Gone are the days where a simple text could cause you to doodle your new married name in a notebook — and think that is your forever person. As adults, we need real signs we're with someone we should marry. So here, our experts divulge five ways to judge you're dating a guy or gal who means married business.
1. You can come back from a fight.
It's not a good sign of you bicker nonstop. But, when you engage in an argument, you can each recover — and are more open to the other's needs — you're in good shape to say "I do," according to our experts. "Couples often struggle when their partner goes into a more primitive fight-and-flight response," describes David Klow, LMFT at Skylight Counseling Center in Skokie, Illinois. "If your partner knows how to stay open and present, rather than shut down, then you have good chance of making it through tough times. At the very least, if he or she knows how to call a time out and return later to the conversation, then that is a very good sign."
2. You make one another laugh.
As they say, laughter is the best medicine. And as it turns out, tickling your partner's funny bone can be the healing a healthy relationship needs — and a sure sign you're ready to tie the knot. "It's not just about having fun," describes Roudabeh Rahbar, PsyD., licensed clinical psychologist in Southern California. "Laughter in a relationship is a sign that both people can be vulnerable with one another. If your partner can make fun of himself, that is a huge plus because it's indicative of a person who can truly be vulnerable and has confidence — think: George Clooney."
3. Your relationship has been (successfully) tested.
Any relationship can appear on the road to marriage when it's fresh, shiny, and new. In these conditions, says Los Angeles-based relationship expert Rhonda Richards-Smith, "it may appear as though your relationship is ideal. But it is often through personal challenges, heartache, and disappointment that we really see what our romantic relationships are made of." So if you've stayed together through a tough time and still have a positive outlook, you've been given a sign you're with someone you could marry. "Give yourself some time to allow the relationship to withstand some of life's tests before taking the next step," Richards-Smith recommends.
4. You feel totally comfortable around one another.
When our experts say you should feel comfortable with anyone you might see as future spouse, they don't mean you can wear your sweatpants in front of him or her.
"When someone is fully comfortable with his or her romantic partner, he or she feels safe, honored, and respected," explains Janelle Alex, Ph.D., transpersonal counselor. And with that kind of comfortable transparency, she says, "a person can follow his or her dreams knowing his or her lover will be there. Even more exciting is the fact that his or her romantic partner in life will be willing to explore their intimate play in the bedroom together without judgment, but while sharing laughter and excitement."
5. Your life goals are aligned.
It's a sure sign you shouldn't marry someone if he or she wants different things from life than you do. But if your goals are aligned, our experts say, you may be with someone to whom you could tie the knot. "Two people can date without having the same life vision, but marriage is a completely different story," says Colin Christopher, clinical hypnotherapist and author of Manipulate the Date. "Does your partner want kids? How many? How does he or she view money? Are you ready to settle down and he or she is still into the party scene? Having life goals that align with one another makes it more likely that your marriage will succeed."