is a big gamble – we risk our hearts and our happiness.

The problem is how to actually know what your instincts are trying to tell you. Love is also a drug. Fall in love and your glands start pumping huge quantities of happy juice through your brain, which makes it hard to think straight.

One thing that really helps is time. Don’t rush into anything. You’ll often hear stories of people who met and got married within just a few months. That’s just too quick for you to get a good, reliable feeling for this other human being. So take some time to develop a deeper impression and understanding of this person. Everyone feels pretty giddy at the start of a love relationship – that’s why we have so many metaphors for loss of control, being “swept off your feet,” “swept away,” “falling in love,” etc.

Go ahead and enjoy those feelings. It feels fantastic to let yourself be carried away by love. Just don’t rush into any permanent, life-altering decisions while you’re intoxicated by the first moments of such a relationship. At that point, deciding to get married is like a person getting up from a bar after four drinks and declaring, “I feel fine! I can drive home, no problem!” They really believe they can, but they are wrong.

Sign #2: You Take Your Sweet Time With Him

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Take your time to get to know someone.

During that time, listen to your instincts. Because real life is not much like a movie, you may be surprised to learn that “Mr. Right” may in reality never be more than, say, “Mr. 75 Percent Right.” Nobody’s perfect, and so there’ll never be a “Mr. 100 Percent Right.”

When you’ve been involved for a while, and gotten to know this person well, and you’re considering getting serious, then do some writing to help yourself make a clear decision. As always, when writing about such things, keep your notes and scribblings to yourself – you don’t have to ever show them to anyone. They are for you, and you alone, just to help you figure things out.

Make a list of the positive and negative things about your partner and about your relationship. What do you like and not like about them? What do you like and not like about your relationship? Don’t be afraid to tell it like it is – you’re going to destroy this piece of paper without ever showing it to anyone, so no one’s feelings are going to be hurt.

Give yourself a percentage score based on how positively you feel about moving to the next level (living together, getting engaged, getting married, etc.) with this person. If it’s as high as 75 percent or higher, then you’re good to go. It’s rare in human life to be 100 percent sure about anything, although we sometimes lie to ourselves about it. So if you honestly are up around 80 percent, then that’s fantastic. Congratulations! Time to go to the next level.

Sign #3: You Get Realistic With Them

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Be honest with yourself about any “red flags” in a partner. Don’t let your giddiness at being infatuated with someone keep you from acknowledging any possible uncomfortable warnings your subconscious mind is giving you. If a guy has a serious temper, whether expressed against drivers on the road, other men interested in you, or against you, don’t ignore that. If he’s domineering and seeks to control you too much, don’t ignore that, either. If he makes you feel bad about yourself, that’s another way of trying to control you, and that’s not okay.

My last caveat in our non-Hollywood world is that no matter how Right “Mr. Right” is, even if he’s “Mr. 99 Percent Right,” he is not going to magically eliminate all problems from your life. Don’t ruin Mr. Right by putting that responsibility on his human shoulders. If you’re looking for Mr. Right to fix your own life, he’s sure to fail, as fixing your own life is your responsibility. Putting too much pressure on Mr. Right will eventually turn him into Mr. Wrong.

About Jessica Raymond

Jessica Raymond, BSc, RCC, is LoveLearnings senior editor. As a relationship counselor, Jessica has helped hundreds of men and women achieve their relationship dreams. Whether it’s finding your one true love or simply charming someone on a date, Jessica's got your back! In her articles, she reveals little-known, psychological tips that will make even the coldest person chase you around like a little puppy.

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